Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License in California

A lot of driver’s can be accused of driving on a suspended or even revoked driving license. It is essential to know that only the person who knew about the license suspension or revocation can be convicted of having committed the crime of driving on a suspended or revoked license in California.

California Vehicle Code 14601-14601.5 VC prohibits from knowingly driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license. Each code section deals with a different type of licenses suspension (for example, 14601.2 deals with driving on a suspended license due to a California DUI.

A motor vehicle includes:

  • passenger vehicle
  • motorcycle
  • motor scooter
  • bus
  • school bus
  • commercial vehicle
  • truck tractor
  • and trailer.

The circumstances causing driver’s license suspension or revocation are various. Pursuant to the provisions of California Vehicle Code 14601 VC, the reasons for the suspension or revocation can be (but are not limited to):

  • Being declared a negligent operator for too many points on your license
  • A mental or physical disability
  • A conviction for DUI.

The crime of driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license in California is considered to be a misdemeanor. The convicted of this crime can face the following penalties:

  • Up to one (1) year sentencing in a county jail
  • A fine up to $1000
  • Or both.

Your attorney can always try to argue the accusations based on the following reasons:

  • The suspension was invalid
  • You had the right to drive under a restricted license
  • You did not know about your license suspension etc.

When the privilege of a person to operate a motor vehicle is suspended or revoked, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) should notify the person of the action taken and of the effective date by first-class mail. In addition, a person is considered to be notified if he or she was personally given notice by the department or a court. It is a rebuttable presumption, affecting the burden of proof, that a person has knowledge of the suspension or revocation if notice has been sent by first-class mail by the Department of Motor Vehicles and the notice has not been returned to the department as undeliverable or unclaimed. Moreover, California Vehicle Code 14601 VC states that it is the responsibility of every holder of a driver’s license to report changes of address to the DMV.

Thus, in order to prove the guilt of the defendant, the prosecution has to establish the following elements of the crime:

1. The defendant drove a motor vehicle while the driving privilege was suspended or revoked.
2. The defendant knew that the driving privilege was suspended or revoked.

The first fact means that an appropriate law enforcement agency suspended or revoked a person’s driver’s license.
The case becomes more complicated when the prosecutor has to prove that the defendant knew about his or her license suspension or revocation.

The prosecution can base the arraignment on one of the following facts:

1. The California Department of Motor Vehicles mailed a notice to the defendant telling that the driving privilege had been suspended or revoked
2. The notice was sent to the most recent address reported to the department or any more recent address reported by the person, a court, or a law enforcement agency
AND
3. The notice was not returned to the department as undeliverable or unclaimed.

Then the court may, but is not required to, conclude that the defendant knew that his or her driving privilege was suspended or revoked.

Likely, it exists various defenses that your aggressive and experienced attorney can use in order to persuade the court to not find you guilty.

Example: Simon, the ex-husband of Angelique, left her and she did not know his actual address when the notice of suspension of the driver’s license of Simon for DUI was delivered. Thus, the notice returned as undeliverable. In consequence, there is no reason to suppose that Simon knew about his license’s suspension and he cannot be convicted of the commission of California driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license.

REMEMBER that even one of aforementioned facts is true, it only means that there is presumption of the proof that you knew that your license was suspended or revoked. Thus, it is to your California defense attorney to establish that you are innocent.

Your defense attorney can use one of the following defenses:

Driving with a suspended or revoked license in California is considered to be a misdemeanor. The convicted can face sentencing up to one (1) year in a county jail, a fine up to $1000 or both of them.

If you faced accusation of driving with a suspended or revoked license in California, we will help you to understand the various aspects of your case. The Margarian Law Firm aggressively protects the rights of criminal defendants in California. We will help you to understand the various aspects of your case. We are ready to provide answers to your initial questions concerning California charges  for free. Do not hesitate to contact us!

You may file your request online, by telephone or by mail. 818-553-1000

California Vehicle Code Section 14601 VC – Driving When Privilege Suspended or Revoked

14601. (a) No person shall drive a motor vehicle at any time when that person’s driving privilege is suspended or revoked for reckless driving in violation of Section 23103, 23104, or 23105, any reason listed in subdivision (a) or (c) of Section 12806 authorizing the department to refuse to issue a license, negligent or incompetent operation of a motor vehicle as prescribed in subdivision (e) of Section 12809, or negligent operation as prescribed in Section 12810.5 , if the person so driving has knowledge of the suspension or revocation. Knowledge shall be conclusively presumed if mailed notice has been given by the department to the person pursuant to Section 13106. The presumption established by this subdivision is a presumption affecting the burden of proof.
(b) A person convicted under this section shall be punished as follows:
(1) Upon a first conviction, by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than five days or more than six months and by a fine of not less than three hundred dollars ($300) or more than one thousand dollars ($1,000).
(2) If the offense occurred within five years of a prior offense that resulted in a conviction of a violation of this section or Section 14601.1, 14601.2, or 14601.5, by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than 10 days or more than one year and by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) or more than two thousand dollars ($2,000).
(c) If the offense occurred within five years of a prior offense that resulted in a conviction of a violation of this section or Section 14601.1, 14601.2, or 14601.5, and is granted probation, the court shall impose as a condition of probation that the person be confined in a county jail for at least 10 days.
(d) Nothing in this section prohibits a person from driving a motor vehicle, that is owned or utilized by the person’s employer, during the course of employment on private property that is owned or utilized by the employer, except an offstreet parking facility as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 12500.
(e) When the prosecution agrees to a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to a charge of a violation of this section in satisfaction of, or as a substitute for, an original charge of a violation of Section 14601.2, and the court accepts that plea, except, in the interest of justice, when the court finds it would be inappropriate, the court shall, pursuant to Section 23575, require the person convicted, in addition to any other requirements, to install a certified ignition interlock device on any vehicle that the person owns or operates for a period not to exceed three years.
(f) This section also applies to the operation of an off-highway motor vehicle on those lands to which the Chappie-Z’berg Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Law of 1971 (Division 16.5 (commencing with Section 38000)) applies as to off-highway motor vehicles, as described in Section 38001.

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