San Jose, CA asked in Criminal Law, Traffic Tickets, Car Accidents and Municipal Law for California

Q: If I am a Canadian citizen with a Canadian Driver's License in California under a temporary TN Visa, do I need a Cal DL?

Do I need a California Driver's License? I intend to go back to my permanent address in Canada. I did some research and found this website, but I wanted to confirm:

2 Lawyer Answers
Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Wyomissing, PA

A: Depends how temporary. In most states you can get by with an international drivers license but its 10 days after you become a california resident. You can always ask the Canadian consulate out there or the embassy in DC

David Dastrup agrees with this answer

David Dastrup
David Dastrup
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Torrance, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Bottom line - if you get a police officer that doesn't like you or is having a bad day, or if you already had a case/ticket in California, that officer may cite you for a misdemeanor and impound your vehicle. You can argue the law all day and right and wrong, but then you are still stuck with the problem. Having handled literally hundreds and hundreds of driving without a license cases, my advice is that if you are here longer than a simple vacation, get a CA license. This is especially solid advice if you have at least one traffic ticket in CA on your record already, regardless of the results of that case. This is because if an officer sees a ticket from the past, they assume you live here and should have a license.

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