How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask xavierjd Your Own Question
xavierjd, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3400
Experience:  20+ yrs in criminal, landlord/tenant, family, & small claims
Type Your Legal Question Here...
xavierjd is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Can I refuse to give my fingerprint to the California DMV for

Resolved Question:

Can I refuse to give my fingerprint to the California DMV for my Driver's license renewal. This new requirement just doesn't seem constitutional. It used to be that you had to commit a crime or be a government official before you had to submit a fingerprint, but now they're cataloguing regular law abiding citizens... It just doesn't sit well with me on a privacy level. Is this another stipulation of the Patriot Act taking more of our freedoms away?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  xavierjd replied 6 years ago.

Thanks for using


Are you renewing your regular license or a CDL?



Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Just my regular California Driver's License. My wife renewed a few months ago and was required to give her fingerprint which she didn't approve of but she was told that it was mandatory. The renewal form I received states that I have to submit a vision test, photo as well as a thumbprint.

Thanks in advance
Expert:  xavierjd replied 6 years ago.

Thanks for the information.


The answer to your question is NO. You don't have to submit a thumb print......BUT, if you don't submit your print, you WON'T be allowed to renew your license.


The law provides that driving is a privilege. It is not a right. Therefore, a license may be issued and it may be taken away. Requirements may be placed on a person's ability to obtain and maintain a driver's license.


Not all states require a thumb print to renew/obtain a license. However, because a drivers license is a primary form of identification in California, the argument is that providing a thumb print guards against identity theft, fraud and helps prevent consumer related crime. However, unlike a road test, eye test, etc. a thumb print has nothing to do with your driving ability.


I understand your privacy concerns. Unlike other forms of identification, such as a driver's license number, a thumb print, cannot be changed in the event of a data breach, potentially resulting in lasting problems for victims.


However, again, because a drivers license is a privilege and not a right, the state can continue to require a thumb print.


I hope you find this information useful and that you PRESS THE GREEN ACCEPT BUTTON so that I can get credit for answering the question. Thank you.



xavierjd, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3400
Experience: 20+ yrs in criminal, landlord/tenant, family, & small claims
xavierjd and 10 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Unfortunately in our day and age driving is a necessity and not a privilege, especially with California's inadequate transit system. You could make that equal claim about other modern technologies that have become a necessity to make a living in our society such as the internet, telephone, computers, etc. Should we submit our finger prints for the so called privilege of using those. After all they are not rights either but without them, we are at a serious advantage to compete in this economy. It's like saying a carpenter has the right to make a living as long as he uses a hammer but if he wants to use an electric tool than he must give up his privacy in order to us one because it's a privilege... Not a worthy argument in our day and age.

As for the reasoning that a thumb print is for our (the consumer) protection is just an old tactic to make the public swallow the pill when in fact it is much more likely to be used against us in the future like so many other similar laws that claim the same. Our past history is proof enough of such abuses. We, the american public never even had a choice on this matter and it's another blow to our freedom of privacy which is slowly being eroded buy an increasingly invasive corporate entity & government with the help of technology.

Will I refuse to renew my license on moral grounds and be financially punished? Do I really have a choice? You know the answer as well as I do. This is something worthy enough to be argued in a court of law by a civil right lawyer for it concerns all of us... I guess, it's good news for defense lawyers since they'll surely be defending cases where fingerprints from the DMV database have been used unethically and pejoratively .

Thank you for your research on this matter and detailed answer. I will credit you by accepting your answer.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Previous | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Not only did he answer my Michigan divorce question but was also able to help me out with it, too. I have since won my legal case on this matter and thank you so much for it. Lee Michigan

Meet The Experts:

  • Tina



    Satisfied Customers:

    JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
< Last | Next >
  • Tina's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
  • Ely's Avatar


    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
  • JPEsq's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    Experience as general attorney, in house counsel, SSDI, Family Law attorney, and law professor
  • Law Educator, Esq.'s Avatar

    Law Educator, Esq.


    Satisfied Customers:

    JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
  • FiveStarLaw's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    25 years of experience helping people like you.
  • Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.'s Avatar

    Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.


    Satisfied Customers:

    7+ years of experience handling various legal matters.
  • Dimitry K., Esq.'s Avatar

    Dimitry K., Esq.


    Satisfied Customers:

    Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.