Driving on a Suspended License

Driving with a Suspended License: How bad is it?

Driving with a suspended or revoked license in California is a misdemeanor traffic offense--not a traffic infraction. It carries a potential jail sentence and substantial fines. Fortunately, there are several legal tactics and defenses we can use to prevent or lessen the severity of the penalties that can result from driving on a revoked or suspended driver's license. Generally, first time offenders in Los Angeles are not facing jail time but rather major fines, two points on their DMV records, a longer suspension on their driver's license, and a criminal record. In Los Angeles if you are stopped for driving with a suspended license you may be arrested on the spot and your car will be impounded. Any Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer from Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners has years of experience helping people with driver's license issues and saving clients from going to jail and paying harsh fines.

Driving on a Suspended License Law in California

California Vehicle Code sections 14601-14601.5 prohibit knowingly driving on a suspended or revoked driver's license:

  • 14601(a) -This section makes it unlawful for you to drive on a revoked or suspended license due to alcohol or drug abuse, reckless driving, mental or physical liability, or being declared a negligent or incompetent driver. Penalty for first offense: 5 days to 6 months in county jail, probation and a fine of $300 to $1000 plus penalty assessments. A second offense is 10 days to 1 year in county jail and a $500 to $2000 fine plus penalty assessments.
  • 14601.1(a) -This section makes it unlawful for you to drive on a suspended or revoked license when you know the DMV has suspended or revoked your license for any reason that was not mentioned above under Vehicle Code 14601(a) or below under sections 14601.2 or 14601.5 of the Vehicle Code. Penalty for first offense: 180 days maximum in county jail, probation, and a $300 to $1000 fine plus penalty assessments. A second offense within 5 years is 5 days to 1 year in county jail plus a fine of $500 to $2000 plus penalty assessments.
  • 14601.2(a) - This section prohibits you from driving on a suspended or revoked license because of a DUI (Driving Under Influence of Alcohol or Drugs) conviction (Vehicle Code section 23152 or 23153). You must have knowledge of the suspension or revocation. Penalty for first offense: 10 days to 6 months in county jail, probation, and a fine of $300 to $1000 plus penalty assessments. A second offense is 30 days to 1 year in county jail, probation, plus a $500 to $2000 fine plus penalty assessments.
  • 14601.3(a) - This section makes it unlawful for you to accumulate a "driving record history" while your license is suspended or revoked. You will be designated an "Habitual Traffic Offender" if: your California driver's license was suspended or revoked during a 12 month period and you were convicted of or involved in any combination of the following offenses: two or more serious driving-related crimes, or three or more general moving violations (e.g., speeding), or three or more accidents when someone was injured and property damage totaled at least $750. Penalty for first offense: 30 days in county jail and a fine of $1000 plus penalty assessments. A second or subsequent offense adds 180 days in county jail and a fine of $2000 plus penalty assessments. There is also a three-year license revocation for "Habitual Traffic Offenders."
  • 14601.4(a) - This section prohibits driving on a suspended or revoked license pursuant to 14601.2 (suspension due to a DUI conviction) and causing injury to a person other than the driver. Penalty for first offense: 10 to 180 days in county jail plus the installation of an IID (ignition interlocking device) in your vehicle.
  • 14601.5(a) -This section prohibits driving on a suspended or revoked license based on BAC levels too high or refusing sobriety tests. Penalty for first offense: a maximum of 180 days in county jail, probation, plus a $300 to $1000 fine plus penalty assessments. A second offense within 5 years of a prior is 10 to 180 days in county jail with a fine of $500 to $2000 plus penalty assessments.

Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are arrested for or given a citation for driving with a suspended or revoked driver's license we can help. There are several defenses and legal strategies available for suspended or revoked license cases. There are also favorable plea scenarios, reduction of charges and complete dismissals available. Avoid the harsh penalties associated with suspended license convictions and get your driving privileges reinstated! Call us to discuss your legal options.

If you have been charged with driving on a suspended license, contact a Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney at our office today.