California Vehicle Code 14601 makes it a crime to drive when you know that you have a suspended or revoked driver’s license. Having your license revoked or suspended can relate to numerous causes, some of these causes may include:
- Having too many points on your record
- A mental or physical disability
- DUI conviction
- Reckless driving (dry reckless or wet reckless)
- Alcohol and/or drug abuse
- Habitual traffic offender
Driving on a suspended license in California is a misdemeanor offense. As a misdemeanor offense you may face possible jail time as well as substantial fines. However, the penalty may vary depending on why your license was revoked or suspended in the first place. It is also important to understand that first offenses are treated differently than multiple offense. Subsequent convictions will typically be much more severe.
Proving that you were driving on a suspended license
A prosecutor must prove only two facts to determine that you were driving on a suspended license:
- You drove a motor vehicle in California while your driver’s license was suspended or revoked
- You knew that your license was suspended or revoked at the time
You might be wondering how the prosecutor will seek to determine these facts, and there are quite a few ways in which it is possible. Under California law, it is presumed you were aware that you driver’s license was suspended or revoked if the following are true:
- You received a notice from the DMV informing you that your license was suspended or revoked.
- That notice was sent to you at the most recent address for you on file with the DMV or to a more recent address reported by you, the court, or law enforcement agency.
- The notice was not returned to the DMV as being either undeliverable or unclaimed.
In addition, it will also be presumed that you knew your license was suspended or revoked if you were specifically told that it was by a judge at sentencing or if a police officer personally served you with notice of your license being suspended or revoked.
Reinstating your license after a suspension or revocation
It is important to understand that even after the period of suspension or revocation has passed you are still not legally allowed to drive until you have taken the proper steps to reinstating your driving privileges. If you do not take the appropriate steps and choose to drive anyway it is possible that if stopped you will be punished for driving on a suspended or revoked license. In order to reinstate your driving privileges you must first take the proper steps with the DMV and depending on the circumstances of your case you may also need to prove to the court that your probation requirements have been fulfilled. The steps may vary depending on the reason your license was suspended or revoked.
If your license has been suspended or revoked and you have questions regarding the process of reinstating it please contact our offices today at (559) 222-5800 to schedule a free initial consultation and confidentially discuss the details of your case.