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The Consequences of Driving on a Suspended License

Arrested for Driving on a Suspended License


On December 19, 2013, five California drivers were arrested for driving on a suspended license as they drove away from court appearances at the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach, California.  Each of these drivers had just been convicted or pled guilty to driving under the influence and as they drove out of the courthouse parking lot, were stopped by uniformed police officers who are part of the “Avoid the 38” anti-DUI task force in Orange County.

Each driver was arrested for driving on a suspended license.  Each was cited and released to face future criminal charges for driving on a suspended license and each had their vehicles impounded for 30 days.

In addition to the “sting” operation listed above, we have heard tales of California drivers being arrested:

  • Leaving a MADD meeting as frequently ordered by the Court.
  • Leaving a court mandated DUI school.
  • Leaving court mandated community service.
  • Leaving the DMV after filing paperwork or renewing vehicle registration.

It is illegal to drive a motor vehicle at any time with a suspended license.  Be forewarned and protect yourself.

 What is a Suspended License Violation

There are a number of means by which a person can end up with a suspended license.  Here are a few:

  •  Suspended License- Following an administrative Hearing at the California Department of Motor Vehicles.  This may be the result of a DUI, failing to maintain auto insurance, accumulating too many traffic citations or a physical or mental condition.
  • Suspended License- For conviction of DUI in a court.
  • Suspended License- For failing to pay a fine or attend a DUI program ordered by the court.
  • Suspended License- Failing to appear in court when so ordered.
  • Suspended License- Failing to pay child support when so ordered by a court.

So essentially there are two elements to fulfill the crime of driving on a suspended license.  First of all, the driver must have driven a motor vehicle while his or her driver license was suspended.  Secondly, the driver must know that he or she had a suspended license at the time of driving.

California Vehicle Code section 14601.2 (a) makes it unlawful for any person to drive a motor vehicle with a suspended or revoked driver license:

            “A person shall not drive a motor vehicle at any time when that person’s driving privilege is suspended or revoked for a conviction of a violation of Section 23152 or 23153 if the person so   driving has knowledge of the suspension or revocation.”

            The penalties for driving on a suspended license can be quite painful.  For example, upon a first conviction of Vehicle Code section 14601.2(a), the accused shall serve a minimum of 10 days in County Jail and shall have the vehicle they drove impounded for 30 days.  Additionally, if the accused driver is on probation for any earlier criminal conviction, driving on a suspended license will likely trigger a violation of probation.

            So in the case of the five Orange County drivers who were arrested when leaving the Harbor Justice Center, they would have violated the law because they had just been convicted in court for DUI; had just had their driver license suspended, and then drove away from the court.

            Driving on a suspended license can happen in the most innocent of circumstances.  Educate yourself and act accordingly to avoid an arrest for driving on a suspended license.

 How to Avoid an Arrest for Driving on a Suspended License

            The most important “first step” to avoid being arrested for driving on a suspended license is to be informed.  When dealing with the DMV or any court of law, pay attention.  Listen carefully to everything that is said regarding a suspended license and read all paperwork carefully.

            If represented by an attorney, ask numerous questions so you have knowledge on your side.  Ask your attorney how to avoid an arrest for driving on a suspended license.

            In many instances, a California driver who has suffered a suspended license may be eligible for an upgrade to a “restricted driver license.”  This provision allows a driver limited driving privileges under very specific guidelines.  If you are driving on a restricted license, educate yourself to understand the full limitations of the driving restriction.

            For example, if you have been convicted for a 1st Offense DUI, you may suffer a full suspended license for 30 days which is then followed by 5 months of a restricted driver license.  Driving for work or to a DUI school is perfectly legal on a restricted license, however, driving to a MADD meeting or AA meeting is not permitted on a restricted driver license and if you are caught, you are subject to arrest for driving on a suspended license.  Remember, education and awareness is critical to avoiding future trouble with the law.

            If you currently have a suspended license, do not drive.  We understand the terrible burden this creates for many people but, to drive on a suspended license can be a terribly costly mistake.  Call a taxi, take a bus, accept a ride from friends or even start riding a bicycle but don’t get caught driving on a suspended license.

 How We Can help with your suspended license:

            If you currently face an administrative hearing before the California Department of Motor Vehicles, that classically means they want to suspend your driver license.  With years of experience in fighting the DMV, California Drivers Advocates can defend you before the DMV and fight to prevent a suspended license.

            If you have been arrested for driving on a suspended license, telephone us so we can refer you to an attorney who specializes in defending persons accused of driving on a suspended license.

            At the very least, call us if you have any questions.  Driving on a suspended license cost thousands of dollars and can actually cost you your freedom.  Call CDA today and we can educate you regarding the laws surrounding a suspended license.

 The Cost of a Suspended License

            The best way to avoid being arrested for driving on a suspended license is to avoid a loss of the driver license in the first place.  If there is no way to avoid a suspended license you should at least work hard to not be arrested for driving on a suspended license.

            Driving on a suspended license can result in:

  • Ten days in the County Jail.
  • Fines
  • Violation of Probation.
  • Towing fees.
  • Impound fees for 30 days of vehicle impound.

Being caught while driving on a suspended license can cost your freedom, the ability to get to work, the ability to maintain your job, and thousands of dollars in fines and increased insurance.   An arrest for driving on a suspended license is completely avoidable.

 Remember that education is the key to success.  Call California Drivers Advocates anytime for information on protecting yourself from a suspended license violation.  We’re here to help.

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