CALCRIM No. 2221. Driving Without a License (Veh. Code, § 12500(a))
Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions (2023 edition)Download PDF
2221.Driving Without a License (Veh. Code, § 12500(a))
The defendant is charged [in Count ] with driving without a
license [in violation of Vehicle Code section 12500(a)].
To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must
1. The defendant drove a motor vehicle on a highway;
2. When the defendant drove, (he/she) did not hold a valid
California driver’s license(;/.)
<Give element 3 when instructing on statutory exemption.>
3. The defendant was not excused from the requirement to have a
California driver’s license.]
Whether the defendant was properly licensed is a matter within (his/her)
own knowledge. The defendant must produce evidence tending to show
that (he/she) did hold a valid driver’s license. If the evidence raises in
your mind a reasonable doubt about whether the defendant held a valid
driver’s license, you must find the defendant not guilty of this crime.
[A motor vehicle includes a (passenger vehicle/motorcycle/motor scooter/
bus/school bus/commercial vehicle/truck tractor and trailer/
<insert other type of motor vehicle>).]
[The term highway describes any area publicly maintained and open to
the public for purposes of vehicular travel, and includes a street.]
[The term[s] (motor vehicle/ [and] highway) (is/are) defined in another
instruction to which you should refer.]
New January 2006
The court has a sua sponte duty to give this instruction defining the elements of the
Exemptions to the licensing requirement are stated in Vehicle Code sections 12501
to 12505. If there is sufficient evidence that the defendant was exempt, the court has
asua sponte duty to instruct on the defense. Give bracketed element 3.
The court must define the terms “highway” and “motor vehicle.” Give the relevant
bracketed definitions unless the court has already given the definition in other
instructions. In such cases, the court may give the bracketed sentence stating that
the term is defined elsewhere.
Give CALCRIM No. 2241, Driver and Driving Defined, on request.
• Elements. Veh. Code, § 12500(a).
• Offense Is a Misdemeanor. Veh. Code, § 40000.11(b).
• Motor Vehicle Defined. Veh. Code, § 415.
• Highway Defined. Veh. Code, § 360.
• Instruction on Production of Evidence. People v. Garcia (2003) 107 Cal.App.4th
1159, 1164 [132 Cal.Rptr.2d 694]; In re Shawnn F. (1995) 34 Cal.App.4th 184,
198-199 [40 Cal.Rptr.2d 263].
2 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (4th ed. 2012) Crimes Against Public
Peace and Welfare, § 305.
5 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 93,
Disabilities Flowing From Conviction, § 93.08 (Matthew Bender).
6 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 145,
Narcotics and Alcohol Offenses, § 145.02[c] (Matthew Bender).
VEHICLE OFFENSES CALCRIM No. 2221
© Judicial Council of California.