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Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

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Keep a current driver's license

By Cpl. Keenan Zelazoski | Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | February 10, 2015

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There are ways the California Department of Motor Vehicles can help service members to renew their licenses if it expires while they are not in the country.

If a service member is unable to renew their license due to a deployment and is a California resident with a license that expired during that time, there are waivers available.

“If a service member is out of state on active military service in the United States Armed Forces, they and their spouse’s California driver licenses will continue to be valid beyond the normal expiration date,” said Jaime Garza, spokesperson for the California DMV..

Non-residential members of the military stationed in California may drive a vehicle as long as it has valid license plates from the home state or the state from which the service member is regularly assigned. The vehicle must be registered to the service member or their spouse, and it must be insured. It is entirely the responsibility of each individual non-resident to plan ahead to ensure they are not driving with an expired license.

According to Garza, it is important to ask the authorities in the state or country of duty if they will honor an extended license.

Driving without a valid license is a minor offense; however, it can be viewed as a misdemeanor, which would show up on a criminal record. A defendant’s driving history is the main factor considered by the prosecution when deciding if the individual should be charged as a misdemeanor or an infraction. The safest way to avoid this headache is to keep your driver’s license valid.

A license can be renewed online, in person, by mail or by phone. To be eligible for online, by phone and by mail renewals, you must:

• Have a driver license that expires within 60 days.

• Be less than 70 years old.

• Not have a suspended license or driving probation.

• Not have failed to appear in court within the past 2 years.

• Not made your last 2 renewals by mail.

• Not hold an out-of-state driver’s license

If you have a dependent that is unable to renew their California license because they are out of the state or country, they can apply for a renewal of their driver license by calling the California DMV.


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