Driving on a Suspended License
The penalties for driving on a suspended license in California vary depending on the original basis for the suspension. There is a very important difference between driving on a suspended license where the suspension resulted from a DMV hearing for a DUI arrest, and driving on a suspended license where the suspension resulted from a DUI conviction. Where the suspension resulted from a DUI conviction, the Vehicle Code section for driving while suspended is 14601.2. This code section requires a mandatory ten days in county jail and a mandatory one year ignition interlock device requirement. Where the suspension resulted from an APS hearing following a DUI arrest, the relevant Vehicle Code section is 14601.5. This code section does not require mandatory jail time and does not require an ignition interlock device.
This was an issue for my client today in Downey Court. He was charged with Vehicle Code section 14601.2 and the Prosecutor wanted ten days of county jail and an ignition interlock for one year. However, my client had not been convicted of a DUI. His DUI charges were dismissed and he pled to a "Wet Reckless" instead. I was able to convince the prosecutor that the charge should be amended to a 14601.5 instead which kept him out of jail and avoided an IID requirement.
The moral of the story is that you should never assume that the Prosecutor and the Judge know the law. Both the Prosecutor and the Judge in this case had no idea that 14601.2 required proof of conviction of a DUI as opposed to a wet reckless. It makes me wonder how many people have pled guilty to this without an attorney and submitted themselves to jail time and an ignition interlock device requirement unnecessarily.