I am Accused of Driving on a Suspended License - What Should I Do? - California Vehicle Code Sections 14601
It is a crime to be driving on a suspended driver’s license in California. The consequences for driving on a suspended license can be severe. If you are facing a charge of driving on a suspended license, it is important that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Under California Vehicle Code 14601, it is a misdemeanor to drive a vehicle with the knowledge that your license has been either suspended or revoked. A person’s privilege to drive in the state of California can be suspended or revoked for a number of reasons, such as a DUI arrest, lack of car insurance, or an arrest for an outstanding warrant.
In order to be convicted of driving on a suspended license, the prosecution must prove that the defendant drove a motor vehicle while his/her driving privilege was suspended or revoked, and he/she knew that his/her driving privilege was suspended or revoked. The prosecution can prove that the defendant knew that his/her driving privilege was suspended or revoked by showing that the Department of Motor Vehicles mailed a notice to the defendant notifying him/her that their driving privilege had been suspended or revoked; the notice was sent to the most recent address reported to the department and the notice was not returned to the department as undeliverable or unclaimed.
There are many defenses to driving on a suspended license. One defense is that the defendant was not aware that their license was suspended or revoked. There is a presumption that a defendant is aware of the suspension if he/she received a notice in the mail from DMV; therefore, if DMV never mailed out a notice or there was an error in the processing of the suspension, then the defendant did not receive notice. In addition, another obvious defense is that the defendant was not the person operating the motor vehicle. With the help of an experienced California driving on a suspended license defense attorney, these defenses may get your charges dismissed.