Driving on a Suspended License
Driving on a suspended or revoked license in California is illegal. However, there can be vastly different penalties depending on the reason for the suspension. For example, the DMV can suspend your license for failing to deal with a traffic ticket in a timely manner. That would be a violation of Vehicle Code section 14601.1(a). Penalties for this can be treated as either infractions or misdemeanors, with a fine being the usual punishment.
On the other hand, some violations can be much more serious. For example, driving while suspended for a DUI, a violation of V.C. section14601.2(a) comes with a minimum ten days in county jail, and the possible impound of your vehicle for thirty days.
Also, depending on which section of the Vehicle Code section you violated, you can be ordered to install an ignition interlock device in your car for up to one year.
Of course, there are defenses against these charges. A key one would be lack of knowledge that the license was suspended. While there is a legal presumption that a properly addressed letter is deemed received by the addressee, often the DMV will send a letter to an old address that does not get forwarded to the driver. In that case, the driver would not be liable.
It should go without saying that if you get pulled over while driving on a suspended/revoked license do not admit that you know you’re suspended.
There are, however, other factors that come into play in these offenses. For example, our current District Attorney has taken the position that penalties for many of these offenses are too harsh. He has expressed sympathy with the position that driving is an essential element in the ability of many people to earn a living. Obviously, a good lawyer can use this to improve the outcome in what might otherwise be a bad case.
If you have been charged with driving on a suspended license, your first step should be to determine how you can get your license back. If you’re able to get your license back before going to court, there is a good chance of getting the matter dismissed or the punishment significantly reduced.
Our office has helped many drivers get back their driving privilege over the years. We know how important it is to be able to drive legally and to have the peace of mind that comes from not having to constantly look over your shoulder to see if a police cruiser is about to pull you over. Please feel free to call for a no-obligation consultation about your case.