If you were pulled over for driving on a suspended or revoked license, you could face criminal charges and potential jail time. You need to speak to a lawyer.
At the Simmrin Law Group, we have seen firsthand what it’s like to go through this kind of situation. That’s why we’ve dedicated ourselves to defending anyone who has been pulled over and arrested.
Don’t risk jail time, fines, and an even longer license suspension period. Fill out the form to the right or give us a call to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation today.
When Is It Illegal to Drive on a Suspended or Revoked License in Los Angeles?
It’s almost always illegal to drive on a suspended or revoked driver’s license. However, in some situations, there are exceptions.
California has a single state law that criminalizes driving with either a suspended or revoked license. Under Vehicle Code §14601, you are considered guilty if you operate any motor vehicle while your California driver’s license was suspended or revoked. However, you must also have been aware that your driving privileges were terminated.
What if You Didn’t Even Realize Your License Was Suspended?
Many people never realize that their license has been suspended. This misunderstanding happens for a variety of reasons.
Most often, this occurs when the address the DMV has on record for you is not current or is otherwise incorrect. They send out a notice to the address they have on file, and you never receive it. If you didn’t know your license was invalid, there is a strong chance you can get the charges against you dismissed.
Another exception involves emergency situations. Depending on what happened, if you needed to use a car because of a true emergency and there was no one else to drive you, you may be able to get your case dismissed. The emergency defense can also be used by someone who never even had a driver’s license if they get arrested for driving without a license.
For a free legal consultation with a driving on a suspended/revoked license lawyer serving Los Angeles, call (310) 928-9347
What Is the Difference Between a License Being “Suspended” and “Revoked”?
It’s often remarked that “a suspended license is bad, and a revoked license is worse.” This is because a suspended license usually comes with a simple way of getting your license back after a set period of time, while a revoked license is completely canceled by the DMV.
In practice, this means it will take longer to get your license back if it was revoked, and there are a lot more conditions you must meet.
A Suspended License
A suspended license is usually only restricted for a set amount of time, such as six months or one year. Once the suspension period is over, you can apply to get it reinstated.
There may be other conditions you have to meet as well, such as enrolling in traffic school. However, in general, you should be able to get the license back once the time is up. Recovering your driving privileges is also easier because you simply have to present documentation at the DMV and pay a reinstatement fee.
A Revoked License
A revoked license does not come with a firm end date. License revocation is often described as “permanent.” However, in reality, there is usually a way to get driving privileges again as long as you are willing to jump through some hoops.
First, you’ll need to complete your entire sentence and probation period or other complex requirements set by the court, which can take years. Even then, you have to start all over as if you are applying for a first-time driver’s license, which means taking a written test, a road test, and paying the fees. And even then, you can only potentially get your license back.
Although revocation is more severe, the penalties for driving without a valid license are similar regardless of whether it was suspended or revoked.
Los Angeles Driving on a Suspended/Revoked License Lawyer Near Me (310) 928-9347
What Are the Penalties for Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License in Los Angeles?
Driving with either a suspended or revoked license is a misdemeanor. The penalties depend on why the license was revoked or suspended in the first place.
General Violations of California Vehicle Code 14601
For the majority of violations of this statute, you will face a maximum sentence of:
- Up to six months in jail
- A fine of up to $1,000
- Summary probation of up to three years
These penalties can double if you face a second conviction. While the maximum jail time is the same in most cases, the minimum jail time can vary.
There is no mandatory jail sentence if your license was suspended or revoked because you refused a DUI chemical test. Meanwhile, if your driving rights were terminated because of a DUI conviction, you will face a minimum sentence of 10 days in jail for a violation of VC §14601.
Habitual Traffic Offender
The main exception to these sentencing terms is if your license was suspended or revoked because you have been determined to be a habitual traffic offender. A habitual traffic offender is anyone who drives on a suspended or revoked license and accumulates excess points on their driving record.
In these cases, you will face a mandatory jail sentence of 30 days and a fine of $1,000. You may also face up to three years of summary probation. A second or subsequent offense is punished by a mandatory sentence of 180 days in jail and a fine of $2,000.
What Defenses Can I Use for Driving on a Suspended/Revoked License?
Depending on the circumstances, the strongest defense may be that you legitimately didn’t know your license was not valid. We can help you determine whether you have the legal ground to use this defense. Other defenses may include:
- You were in the car, but you weren’t driving.
- The suspension or revocation itself was not valid.
- You had the right to drive under a restricted license, and the police were mistaken.
- Someone else stole your license, and they were caught driving with it.
In many cases, these defenses can make the charges disappear, or they can win your case before a judge. However, they only work if presented skillfully and with evidence to back them up. Either way, you need to talk to a lawyer who specializes in driving on a suspended/revoked license.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
Can a Conviction Under California VC §14601 Be Expunged?
It is possible to get a conviction under this statute expunged from your record. In order to do so, there are some conditions that must be met. You can typically request an expungement from the court once any probation or jail time you were ordered to serve has been completed.
If you complete your sentence without incident, the judge will likely grant your expungement request.
Will a Conviction Affect Your Immigration Status?
Fortunately, if you are an immigrant living in California, a conviction under this law will not affect your immigration status. While there are many crimes for which convictions can result in deportation, driving on a suspended or revoked license is not one of them.
There are specific requirements for the level of offense that can result in deportation. A violation of California Vehicle Code §14601 falls far below those benchmarks, as it is a relatively mild misdemeanor charge.
Talk to a Los Angeles Suspended License Lawyer for Free
When a suspended license is involved, one traffic stop can chase you for years. Let the Simmrin Law Group give you a free consultation and start fighting your case. Fill out our online contact form or give us a call and schedule a free case evaluation with a member of our team today.