Across the country, there are many different forms of driver’s licenses. There are different requirements to attain these licenses, including the age of the rider, the necessary written exams, the practical tests, and more. In California, there are a few different types of licenses that are mainly categorized by commercial and noncommercial. It is important to understand the distinction between the two and what you can legally drive if you acquire specific class licenses. For example, you can only drive a boat if you complete a course and attain a lifetime card – but to drive a truck containing hazardous materials, you will need to do much more and need to complete renewals. In the event of an accident or any other incident, your license may be suspended or revoked, and you may need to renew it eventually. Our law firm, the Downtown LA Law Group, can help you understand the causes for suspension, the process of renewing your license, the differences between all the licenses, and more. Call us today if you have any specific questions.
Types of Licenses in California
California has a number of different licenses that you can acquire. Commercial licenses mean that you can drive the vehicles for money. You will be hired by a company or operate as an independent contractor, and you are licenses to carry materials or other individuals. It is necessary to get commercial licenses because insurance companies generally do not cover drivers who drive for money if they have basic coverage and basic licenses. You will need to acquire a different or additional policy, or you will need to be under your company’s insurance coverage.
Below you will find information on California’s available licenses.
- Commercial Class A License: You can drive any legal combination of vehicles and vehicles from Class B and Class C. You may tow vehicles over 10,000 pounds, trailer buses with endorsement, and more. Drivers holding this license often operate large 18-wheelers, trucks towing multiple pieces of cargo, and more.
- Noncommercial Class A License: You can drive any vehicles under Class C and any housecar (camper or RV) over 40 feet but less than 45 feet. You can tow travel trailers weighing more than 10,000 pounds, fifth-wheel trailers weighing over 15,000 pounds, and livestock trailers with specific regulations. None of these towed vehicles can be towed for hire or for payment.
- Commercial Class B License: You can drive a single vehicle weighing more than 26,000 pounds; a 3-axle vehicle weighing more than 6,000 pounds; a bus with endorsement; any farm labor vehicle with endorsement; and all vehicles under class C. Drivers holding this license often drive large trucks with attached cargo beds, commercial buses, and more.
- Noncommercial Class B License: You can drive any vehicles under Class C and any housecar over 40 feet but under 45 feet.
- Commercial Class C License: You can drive any Class C vehicle with hazardous materials, but the endorsement must be present on the license.
- Basic Class C License: You can drive any 2-axle vehicle weighing 26,000 pounds or less, any 3-axle vehicle weighing 6,000 pounds or less, any housecar 40 feet or less, and motorized scooters.
Essentially, basic Class C License holders can drive automobiles, medium-sized campers, pickup trucks, small box trucks, flatbeds, and similar vehicles. They can tow small pieces of cargo and no more than 1 vehicle at a time. They also cannot drive for hire. The exception to this rule is for Uber drivers and Lyft drivers, or any rideshare driver, who does not need to hold a commercial Class C license to transport passengers.
License Suspension or Revocation
To acquire the different licenses, you will need to follow the specific regulations and requirements. Class A and Class B licenses can only be obtained by individuals over 18 years old with a 10-year driving record who have passed a medical examination by a qualified professional. They must also take skills tests and road tests to ensure they are safe operators of the vehicles, which are much larger than regular automobiles.
Because these licenses have more requirements, they also face heavier suspension times and revocations. A simple error or accident while operating with a Commercial Class A License can result in an immediate suspension. Licenses can be revoked for the following reasons:
- Driving too fast or too dangerously during peak traffic hours while on crowded highways, roads, freeways, and other streets
- Refusal to stop during a police chase or attempting to evade the police when being pulled over
- Operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other mind-altering and physically inhibiting substances, while also committing reckless or dangerous acts that lead to or contribute to accidents and crashes
- Blatant disregard or refusal to follow traffic laws, lights, signs, signals, road conditions and defects, vehicular problems, pedestrians, weather conditions, and more
- Participating in illegal street racing
- Driving dangerously in a vehicle for which the operator is not licensed to use, such as operating a Class A vehicle while only holding a Class C license
- Placing other individuals in danger by operating hazardous vehicles in reckless manners
Licenses may also be suspended, which can happen for reasons outside of road antics or accidents. You may get your license suspended if you had numerous points on your license, had a DUI or DWI, did not have sufficient car insurance while driving, refused to pay traffic tickets or citation fees, or did not pay child support.
Commercial driving licenses are privy to additional rules. If you are operating a CMV (Commercial Motor Vehicle) when you break one of these rules, your CDL may be revoked. You could have your CDL revoked or suspended for the following reasons:
- Operating a CMV with a blood alcohol concentration level of .04% or higher, or operating a CMV under the influence of alcohol
- Refusal to undergo blood alcohol testing while driving
- Operating a CMV while under the influence of any controlled substances or drugs
- Fleeing or leaving the scene of an accident or crash with your CMV
- Committing felonious actions while using a CMV
- Driving a CMV with a suspended CDL
- Causing a death due to negligent operation of any CMV
If your license has been suspended, it may take some time before it can be reinstated.
Renewing Your License after an Accident
Renewing a Class A License, Class B License, or a commercial license after an accident requires that you undergo all the necessary testing, pay all applicable fines, serve any jail time, take required courses, pay for the renewal fee, and provide proof of medical examinations if necessary.
Typically, you can renew your license through the internet or by mail, but if your license has been suspended, you should go in person to the DMV to settle any possible problems. The DMV may not have processed payments or it may have not updated certain records. If you try to renew your license through the mail, you may have to wait much longer due to the travel time of the letters. If there is an error, the time will be compounded.
It can be difficult to renew your license after an accident if you were injured and are unable to work or go to the DMV. Fortunately, if you were hurt because of the negligence of another party, you may be able to pursue compensation. This will allow you to get the necessary coverage you need.
Why Choose Us
The Downtown LA Law Group knows that many individuals are sometimes hit with suspensions or revocations despite doing everything in their power to avoid accidents. There may be issues in renewing your license, and we are here to help. Our team of expert attorneys has years of experience in the legal field, and we will be able to tell you the best way to renew your license with the least hassles. If you were involved in an accident, we can also sue the responsible party and ensure that you get the payment you deserve.
Call today for a free legal consultation to discuss your case or to learn more about license renewal. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. All legal consultations are totally confidential and none of your private details or case information will be shared anywhere else. We will answer all questions you have and address all of your concerns.
If you hire us, we’ll give you our zero fee guarantee. You won’t have to pay any money out of pocket for our legal services. We will cover all the costs of the case, and if we win, our payment comes from the insurance settlement form the liable party. If we lose, we eat the losses and you owe us nothing.
If you have trouble renewing your license in California or if you need to file a lawsuit after an accident in which your license was revoked or suspended, get in touch with the Downtown LA Law Group today.