Driving on a Suspended License
Driving on a suspended license can occur with a variety of permutations. The most significant of which is the reason for the original suspension. Penalties for this vary greatly.
For example, being suspended because of a failure to appear for a traffic ticket has much less punishment attached than being caught driving while suspended for a DUI. The statutory punishment for driving while suspended for a DUI is ten days in county jail and the impounding of your vehicle for thirty days at your expense.
Further, being caught while driving on a suspended license and having a prior conviction in the past five years will also lead to enhanced penalties.
The most complicated aspect of driving on a suspended license is when it has been suspended as the result of a DUI, a violation of 14601.2(a) of the Vehicle Code. DUI suspensions are complicated because they can occur on either or both of two different bases. The first type might be due to the Admin Per Se suspension. This occurs when you have been given a notice of suspension on the day of your arrest and you have lost the DMV administrative hearing. This results in a four month suspension but, after waiting thirty days, you may apply for a restricted license provided you file proof of insurance in the form of an SR-22 and proof of enrollment in a first offender program. You will then be given a restricted license for five months, allowing you to drive to and from, and in the course and scope of your employment, and to and from the first offender program.
What can also occur in the case of a DUI is an additional suspension if you are convicted in court of a violation of 23152(a) or (b) of the Vehicle Code. In that case, a couple of weeks after you are convicted, the DMV will send you a notice that you are suspended effective the date of your court conviction, for a period of six months and until you file proof of completion of a first offender program (AB541).
Unlike the Admin Per Se suspension, you do not have to wait thirty days to apply for a restricted license; you may do so immediately, as long as you have proof of insurance (SR-22) on file and proof of enrollment in the first offender program. If your conviction in court occurred in Los Angeles County, you will also be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for five months.
Where things can get tricky is in the timing of these two types of suspensions. Often, the suspension from a lost DMV Admin Per Se hearing can occur much earlier than the suspension due to the court conviction, leading to a longer overall period of license restriction. It’s important to understand this and discuss this with your attorney.
Driving Without a License
This offense can be charged as a misdemeanor or an infraction. It’s also worth noting that conviction of this offense does not carry any points on your DMV record.
If you are able to obtain a license before the court date, a good outcome is virtually assured. Also, a good attorney can get the court to give you enough time to clear up whatever is preventing you from getting your license.
In many instances I have had the prosecutor drop the charges completely when I have found a way for my client to get a license. I would be happy to do my best to make that happen for you.
Driving Without Insurance
Although this is only an infraction, it can be a very expensive one. If you did not have insurance at the time you were cited, the next best thing you can do is get insured before going to court. That way, there’s a good likelihood that the judge can lower the fine.
There is a second aspect to driving with no insurance. If you have suffered a suspension by the DMV, you are then required to maintain proof of insurance in the form of an SR-22 that must be kept on file for three years. In the event of a lapse of this form of insurance, the DMV will suspend your license until it has been re-filed.
An SR-22 can be an expensive proposition in many cases. However, as an experienced DUI lawyer, I have connections with many insurance agencies that specialize in handling dui-related SR-22’s and can usually save you a considerable amount of money.