Before you can take home that brand new or used car from the dealer’s showroom, you must have the proper authorization to drive a vehicle. If you do not have a license, then this article will explain in detail the three types of driver’s licenses in California.
What is a California Driver License?
The document known as a driver’s license (DL) in the state of California is a piece of paper that authorizes its holder to operate a motor vehicle. A driver’s license includes your full name, date of birth, mailing address, signature, photograph, and a physical description. When operating a motor vehicle, you must have the card on your person at all times.
Who Must Have a Driver License?
Overall, these are the three main groups of people who must have a driver’s license:
California people who use parking garages or public highways must have a California driver’s license (DL) unless they are:
- Working for, and driving a vehicle owned or controlled by, the U.S. government while using it for official purposes, with the exception when operating a commercial motor vehicle.
- Driving or operating farm equipment that is not moved or operated on a highway.
- Driving or controlling a car off-road across a highway.
California Resident Military Personnel (U.S. Armed Forces)
If you are serving in the military and are stationed out of state, your California driver’s license will remain valid for the duration of your deployment and for 30 days after your honorable discharge, if it occurs outside of California. During those 30 days, keep both your driver’s license and your discharge or separation papers with you.
Adults Visiting California
If a visitor is over the age of 18 and has a driver’s license that is valid in their home state or country. In that case, they do not need to seek a California driver’s license to drive in the state of California as long as their home state or country DL is valid.
What Are the 3 Types of Driver’s Licenses in California?
Class A CDLs let the driver drive any combination of vehicles with a weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more and a vehicle or trailer in tow that weighs more than 10,000 pounds. Some examples are:
- Tanker trucks.
- Transport vehicles for livestock.
Class B CDLs are needed to drive a single vehicle that weighs 26,001 pounds or more and pull a trailer that weighs up to 10,000 pounds. With a Class B driver’s license, you can drive the following:
- Normal trucks.
- City buses, school buses, and tour buses are all types of buses.
- Split-up buses.
- Trucks for deliveries and couriers.
- Trucks that bring concrete.
- Garbage and dump trucks.
- Vehicles for fixing things.
A Class B CDL holder can also drive some Class C vehicles if they have the right endorsements.
Class C CDL licenses are for all vehicles that are 2-axle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,000 lbs or less, or a 3-axle vehicle weighing 6,000 lbs or less. Essentially, all passenger cars, vans, pickups for everyday driving and vehicles that carry 16 or more people, including the driver, but don’t fall under the class A or class B licenses. It also includes vehicles carrying what the government calls HAZMAT materials (“hazardous materials”). You can tow a single vehicle with a GVWR of 10k lbs or less, but only one in total. The following vehicles need a Class C CDL:
- 2-axle vehicles with a gross weight of 26,000 pounds or less.
- 3-axle vehicles weighing less than 6,000 pounds.
- ehicles for transporting HAZMAT.
- Passenger vans.
- Trucks that weigh less than 26,000 pounds and have a trailer that weighs less than 10,000 pounds.
Other Classes of California Driver’s License
A class C CDL is enough to drive a three-wheel motorcycle, but not two. For a more common two-wheel motorcycle or electric bikes or moped, you will need a motorcycle Class M1 or Motorcycle Class M2 driver’s license.
And when you are driving for commercial purposes, you will need a commercial version of all these, including a commercial Class A, commercial Class B, etc.
Please contact us at Ticket Snipers if you have any questions about Class A, Class B, or Class C-CDLs, and how to defend your vehicle against speeding citations. We are available 24/7 if you’d like to chat with one of our trained consultants about speeding ticket defense.