Driving on a Suspended License in California

January 20, 2016

Driving on a Suspended License

In this article Los Angeles DUI Defense Lawyer discusses Driving on a Suspended License.  Click on the links below to go directly to your topic of interest.


California Laws covering driving on a Suspended License can be found in California Vehicle Code sections 14601-14601.5.  The decision to charge one code section over another primarily deals with the type of suspension or revocation.  For instance, if the driver’s license suspension is based on a conviction for drunk driving in Los Angeles, the prosecuting agency is likely to file a criminal complaint for a violation of California Vehicle Code section 14601.2.  This particular code section carries mandatory jail time (at least 10 days for 1stviolation) and severe driving license consequences that involve mandatory ignition interlock devise (IID).  In contrast, other code sections do not carry mandatory jail time and reserved for driving license suspension based on losing administrative per se hearing in Los Angeles (CVC 14601.5) or suspension based on failure to appear on infraction (CVC 14601.1) or sometimes even non-payment of child support.

 Some of the convictions for driving on a suspended license can have draconian consequences, including sever commercial driver’s license consequences, such as possible loss of commercial driver’s license for life.  It is extremely important to seek quality Los Angeles suspended license attorney to help defend against these possibly life changing accusations.

If your driving privilege has been suspended or revoked, it is against the law drive a vehicle, anywhere in the USA.  If you continue to drive a vehicle while your license suspended, you can get face jail time, fines, loss of vehicle through forfeiture laws among other punishments.  Rather then face punishment for driving on a suspended license, it is far better to see if you qualify for a restricted license that would permit driving to and from work or anywhere depending on the type of restriction.

In California, the most serious punishment for driving on a suspended license is reserved for suspension based on drunk driving conviction.  In Los Angeles suspended licenses after a drunk driving conviction can result in serious jail sentences.  Many police agencies in Los Angeles county have units specializing in arrest in prosecution of drivers who drive with a suspended license.  For example, Los Angeles police department has a Habitual Traffic Offender Unit that is known to do undercover surveillance of defendants and often will follow drivers who were informed in court that their license is suspended and observe these drivers drive from the courthouse.


A driver can have a suspended license for a number of reasons.  The worst kind is a suspension that happened because of a DUI.  When a person receives a DUI, the clerk of the court will notify the DMV electronically that there is a DUI and the DMV will suspend or revoke the driver’s license.  If you drive on a suspended license after a DUI, you can be charged with a California Vehicle Code section 14601.2.  A California Vehicle Code 14601.2 conviction carries mandatory jail time and other consequences that are a lot more severe then other suspended license convictions.

Here is the list of possible reasons for suspension of driver’s license:

1) Driving Under the Influence

2) Failure to appear in court

3) Failure to pay fines

4) Mental incompetence

5) Reckless driving that causes injury

6) Negligent driving

7) Failure to provide proof of insurance at the time of an accident

Don’t think that driving on a suspended license is not a big deal.  In the eyes of law enforcement, driving on a suspended license in California is a crime.  Albeit, it is considered a lower level offense, classified as a misdemeanor.  A misdemeanor is a criminal offense for which a person can not be sentenced to jail for more then a year.  In contrast, a felony is a type of crime where the sentence in prison can exceed one year.  Unlike DUI cases where the offense can be sometimes a felony, driving on a suspended license can never be a felony.


The Department of Motor Vehicles counts number of points on the driving record.  The point count is important for insurance and for determination of negligent operator status of a driver.  If a driver gets more then 4 points in one year, his license might be suspended.  The point counts is covered under “negligent operator” statutes and allow 3 points in 1 years, 5 points in 2 years and 7 points in 3 years without suspension.  Many offenses do not carry points and Los Angeles DUI attorney negotiated many dispositions that include dismissal of driving on a suspended license and avoidance of points.

Driving on a suspended license is a priorable offense up to seven years.  A subsequent driving on a suspended license offense will be prosecute more severely by the court or the prosecutor.


Because driving on a suspended license is a misdemeanor crime, in California, you are entitled to a trial by jury.  At trial, the burden is on the prosecutor to prove that you were driving on the suspended license and that you knew that your license was suspended.  The jury instruction used to prosecute driving on a suspended license can be found in Calcrim 2220.  If you did not know that your license was suspended, you have a defense to the charge.  You can call our office anytime to talk to Los Angeles DUI attorney.  Our attorney specialize in driving related offenses and can help you defend against this or other related charges.  Call our office anytime to talk to a Los Angeles suspended license lawyer.  We will provide free consultation over the telephone on in person.  We are confident that we can help you defend your case and get back your driver’s license.  We provide quality representation at affordable price.

suspended license SUSPENDED LICENSE. Example 1

You appear before a judge because of an arrest for driving on a suspended license. The prosecutor will attempt to prove a conviction by having a police office identify you as the person who drove the vehicle on the date in question and by proving using certified Department of Motor Vehicle record that your license was suspended or revoked.

California jury instructions lists 2 elements that the jury must prove

(1) the defendant drove the motor vehicle while his or her driver’s license was suspended  and

(2) when the defendant drove he know that his or her driver’s license was suspended.

Most defenses focus on either denying that the police observed driving or denying knowledge of the conviction.

 Prosecutors are often allowed to use a rebuttable presumption that if it is proven that California Department of Motor Vehicles mailed a notice to the defendant telling him or her that his or her driver’s license was suspended or revoked and the license was mailed to the most recent address reported to the department, and the notice was not returned to the department as undeliverable or unclaimed, then the jury may but is not required to, conclude that the defendant knew his driver’s license was suspended or revoked.  This jury instruction presumption is designed to undermine a defense that defendant did not know about the license suspension.  Thus lost mail can often have extremely prejudicial consequences and skilled Los Angeles criminal defense attorney to win at trial or convince Los Angles city prosecutor or Los Angeles County District Attorney that you in fact did not know that your driver’s license was suspended.

 Punishment for a first time offender can be pretty severe and varies based on the reason for the suspension or revocation.  Some driving on the suspended or revoked license offenses do not carry mandatory minimal jail time while others carry at least 10 days of jail.  The maximum punishment for a first offense driving on a suspended license can also include up to 6 month in the county jail and a possible probation for 3 years.  A monitory fine can also range from $300 to $1000 for a first time offender.  Repeat offenders face increased jail time and fines from $500 to $2000.

Not only attorney is necessary when defendant is attempting to prove to the prosecutor or the court an existence of defense or dispute a fact, but also, attorney can be an effective advocate because he is able to present mitigating factors in most eloquent manner.  Attorneys in our office know many judges and prosecutors in LA county and able to establish rapport based on years of working together.  Such personal touch and rapport with judges and prosecutor can help negotiate a favorable disposition or a dismissal for your driving on a suspended license case in Los Angeles.


You decided against the given advice and choose to represent yourself.  You watch The Good WIFE or some other law drama. You walk into the courtroom with confidence, sharply dressed and prepared to state your case. The prosecutor has no reason to negotiate with you, and even might not want to discuss your case with you. The prosecutors are often rated on the number of convictions they have and might not views you as an easy win, because he marks his success by how many wins he racks up. Your case ends quickly and he has an easy day.


You walk into court with your attorney. The prosecutor sees you are represented. Even though it may be an open and shut case, your attorney and prosecutor speak out of professional courtesy. An attorney who is known for his professionalism, and ability to speak can work wonders because they know how to negotiate a lesser charge. Accepting a lesser charge is still a win for the prosecutor, and again he has an easy rest of his day. In some instances your attorney can make the charges go away.


If you are reading this because of an arrest for Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License, call our office (818) 921 7744 to seek competent, professional, free and legal advice from a licensed attorney.  Choosing to represent yourself when faced with a criminal prosecution for driving on a suspended or revoked license is not only a frightening experience but can also result in not getting the best possible deal or mounting an effective defense for your case.  For example, one of the requirements for a prosecution for driving on a suspended revoked license is proper service.  If the defendant is not properly notified of the suspension, then any prosecution for driving on a suspended license is invalid.  Los Angles DUI attorneys have represented many cases involving driving on a suspended license with a very likely dismissal of the driving on a suspended license charge.

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One response to “Driving on a Suspended License in California”

  1. Arun Kumar says:

    I got two tickets for driving with suspended drivers license.they we’re aprx.1 month apart.now ,the thing is! 1st ticket I got somehow it was just a plain yellow paper and didn’t show the reason,the court date
    Or where I’m supposed to go for the ticket,besides he gave a ticket in a private property,where I was moving the truck from I parking stall to another when he seen me on the driver seat w/ no seat belt.i was in my jobs parking lot I do have witnesses that they tried to ask him why is he issuing the ticket,he told them to get away from the science or else he will write them the tickets.i can bring all (5-8) witnesses if you prefer to.
    2nd: I was pulled over wrongfully, when pulled over, Officer did not gave me a reason why he pulled me over.after I stopped he ran into the car like a tronado asking me where is the passenger when I didn’t had anybody,told me to sit down while he is searching the car, for what beats the hell out of me.while he is doing that I was sitting on the curb with another officer,I asked him why did he pulled me over.he told me because of illegal tint.one officer is looking for 2nd person and the other one is sitting there and lying to me.they were the reason why I got 2nd ticket.i need serious help .w/ you call me I’ll explain it better.