Driving is a right, not a privilege. When you lose your right to operate a vehicle for any given reason, you should not get behind the wheel. Driving with a suspended license can result in even more dire consequences. If you are caught driving on with a suspended licenses, you can get arrested and face additional expenses and consequences.
The exact penalties vary depending on why your driver’s license was suspended or revoked. However, regardless of why your license was suspended, there are legal defenses and ways to fight the charges of driving on a suspended license. An experienced Central Valley suspended license defense attorney can investigate the specific facts of your case and build a strong defense strategy for you.
Legal Definition of Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License
California makes it illegal to drive if your driver’s license has been revoked or suspended. According to California Vehicle Code Section 14601, driving on a suspended licensed is defined as driving a motor vehicle at any time while your driving privilege is suspended or revoked with knowledge of the suspension or revocation.
There are two legal components that make up the legal definition of driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license:
- You drove a vehicle while your license was suspended or revoked
- You (the driver) were aware that your driving privileges were revoked or suspended at the time.
Reasons for Suspension or Revocation of a California Driver’s License
There are a number of reasons why your driving privileges may be suspended or revoked in California. Some of the reasons include:
- A California DUI conviction
- Reckless driving (Vehicle Code 23103), reckless driving that causes injury
- (Vehicle Code 23104), or reckless driving that causes one or more injuries
- (Vehicle Code 23105)
- A mental of physical disability
- Having too many points on your driver’s license
- Having been in a car accident without proof of insurance
- Being declared a negligent operator of a motor vehicle
- Failing to appear in court
- Having unpaid parking tickets
Regardless of the reason for the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, it is best not violate the law by continuing to drive. However, if you do and you face criminal charges, you should immediately hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your legal rights and fight the charges.
Consequences of Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License
Driving with a revoked or suspend license is considered a misdemeanor under California Vehicle Code § 14601(b). The consequences of a conviction may depend on whether you were previously convicted for driving after suspension or revocation. Below is an overview of the consequences of a conviction:
- 1st offense can carry a minimum sentence of five days in jail and a $300 monetary fine. The maximum sentence is six months in jail and a $1,000 monetary fine.
- Subsequent offenses with in a five-year period can carry a minimum sentence of 10 days in jail and $500 fine. The maximum sentence is one year in jail and a monetary fine of $2,000.
If your driver’s license was suspended due to a drunk driving charge, the penalties may be even greater. (Cal. Veh. Code § 14601.2). In addition to the penalties above, you may face even stricter consequences if the state deems you to be a habitual traffic offender. (Cal. Veh. Code § 14601.3).