The Safe and Responsible Drive Act (AB 60) came into effect on January 2, 2015, and allows all eligible Californians to apply for a driver’s license, regardless of immigration status.

AB 60 means that our friends, brothers, sisters, parents and neighbors will be able to drive without fear of having their cars impounded, being ticketed or left stranded by the side of the road for not having a license.

One important thing to note is that AB 60 licenses look slightly different than others. On the front they read: “federal limits apply.” On the back they read: “not acceptable for official federal purposes.”

For this reason, it is very useful to know what AB 60 license holders’ rights are when they come into contact with state and local law enforcement (i.e. California Highway Patrol, sheriffs or police officers).

If you or someone you know has an AB 60 license, here are some key points:

  • Your AB 60 license is a valid California driver’s license;
  • Local and state law enforcement must accept your AB 60 license just as they would any other state-issued license or identification (i.e. for citations, whether you are driving or not);
  • Law enforcement is prohibited from using your AB 60 license to consider your immigration status as the basis for a criminal investigation, arrest or detention;
  • State or local agencies or officials, or any program that receives state funds, are prohibited from discriminating against you because you hold or present an AB 60 license;

There are, however, certain instances where one should use caution:

  • You might put yourself at risk if you show your driver’s license to law enforcement in another state, depending on the laws and policies of that state;
  • You shouldn’t try to use your AB 60 license to enter restricted areas in federal facilities;
  • Don’t use an AB 60 license to pass through TSA at an airport, use another form of identification, like a passport;
  • Don’t try using your license to prove your identity with federal law enforcement officers, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Patrol;

You should also remember that anything you say can be used against you when talking to or in front of law enforcement, so don’t talk about your immigration status, citizenship, when you came to the U.S. or where you’re from.

If you think you have been discriminated against by law enforcement because of your AB 60 license, please call 619.232.2121 to report it.

Disclaimer: None of this is intended as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding a specific situation, you should consult with a licensed and trusted attorney.