THE

Suspended License

<’h3′ class='av-special-heading-tag' itemprop="headline" >’

1. Definition of Driving on a Suspended License

Under Vehicle Code 14601, it is a crime to drive if you know your license is suspended or revoked.In order to convict you of this offense, the prosecutor must prove:

  1. You drove a vehicle while your driver’s license was suspended or revoked, and
  2. You knew your driving privileges were suspended or revoked.

A. Proving “Knowledge” under Vehicle Code 14601

California law presumes that you knew your driver’s license was suspended or revoked if the following are true:

  1. The DMV mailed you a notice stating that your license had been suspended or revoked,
  2. That notice was sent to the most recent address reported by you to the DMV or law enforcement, and
  3. The notice was not returned to the DMV as undeliverable or unclaimed.

In addition, there is a presumption that you knew your license was suspended or revoked if:

  1. A police officer personally served you with a notice of the suspension or revocation,
  2. A police officer confiscated your license when you were arrested for a DUI (or any other driving violation), or
  3. A judge informed you of the suspension or revocation at the time you were sentenced.

However, even if one of these things is true, that is not conclusive proof that you knew about the suspension or revocation.

Instead, this just creates a presumption that you must rebut with evidence.

2. Reasons for License Suspension

Different California laws cover different reasons why your license was suspended.

A. Vehicle Code 14601 – Specific Offenses

Under Vehicle Code 14601, it is illegal to drive a vehicle when you know that your license was suspended for:

  1. Reckless driving,
  2. Alcohol or drug abuse,
  3. A physical or mental condition that prevents you from driving safely, or
  4. Being declared a “negligent” or “incompetent” operator.

B. Vehicle Code 14601.1 – General Offenses

Under Vehicle Code 14601.1, it is a crime to drive when you know that your license was suspended for any reason (even one that isn’t mentioned in the Vehicle Code).

C. Vehicle Code 14601.2 – DUI Suspension

Under Vehicle Code section 14601.2, it is a crime to drive when you know that your license was suspended for a DUI conviction. This covers:

  1. Suspensions for Vehicle Code 23152(a) – “driving under the influence,”
  2. Suspensions for Vehicle Code 23152(b) – driving with a BAC of .08 or greater,
  3. Suspensions under California’s “DUI of drugs” laws, and
  4. Suspensions for Vehicle Code 23153 – DUI causing injury.

D. Vehicle Code 14601.3 – Habitual Traffic Offender

Under Vehicle Code 14601.3, you can be declared a “habitual traffic offender” if your license was suspended and during 12 months you accumulate:

  1. Two or more serious driving-related crimes (such as reckless driving, DUI, exhibition of speed, or another 14601 violation,
  2. Three or more “general” moving violations (for example, speeding), or
  3. Three or more accidents where someone was injured or the property damaged totaled least $750.

E. Vehicle Code 14601.5 – DUI Related Suspensions

Under Vehicle Code 14601.5, it is a crime to drive when you know your license was suspended for:

  1. Refusing to submit to a DUI chemical blood, breath, or urine test,
  2. Suffering a DUI conviction while under the age of 21,
  3. Refusing to submit to a PAS when you were on probation for DUI,
  4. Driving with a BAC of 0.01% or greater while on probation for a DUI,
  5. Driving with a BAC of 0.08% or greater in violation of Vehicle Code 23152(b), or
  6. Driving with a BAC of 0.04% or greater while you were driving a commercial vehicle.

3. Reinstating Your Driver’s License

Even after your suspension “expires,” you are still not allowed to drive until you go to DMV and have your driving license reinstated.

For example, if you were given a one-year suspension, and then drove once that suspension expired, you could still be prosecuted for driving on a suspended license unless:

  1. You took the proper steps with the DMV to regain your driving privilege, or
  2. You proved to the court that you completed all of your probation requirements.

The specific steps and requirements for reinstating your license vary depending on the reason for the suspension.

<’h3′ class='av-special-heading-tag' itemprop="headline" >’

1. Penalties for Driving on a Suspended License

Under California law, driving on a suspended or revoked license is always a misdemeanor. This means that the potential penalties may include jail or a fine, but not state prison.However, the exact penalties for driving on a suspended license vary depending on:

  1. The reason your license was suspended,
  2. Whether you have prior convictions, and
  3. Your driving history (which includes out-of-state convictions for driving-related offenses).

The following summarizes the potential penalties under each statute.

A. Vehicle Code 14601

If you are convicted of driving on a suspended license under Vehicle Code 14601, you face the following:

(1) First Offense

  1. Informal probation for up to three years,
  2. Five days to six months in the county jail, and
  3. Between $300-$1,000 in fines

(2) Second Offense (Within Five Years)

  1. Informal probation for up to three years,
  2. Ten days to one year in the county jail, and
  3. Between $500-$2,000 in fines

If the charges were based on a DUI, you can also be ordered to install an ignition interlock device (IID) for up to 3 years.

3. Penalties for Vehicle Code 14601.2

If you are convicted of driving on a suspended license under Vehicle Code 14601.2, you face the following:

(1) First Offense

  1. Informal probation for up to three years,
  2. Ten days to six months in the county jail,
  3. Between $300-$1,000 in fines, and
  4. Installation of a certified ignition interlock device

If, you suffered (1) prior multiple DUI convictions, or (2) a conviction for vehicular manslaughter, you face an additional:

  1. 180 days in the county jail, and
  2. A $2,000 fine if you are convicted of this section

(2) Second Offense (Within Five Years)

  1. Informal probation for up to three years,
  2. Thirty days to one year in the county jail,
  3. Between $500-$2,000 in fines, and
  4. Installation of an IID

If you were previously declared a HTO, you face an additional sentence of

  1. 180 days in the county jail, and
  2. A $2,000 fine

D. Penalties for Vehicle Code 14601.3

If you are declared a habitual traffic offender under 14601.3, you face the following:

(1) First Offense

  1. Informal probation for up to three years,
  2. Thirty days in the county jail, and
  3. A $1,000 fine

(2) Second Offense (Within Seven Years)

  1. Informal probation for up to three years,
  2. 180 days in the county jail, and
  3. A $2,000 fine
<’h3′ class='av-special-heading-tag' itemprop="headline" >’

1. Defenses to Driving on a Suspended License

There are a variety of legal defenses to driving on a suspended license. Below are some of the most common:

A. Lack of Knowledge

In order to convict you of driving on a suspended license, the D.A. must prove not only that your license was suspended, but that you knew it was suspended.

Therefore, Vehicle Code 14601 cases often revolve around the element of “knowledge” (for both prosecutors and defense attorneys).

For example: Maybe your notice of suspension was mailed, but the notice went to an old address or got lost in the law.

Maybe you were never actually told of your suspension by a judge or law enforcement officer.

B. Possession of a “Restricted” License

In some cases, a “restricted” license is available. If a restricted license is granted, you will be able to drive:

  1. To and from work and school,
  2. To and from DUI school, and
  3. 3. Anywhere else the court or DMV permits.

If you were driving within the scope of your restricted license, that may be raised as a valid defense to driving on a suspended license.

However, this defense only applies to Vehicle Code 14601.2 and Vehicle Code 14601.5 charges.

C. License Suspension Was Invalid

It could be the case that your driver’s license suspension or revocation was unlawful to begin with.

There could be errors from your previous convictions, which led to your license being revoked or suspended.

When this is the case, you should fight to have your 14601 charges dismissed.

2. Plea bargains and Dismissals

Prosecutors are often willing to reduce driving on suspended license cases to either:

  1. Lesser offenses (such as Vehicle Code 12500 – driving without a valid license), or
  2. Traffic infractions (such as moving violations).

In some cases, if you are working to get your license reinstated, the prosecutor may be willing to dismiss the charges altogether.

This is especially true if you have little or no criminal history.

3. Vehicle Code 12500 – Driving Without a License

Vehicle Code 12500 (driving without a license) is a related, but less serious offense than Vehicle 14601 (driving on a suspended license).

To be charged under Vehicle Code 12500, you just need to be caught driving a motor vehicle without a valid license. It does not matter whether:

  1. You knew you were unlicensed, or
  2. Why you lacked a license.

Driving without a license may be charged as either a misdemeanor or an infraction.

If it is a first offense and you have a fairly clean driving record, odds are that it will be charged as (or ultimately reduced to) an infraction.

4. California DMV Hearings

An even better option than fighting criminal charges is avoiding them altogether.

This can be done by fighting the suspension or revocation of your license in the first place.

If you were recently notified by the DMV that it intends to suspend or revoke your license because of:

  1. Alleged negligent operation,
  2. An alleged physical and/or mental issue, or
  3. A DUI conviction …

It is worth your while to contact an attorney who has experience withDMV hearings.

Under California law, everyone is entitled to a hearing before the DMV before they can have their driving privileges taken away.

However, you must act quickly: you only have 10 days to request a hearing once the DMV notifies you about the suspension.

<’h3′ class='av-special-heading-tag' itemprop="headline" >’Contact
<’h4′ class='av-special-heading-tag' itemprop="headline" >’
<’h6′ class='av-special-heading-tag' itemprop="headline" >’
<’h6′ class='av-special-heading-tag' itemprop="headline" >’

Oakland suspended license lawyer, Alameda County suspended license lawyer, Albany suspended license lawyer, Berkeley suspended license lawyer, Castro Valley suspended license lawyer, Dublin suspended license lawyer, Emeryville suspended license lawyer, Fremont suspended license lawyer, Hayward suspended license lawyer, Livermore suspended license lawyer, Newark suspended license lawyer, Piedmont suspended license lawyer, Pleasanton suspended license lawyer, San Leandro suspended license lawyer, Sunol suspended license lawyer, and Union City suspended license lawyer.
San Francisco suspended license lawyer, Contra Costa County suspended license lawyer, San Mateo County suspended license lawyer, Santa Clara County suspended license lawyer, and Solano County suspended license lawyer.
Martinez suspended license lawyer, Richmond suspended license lawyer, Pittsburg suspended license lawyer, San Jose suspended license lawyer, Redwood City suspended license lawyer, and Vallejo suspended license lawyer.