Driving under a suspended license can be a violation of three different vehicle code sections; they are:
- Vehicle Code Section 12500(a) – unlicensed driver
- Vehicle Code Section 14601.1(a) – driving under a suspended license
- Vehicle Code Section 14601.2(a) – driving under a suspended license related to alcohol
You can be charged with any one of these sections, and the penalties are very different for each offense.
If you received a violation of Vehicle Code Section 14601.1(a), it can be charged as both a misdemeanor and an infraction. This charge is a very dangerous charge and can have long term consequences. The reason is the District Attorney’s office can ask for jail time for driving under a suspended license, and they often do. Additionally, this charge can be “priorable”, so if you get additional suspended license tickets, those can add up and you can be given additional jail time. If you receive one of these tickets, you must immediately call our office. We have seen many people go into court with the mistaken belief that the Judge will just give them a fine, and everything will be taken OK. This is far from the truth. Many people who get a DUI get less jail time than a person who drives on a suspended license. It doesn’t make sense but it is true.
The key is to figure out why your license was suspended. Once this is determined, sometimes we can continue the suspended license case out 3-4 months, get you a new license re-issued and then reduce your case down to a Vehicle Code Section 12500, which is an unlicensed driver – and unlicensed driver ticket carries 0 points. Driving on a suspended or revoked license carries 2 points – there is clearly a big difference.
If you receive a driving under a suspended license ticket and it was related to a DUI or alcohol conviction, you definitely need legal advice and assistance. The District Attorney’s office can sometimes ask for a minimum of 10 days in jail on this type of violation.
Driving on a suspended license cases can be defended. The best defense in this type of case is a technical defense for “lack of proper notice”. The Department of Motor Vehicles must give you actual notice such as a registered letter or service of notice that your license has been suspended. If the District Attorney’s office cannot prove service of notice, they cannot convict you of this charge. When you call our office, we can discuss your defense options.
Give us a call so we can plan a defense strategy and educate of the laws of DMV licensing issues. The initial consultation is free.