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Driving on Suspended License


The penalties for driving on a suspended license in California vary depending on the original and underlying reason for the suspension. When the suspension was imposed by the DMV following a conviction for a DUI, the penalties are more severe than in other circumstances. If the suspension was imposed following a DUI conviction, Vehicle Code Section 14601.2 requires a mandatory minimum jail sentence of ten days. For a second offense in five years, the minimum is thirty days. The maximum jail sentence is six months. In addition, the court is also required to impose as a condition of probation that the defendant install in his or her vehicle an ignition interlock device. Driving on a suspended license also leads to two penalty points on the DMV record. This can lead to a six month negligent operator suspension as the original DUI conviction also resulted in two penalty points.

In circumstances where the defendant is able to re-instate his or her privilege to drive prior to the court date for the 14601.2 citation, some judges or prosecutors are willing to accept a plea to a violation of Vehicle Code Section 12500 instead (driving without a vaild license). The advantage of this is that there is no mandatory jail time, no IID requirement, and no additional penalty points on the DMV record. In addition, a 12500 VC violation may be an infraction instead of a misdemeanor. For this reason, every effort should be made to re-instate the defendant's privilege to drive prior to the court date.

If you have any questions concerning the penalties and DMV ramifications for driving on a suspended license in California, please contact Los Angeles DUI and DMV lawyers Gold & Witham for a free case evaluation.