If you or a loved one have been arrested on the charge of driving with a suspended California driver's license, you should waste no time in availing yourself of expert legal help to avoid jail time, fines, and other potential consequences of a conviction.
At Los Angeles Criminal Attorneys, we have successfully defended numerous clients charged with driving on a suspended license, and we know how to negotiate and obtain the best possible outcome on your behalf.
WHAT IS DRIVING WITH A SUSPENDED LICENSE?
The California Vehicle Code names numerous crimes for which you can have your license suspended by the DMV for a specified period of time. Such crimes include DUI, reckless driving, refusal to submit to a breath test, and mental/physical disabilities.
THE ELEMENTS OF THE OFFENSE
To win a conviction, the prosecutor must prove beyond all reasonable doubt two (and only two) facts:
- That your California driver's license was suspended at the time that you were driving a motor vehicle. Normally, a simple review of DMV records will suffice to prove this; and
- That you knew that your license was suspended. This is much more difficult to prove, for you must have been given a written or a verbal notice of the license's suspension.
THE DIFFERENT CALIFORNIA STATUTES ON DRIVING WITH A SUSPENDED/REVOKED LICENSE
- Vehicle Code 14601: License was suspended or revoked due to certain enumerated reasons
Vehicle Code section 14601 proscribes driving when your license was revoked to due to reckless driving, driving under the influence of an alcohol or drug, a physical or mental condition that impaired your ability to drive, or your designation as a “negligent” or “incompetent” operator by the court or DMV. Reckless driving is the most common cause of license suspension. For example, Jack is arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. Jack’s attorney reduces his charge to a reckless driving. Before this reduction takes place, the DMV suspends Jack’s driver’s license. Jack continues to drive regardless. One day, Jack is pulled over for speeding. The investigating officer discovers that Jack is driving on a suspended license. Jack can be charged with vehicle code section 14601.
- Vehicle Code section 14601.1: License was suspended or revoked for general offenses
Code section 14601.1 proscribes driving when your license was revoked for any reason, even one that is not enumerated in the other driving with a suspended license statutes.
- Vehicle Code section 14601.2: license was suspended or revoked due to driving under the influence
Code section 14601.2 proscribes driving when your license was suspended or revoked due to a conviction for driving under the influence. Section 14601.2 is the most serious of the 14601 violations.
- Vehicle Code section 14601.3: “habitual traffic offender.”
You can be charged with Code section 14601.3 if your license was suspended or revoked in the 12-month period after you were convicted of or involved in a combination of the following:
- Two or more driving-related offenses such as Vehicle Code section 23103 (reckless driving), Vehicle Code section 23152 (driving under the influence), and Vehicle Code section 23109 (exhibition of speed);
- Three or more general moving violations;
- Three or more accidents resulting in injury to a person or property damage that totaled to at least $7,50.00.
- Minor car accident
If you are convicted of Code section 14601.3, you will be designated a “habitual traffic offender.”
- Vehicle Code section 14601.5: license was suspended or revoked for chemical test refusal and other DUI offenses
Code section 14601.5 proscribes driving when your license was suspended or revoked due to any of the following:
- After you were arrested for a DUI, you refused to submit to a DUI chemical test;
- You suffered a DUI conviction when you were under 21 years of age, and you either refused to submit to a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) test, or you had a DUI blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.01% or greater;
- While on probation for drunk driving, you were arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and you refused to submit to a PAS or other chemical test;
- While on probation for a California DUI, you drove with a BAC of 0.01% or greater;
- You drove with a BAC of 0.08% or higher in violation of Vehicle Code section 23152(b);
- You drove with a BAC of 0.04 percent or greater while you were operating a vehicle that required a commercial license.
Here are a few of the most common to driving with a suspended license:
- The driver's license in question was mistakenly placed on the state's suspended license list, but in fact, the license was still valid.
- The DMV did not mail a written notice of the license's suspension to you, and nor did you receive a verbal notice from a police officer.
- Somebody other than you was operating the motor vehicle.
For a first offense, driving on a suspended license will bring a fine in the range of $300 to $1,000 and anywhere from 5 days to 6 months in jail. For a second offense, penalties include: a fine of from $500 to $2,000 and anywhere from 10 days to a full year of jail time. If the reason the license was suspended to begin with was driving under the influence of alcohol or an intoxicating drug, then a 30-day minimum jail sentence and mandatory installation of an IID (ignition interlock device) are added to either of the above sentences.
Charges similar to or often charged along with that of driving with a suspended license include the following:
- Driving without a valid license: Driving with a suspended license is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, probation, and the impounding of your vehicle. Often, this charge can be reduced to an infraction with the help of a skilled defense lawyer.
- No license with you while driving: This is a mere infraction and only requires that you demonstrate that you had a valid license at the time of operating the vehicle.
- Reckless driving: If you drive a vehicle in such a manner that demonstrates "willful disregard for the safety of others," then you can be charged with "reckless driving." A conviction for reckless driving is punishable by up to 90 days in county jail, suspension of your license for a month, and the impounding of your vehicle. A second offense, however, can get you a 6-month jail sentence and a year-long license suspension.
- Driving under the influence: Those who fail a BAC test administered by a police officer upon a traffic stop will likely have their license confiscated and suspended. They will be given a 30-day temporary license and must request a DMV hearing within 10 days or lose that right. If convicted, a first-time DUI offense is punishable by a $1,000 fine, mandatory installation of an IID, and mandatory completion of a state-approved DUI class.
HOW CAN WE HELP
Actual Case: In People v. E.E, (Case number not disclosed due to client’s request), Mr. E was charged with driving with a suspended license under Vehicle code section 14601. Negin thoroughly examined Mr. E.’s record and discovered that Mr. E had maintained two mailing addresses, one of which he had updated with the DMV but which the DMV had failed to record as Mr. E’s permanent mailing address. Therefore, Mr. E. did not receive notification of the suspension by the DMV at the correct mailing address. The prosecution irrationally argued that Mr. E. was notified even if the DMV did not mail the notice of suspension to his correct mailing address. Negin was adamant and relentless, and was thus able to convince the prosecution to ultimately dismiss the charge against Mr. E.
As a matter of habit and principle, Negin does not take at face value anything claimed by the prosecution or law enforcement. As indicated in the case above, Negin will go the extra mile to garner her own facts and thus negotiate or engender the most apt and favorable outcome for her clients.
To learn more or for a free legal consultation, do not hesitate to call our Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer 24/7 at 424-333-0943.