In the state of California it is illegal for an operator of a motor vehicle to drive an automobile while their driver’s license is suspended or revoked. Although this offense is classified as a misdemeanor, the state of California takes it seriously. Possible punishments include spending time in the county jail, paying costly fines, and additional points being taken against your license.
Our California criminal defense attorney recognizes that having a driver’s license is an important privilege and is often a necessity for local residents—particularly to get to and from work. However, if your driver’s licensed has been suspended or revoked it is in your best interest to abide by the law. If you are charged with driving on a suspended license it is important to seek out legal help as soon as possible to see what options are available.
What is California Driving Under Suspension Law?
California Vehicle Code 12500 makes it a criminal offense to operate a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license. Normally this will apply to those who have never been issued an operator’s license from the California Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV). Also, under this law you will face punishment for a misdemeanor if your license has expired and you have failed to renew it. Also, if you lived in a state outside of California and fail to have an otherwise valid licensed transferred in the state, you could face punishment under this statue. If you live in the state of California and wish to drive, you must meet driver’s license requirements in this state and be issued a license to operate a motor vehicle by the DMV.
Further, California Vehicle Code 14601 and related statues applies to those who have been issued a driver’s license but have had their driving privileges suspended or revoked. There are numerous reasons why an individual’s license may have been suspended such as failing to take a breath test, failure to pay child support, underage drinking, driving under the influence or having too many points accumulated against your license.
What are the possible punishments for Driving under Suspension?
First, under California law, it is required that the state prove that you knew your driving privileges were suspended or revoked at the time of your arrest. If the state is able to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, then punishment will depend upon the statue you were charged under. However, your prior driving record is a factor; therefore if you have prior driving under suspension convictions, the penalties are stricter.
Generally, a first offense of driving under suspension could result in you spending time at the county jail for a period for not less than five days or more than six months. You could also receive a fine of not less than three hundred dollars ($300) or more than one thousand dollars ($1,000).
A second conviction within five years of a prior offense could result in imprisonment in the county jail for not less than ten (10) days or more than one year and a fine not less than five hundred dollars ($500) or more than two thousand dollars ($2,000).
Additionally it is important to remember that subsequent convictions of this offense could require you to register as a habitual traffic offender under California. Law What defenses can I assert to fight the charges?
Many people believe that they cannot fight their driving under suspension charge since under the state’s law it is a conclusive presumption that you were aware that your license was suspended at the time of your arrest. This is because the DMV is required to send you notice that your license was suspended for violating a specific law and that it is assumed that you received it. However, our attorney often represents individuals who are victims of identity theft, did not understand the notice, had a justifiable excuse due to an emergency or may have made a mistake.
Regardless, you are entitled to have legal representation to help you defend your case and our attorney will ensure that your rights are protected throughout this process. While some believe that they can fight the charges without the assistance of a lawyer, the truth is that it is often impossible to challenge the state’s evidence against you alone. Our attorney is experienced in handling these types of cases and will present all evidence to the court that supports your legal defense.
Driving Under Suspension Defense at the Law Office of Lauren K. Johnson
The Orange County criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Lauren K. Johnson provides representation to clients who have had their driving privileges suspended or revoked. If you have received a notice from the DMV, it is important that you contact an attorney immediately to help you with this process. Usually, the DMV will give you a short time to appeal your suspension or revocation. Delaying it further will only complicate matters. Please contact our office today or send us a message online to explain your situation to our Orange County criminal law attorney immediately.
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