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Is drivers license a legal contract?

Hayward, CA |

is a drivers license a legal contract to give up my right to travel in exchange for a privilege to use my private automobile on the public road?

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

No, it is not a legal contract.

The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author (who is only admitted to practice law in the State of California). For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.

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Posted

It's unclear to me from your question how you would be giving up your right to travel by obtaining a driver's license. A driver's license is a privilege, not a right, and you have no constitutional right to a driver's license. You have no constitutional right to travel outside the United States, although the U.S. allows such travel if you qualify for a passport. You have a fundamental right to travel between the fifty states. Getting a driver's license doesn't mean you give up your constitutional rights.

This answer is given merely for informational purposes and does not create an attorney-client relationship. For specific advice, contact an attorney in your state to see if working together makes sense.

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Posted

According to the supreme court, and California jurisprudence: Right to Travel - that under the first amendment - I have the right to travel. It is settled that the streets of a city belong to the people of a state and the use thereof is an inalienable right of every citizen of the state. Whyte v. City of Sacramento, 65 Cal. App. 534, 547, 224 Pac. 1008, 1013 (1924); Escobedo v. State Dept. of Motor Vehicles, 222 Pac.2d 1, 5, 35 Cal.2d 870 (1950 So if I have the right to travel under first amendment which has been declared a fundamental right - why do i need a drivers license which is a privilege.

Jon Michael Zimmerman

Jon Michael Zimmerman

Posted

You need a driver's license to drive, not to travel. Driving is a privilege, not a right. You can always walk or take the bus as other modes of travel.

Asker

Posted

supreme court said drive is a term used as employed -so if im not getting paid to use my car im not required to have a license? Ex parte Stork (Cr. 1843) (Supreme Court of California. Feb. 24, 1914) * 1. LICENSES (§ 5*)-CHAUFFEURS. The occupation of a chauffeur is one calling for regulation and therefore permitting a regulatory license tax. [Ed. Note. -For other cases, see licenses, Cent. Dig §§4, 19; dec. Dig. § 5*] 2. STATUTES (§ 81*0 -SPECIAL LEGISLATION-CLASSIFICATION. Dividing, as does St. 1913, p. 639, drivers of automobiles into two classes, one professional chauffeurs, and requiring them to obtain a license, and pay an annual fee of $2, the other embracing all others, who are not required to secure a license or pay a license fee, is sound classification and not arbitrary, so as to constitute special legislation. 139 Pac.Rptr. 684 167 Cal. 294 ...The latter case [In the Matter of Application of Stork, 167 Cal. 294, 295], upholding the validity of a statute requiring chauffeurs to pay a license fee but exempting all other drivers from payment, states in respect to the differences between the two classes of drivers (p. 296): ... Beamon v. Dept. of Motor Vehicles (1960), 180 Cal. App. 2d 200, 4 Cal. Rptr. 396. * Stork has not been overturned! "... This section [2 of the Motor Vehicle Act] provides that: '... such self-propelling vehicles as are used neither for the conveyance of persons for hire, pleasure, or business, nor for the transportation of freight, are hereby exempted from the payment of the fees in this act prescribed. The department shall furnish, free of charge, distinguishing plates for motor vehicles thus exempt.'" Marin Municipal Water Dist. v. Chenu (1922) 188 Cal. 734, 737. "The next exemption applies to those who use said public highways for the transportation of their own property or employees or both and to those who transport no persons or property for hire or compensation. It is obvious that those who operate motor vehicles for the transportation of persons or property for hire enjoy a different and more extensive use of the public highways. They are thereby enabled to engage in business on the public highways and to provide themselves a livelihood, particularly because of the existence of the public highways and the facilities thereby afforded. Such extraordinary use constitutes a natural distinction and a full justification for their separate classification and for relieving from the burden of the license tax those who merely employ the public highways for the transportation of their own property or employees. ..." Bacon Service Corporation v. Huss (1926), 199 Cal. 21, 30. "An act to impose a license fee for the transportation of persons or property for hire or compensation upon public streets, roads and highways in the State of California by motor vehicle; to provide for certain exemptions; to provide for the enforcement of the provisions hereof and for the disposition of the amounts collected on account of such license; to make an appropriation for the purpose of this act; and to repeal all acts or parts of acts in conflict herewith. (Stats. 1925, ch 412, p. 833. Approved by the Governor May 23, 1925.) "An act imposing a license fee or tax for the transportation of persons or property for hire or compensation upon the public streets, roads and highways in the State of California by motor vehicle and providing that this act shall take effect immediately." (Stats. 1933, ch 339, p. 928. Effective May 15, 1933.) "The terms "Travel" and "traveler" are usually construed in their broad and general sense... so as to include all those who rightfully use the highways viatically and who have occasion to pass over them for the purpose of business, convenience, or pleasure." 25 AM. JUR 1st, Highways, Sec. 427 "Traveler--one who passes from place to place, whether for pleasure, instruction, business, or health." BOUVIER'S LAW DICTIONARY (1914) p. 3309. "TRAVEL--to journey or to pass through or over; as a cou

Asker

Posted

Dear Mr. Jon Zimmerman; If what you are saying is true - then what about the following supreme court ruling that says: Using my automobile is a fundamental right under the first amendment. contrary to being employed as a driver - which does require to have a valid drivers license. The right of a citizen to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon in the ordinary course of life and business is a common right which he has under his right to enjoy life and liberty, to acquire and possess property, and to pursue happiness and safety. *Thompson v. Smith*, 154 S.E. 579, 583 (Va.-1930). The right of a citizen to use the highways, including the streets of the city or town, for travel and to transport his goods, is an inherent right which cannot be taken from trim. Florida Motor Lines v. Ward, 137 So. 163, 167. Also: State v. Quigg, 114 So. 859, 862 (Fla.-1927); *Davis v. City of Houston*, 264 S.W. 625, 629 (Text Civ. App., 1924 The Supreme Court has recognized that personal liberty includes "the right of locomotion, the right to remove from one place to another according to inclination." *Bauer v. Acheson*, 106 F.Supp. 445, 450 (1952). Our court has stressed the basic right of the transient public and abutting property owners to the free passage of vehicles on public highways and the paramount function of travel as overriding all other subordinate uses of our streets. *State v. Perry*, 269 Minn. 204, 206. The right to travel, to go from place to place as the means of transportation permit, is a natural right subject to the rights of others and to reasonable regulation under law. Shachtman v. Dulles, 225 Fed.2d 938, 941 (1955). Every citizen has an inalienable right to make use of the public highways of the state; every citizen has full freedom to travel from place to place in the enjoyment of life and liberty. People v. Nothaus, 363 P.2d 180, 182 (Colo.-1961). The common law rule was that a public highway was a "way common and free to all the king's subjects to pass and repass at liberty," and this court has recognized that the "right to travel a highway belongs to everybody in the state, . . . that a highway belongs to the public, and is free and common as a way to every citizen of the land." House-Wives League v. City of Indianapolis, 204 Ind. 685, 688-89. Each citizen has the absolute right to choose for himself the mode of conveyance he desires, whether it be by wagon or carriage, by horse, motor or electric car, or by bicycle, or astride of a horse, subject to the sole condition that he will observe all those requirements that are known as the law of the road. Swift v. City of Topeka, 43 Kan. 671, 674. The right to make use of an automobile as a vehicle of travel along the highways of the state, is no longer an open question. The owners thereof have the same rights in the roads and streets as the drivers of horses or those riding a bicycle or traveling in some other vehicle. House v. Cramer, 112 N.W. 3; 134 Iowa 374; Farnsworth v. Tampa Electric Co., 57 So. 233, 237, 62 Fla. 166. I could go on and on and on with supreme court rulings that says I have the right to travel using my car that does not need to be licensed - unless i am employed as a driver using a Motor Vehicle The reason im asking if drivers license is a legal contract that takes away my right to travel

Jon Michael Zimmerman

Jon Michael Zimmerman

Posted

I think there are a lot of things that can take away your right to travel. You are missing the forest for the trees in quoting these antiquated supreme court opinions. Just because cases haven't been overturned doesn't mean that each case applies to your scenario. Yes, you can go 'on and on' (and you have!), but if you want advice on a specific situation, then hire a lawyer in your area or represent yourself.

Posted

I found lots of legal citations to share that may put your citations into perspective. But as I have only limited space to answer here on Avvo, here is something to get you started:

See, State v. Skurdal (1988) 235 Mont 291, 767 P2d 304 ("This is obviously a growing school of thought which had been misguided.... The notion of right to travel remains wholly separate from the right or privilege to operate a motor vehicle on the public highways.") Please note that that the court made a point of discussing many of the arguments against requiring drivers licenses, and also rejected the argument that if the travel is not "commercial" or not connected to gov’t activity that it is not susceptible to regulation.

State v. Wilder, Idaho Ct. of Appeals No. 28163 (2003), “In Adams v. City of Pocatello, 91 Idaho 99, 101, 416 P.2d 46, 48 (1966), the Court declared that the right to drive “is a right or liberty, the enjoyment of which is protected by the guarantees of the federal and state constitutions.”   Consequently, the courts of this state must regard the right to drive a motor vehicle on public highways as constitutionally protected. The state of Idaho may subject this right to reasonable regulation, however, in the exercise of its police power.  Id.;  Gordon v. State, 108 Idaho 178, 179, 697 P.2d 1192, 1193 (Ct.App.1985).   Therefore, the question before this Court is whether the requirement that one obtain a driver's license before driving upon the highways and, in the process, provide one's social security number, is a reasonable regulation in furtherance of the state's police power.”

Aptheker v. Secretary of State, 378 U.S. 500, 526, 84 S.Ct. 1659, 1674, 12 L.Ed.2d 992 (1964) ("The right to travel is not absolute"). It is well established that the Constitution permits a state to regulate the operation of motor vehicles on its roads. See, e.g., Bibb v. Navajo Freight Lines, Inc., 359 U.S. 520, 79 S.Ct. 962, 3 L.Ed.2d 1003 (1959); South Carolina State Highway Dep't v. Barnwell Bros., Inc., 303 U.S. 177, 58 S.Ct. 510, 82 L.Ed. 734 (1938); Hendrick v. Maryland (1915) 235 US 610 (“In the absence of national legislation covering the subject, a state may rightfully prescribe uniform regulations necessary for public safety and order in respect to the operation upon its highways of all motor vehicles -- those moving in interstate commerce as well as others. And, to this end, it may require the registration of such vehicles and the licensing of their drivers, charging therefor reasonable fees graduated according to the horsepower of the engines -- a practical measure of size, speed, and difficulty of control. This is but an exercise of the police power uniformly recognized as belonging to the states and essential to the preservation of the health, safety, and comfort of their citizens, and it does not constitute a direct and material burden on interstate commerce. The reasonableness of the state's action is always subject to inquiry insofar as it affects interstate commerce, and in that regard it is likewise subordinate to the will of Congress.”

Montana v. Turk (1982) 197 Mont. 311 (using the term automobile and motor vehicle interchangeably)

City of Salina v. Wisden (Utah 1987) 737 P2d 981 ("Mr. Wisden's assertion that the right to travel encompasses 'the unrestrained use of the highway' is wrong. The right to travel granted by the state and federal constitutions does not include the ability to ignore laws governing the use of public roadways. The motor vehicle code was promulgated to increase the safety and efficiency of our public roads. It enhances rather than infringes on the right to travel. The ability to drive a motor vehicle on a public roadway is not a fundamental right; it is a privilege that is granted upon the compliance with the statutory licensing procedures.")

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Gregory James Glaser

Gregory James Glaser

Posted

Berberian v. Petit (RI 1977) 374 A2d 791, "The right to operate a motor vehicle is wholly a creation of state law; it certainly is not explicitly guaranteed by the Constitution, and nothing in that document or in our state constitution has even the slightest appearance or an implicit guarantee of that right. The plaintiff's argument that the right to operate a motor vehicle is fundamental because of its relation to the fundamental right of interstate travel ... is utterly frivolous. The plaintiff is not being prevented from traveling interstate by public transportation, by common carrier, or in a motor vehicle driven by someone with a license to drive it. What is at issue here is not his right to travel interstate, but his right to operate a motor vehicle on the public highways, and we have no hesitation in holding that this is not a fundamental right." Penner v. King (Mo. 1985) 695 SW2d 887, requirement of SSN to obtain a drivers license did not infringe on religious rights, because the "plaintiffs may preserve their religious scruples intact by foregoing this privilege [of driving on the public roads]. It is for them to balance the resulting inconvenience." Nowlin v DMV (1997) 53 Cal.App.4th 1529, 1535-36, “In Penner v. King (Mo. 1985) 695 S.W.2d 887, plaintiffs refused to disclose their SSN's in applying for their drivers' licenses because they alleged the disclosure violated federal statutes, infringed upon their constitutional right of privacy, and infringed upon their religious freedom. (Id., at p. 888.) The court upheld the SSN requirement on the basis that the SSN is an important means of identification and method of avoiding fraud, as well as integral in locating interstate driving records. (Id., at p. 890.) Therefore, the court held, the regulation is the least restrictive means of achieving a compelling state interest and justified infringement on the plaintiffs' religious beliefs. The court found that the state's right to maintain an accurate roster of those authorized to operate motor vehicles justified any privacy intrusion imposed on the plaintiffs. (Id., at p. 891.) The court also relied on 42 United States Code section 405(c)(2)(C) to hold that the state statute requiring SSN's was valid. (695 S.W.2d at p. 892.) In State v. Loudon (Tenn.Crim.App. 1993) 857 S.W.2d 878, the court expressly followed Penner v. King, supra, 695 S.W.2d 887 in holding that the Tennessee statute requiring applicants for new or renewal drivers' licenses to furnish his or her SSN was constitutional. (857 S.W.2d at p. 882.)… We conclude that the DMV may properly require applicants for new and renewal drivers' licenses to obtain and disclose their SSN's to the DMV under sections 12800 and 1653.5, subdivision (f)(1), (2) and (3).” Hess v. Pawloski (1927) 274 US 352, “Motor vehicles are dangerous machines, and even when skillfully and carefully operated, their use is attended by serious dangers to persons and property. In the public interest the state may make and enforce regulations reasonably calculated to promote care on the part of all, residents and non-residents alike, who use its highways. ... The state's power to regulate the use of its highways extends to their use by non-residents as well as by residents." State v. D.R. Gibson (1985) 108 Ida. 202, 697 P2d 1216 (man was unable to claim that as a "free man" because he had not "accepted" a drivers license that he is exempt from traffic laws) State v. Folda (Mont 1994) 267 Mont 523 (holding against a man claiming to be a ‘free’ man who is no longer a 14th Amendment citizen and not required to register his vehicle, wear a seatbelt or maintain liability insurance)

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“The activity licensed by state DMVs and in connection with which individuals must submit personal information to the DMV - the operation of motor vehicles - is itself integrally related to interstate commerce”. Reno v. Condon, No. 98-1464, Supreme Court of the United States decided January 12, 2000, BRIEF FOR THE PETITIONERS, Seth Waxman, Solicitor General U.S. Department of Justice, Title 18, United States Code Sec. 31 PART I - CRIMES CHAPTER 2 - AIRCRAFT AND MOTOR VEHICLES Sec. 31. Definitions When used in this chapter the term - ''Motor vehicle'' means every description of carriage or other contrivance propelled or drawn by mechanical power and used for commercial purposes on the highways in the transportation of passengers, passengers and property, or property or cargo; “Automobile owned by individual not in business is ‘consumer goods’”. In re Rave, 7 UCC rep. Serv 258. “An automobile purchased for personal and family use was ‘consumer goods’”. Bank of Boston v. Jones, 4 UCC Rep. Serv. 1021, 236 A.2d. 484 “The use of an automobile by its owner for purposes of traveling to and from his work is a personal, as opposed to a business use as that term is defined in the California Commercial Code 9109(1), and the automobile will be classified as ‘consumer goods’ rather than equipment. The phraseology of §9102(2) defining goods used or bought for use primarily in business seems to contemplate a distinction between the collateral automobile ‘in business’ and the mere use of the collateral automobile for some commercial, economic or income producing purpose by one not engaged in ‘business’”. In re Barnes, 11 USS rep. Serv. 697 (1972) “Under the UCC §9-109 there is a real distinction between goods purchased for personal use and those purchase for business use. The two are mutually exclusive and the principal use to which the property is put should be considered as determinitive”. James Talcott, Inc. v. Gee, 5 UCC rep. Serv. 1028, 266 cal.App.2d. 384, 72 Cal..Reptr. (1968). “The use to which an item is put rather than its physical characteristics determine whether it should be classified as ‘consumer goods’ under UCC §9-109(1) or ‘equipment’ under UCC §9-109(2)”. Grimes v. Massey Ferguson, Inc., 23 UCC Rep. Serv. 655, 355 So. 2d. 338 (Ala., 1978) Courts are not at liberty to extend application of law to subjects not included within it. Spreckles v. Graham (1924) 194 C. 516, 228 P. 1040 - this is interesting,