Driving on a DUI suspended license in California is a common traffic offense. A violation could attract harsh sentencing. Upon conviction, the judge could fine you, sentence you to probation, jail, or have a criminal record.
When facing an arrest for driving with a DUI license suspension charge, you should consider hiring an experienced DUI attorney. A DUI attorney will use several legal tactics to ensure you receive a lesser sentence.
If you are a first-time offender in California, the court fines you, sentences you to jail, and suspends your driving license. You may end up having points added to your DMV record.
Driving with a suspended license is a severe offense, and when you are stopped, the police may arrest you, impound your car, and tow it at your cost.
Understanding Driving With A DUI License Suspension Charges
Under California law, driving with a DUI license suspension charges can be categorized into two offenses:
- Driving on a suspended or revoked license.
However, you can face charges for committing these two offenses at the same time. If this is your situation, you could face total penalties for both crimes. Additionally, if you have a prior record of DUI, your penalties will be harsher.
Furthermore, you could end up with an enhanced criminal sentence under California VC 14601.2 for driving on a suspended license. This law states that:
- You should not drive a car when your driving privileges have been revoked or suspended.
- You should not drive a vehicle when the law has suspended your license due to a felony DUI conviction under California VC 23153 or a misdemeanor DUI conviction under VC 23152.
If the police arrest you for driving under the influence, the DMV can revoke or suspend your driver's license. The DMV can suspend your driver's license if you fail to submit the necessary tests for substance abuse. When law enforcement requests you to submit to a breathalyzer to determine the level of alcohol concentration in your bloodstream, it would be prudent to do so. If you fail to do so, it could result in a more extended suspension period for your driver's license.
It would be best if you understood that the police would confiscate your driver's license during your DUI arrest. Once they confiscate your license, they will issue you a pink sheet that serves as a Notice of Suspension and will act as your temporary driver's license for the next 30 days. Please ensure you read that form carefully and understand it as it advises you on your next steps, like contacting the DMV to request a hearing. Failure to do this could lead to the suspension of your license for 180 days and sometimes even longer.
Misdemeanor Charges for a DUI With a Revoked or Suspended Driver's License
Suppose the law convicts you of a misdemeanor offense. In that case, you will immediately feel the repercussions, as the police may impound your car for up to a month at your cost. That's not all, as your consequences may worsen significantly if the root cause of your suspension is DUI.
A misdemeanor DUI charge could result in enhanced penalties. Driving with a revoked or suspended license will have lower sentencing under California VC 14601.1, but this sentencing could change under VC 14601.2, which leads to mandatory sentences. Under VC 14601.2, you can not avoid sanctions, making it imperative to consult with a DUI attorney immediately if you face these charges.
Penalties For Driving With A DUI License Suspension in Los Angeles
You will face charges for driving with a suspended license for DUI under California VC 14601.2. If you are facing a violation of VC 14601.2 charges, a first-time conviction could result in:
- Serving a mandatory jail term of ten to 180 days in county jail.
- Being fined not below $300 and not over $1,000.
- Informal or summary probation ranges from one to five years.
- Earning two DMV points on your driving record.
- Community service.
- Gaining a misdemeanor criminal record.
- Installing an IID (an ignition interlock device) in your motor vehicle.
If you are facing charges for driving with a suspended license for DUI, and you have had a previous violation of the same within the last five years, then a current conviction could lead to :
- Serving a jail term of not over one year.
- Community service.
- Being posted to summary probation between one and five years.
- Being fined between $500 and $2,000 adds court assessment charges.
What is a Priorable Criminal Offense?
Like petty theft, California treats driving on a revoked or suspended license or DUI as a priorable offense. A priorable violation means the court can enhance your sentence if you have a history of driving on a revoked or suspended license or a DUI record. For example, if the court convicts you of a second DUI offense, your sentence could result in:
- Being fined not more than $2,500.
- Serving time in jail for one year.
If you are facing a second offense of driving on a revoked or suspended license, your conviction could result in the following:
- Being fined not over $2,000.
- Serving a one-year jail term.
Factors Affecting the Severity of Your Case
When facing charges for DUI with a revoked or suspended license or if you have a record of driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances, your sentencing will be harsher. However, these are not the only deciding factors as there may be other variables like:
- If you were driving on a fully suspended license.
- Whether you violated the terms of a reinstated license.
- The type of your driving license.
- What you were doing when the law enforcement officer stopped you.
- Other circumstances include being involved in a car accident during your arrest.
- If you are a habitual traffic crime offender.
Probation Violation of DUI and Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License
If the court convicts you of a DUI in California and your sentencing leads to probation, one of the probation terms and conditions involves obeying the law. When you violate California VC 14601.2 before the completion of your probation, you will have, in essence, violated your probation.
Violating your probation terms could lead to enhanced penalties, serving long jail terms, and hefty fines. Additionally, you will earn two DMV points against your record. Adding these two DMV points could lead to other driving license charges from the DMV, like the Negligent Operator.
It would be best if you were careful not to violate the terms of your conviction, as it could negatively affect your expungement petition later after you are done with your probation. The California court system keeps DUI charge records for ten years, which are priorable. On the other hand, the state keeps your driving on a revoked or suspended license record for five years.
Facing Multiple Traffic Violation Charges In Los Angeles
You could simultaneously face charges for DUI and driving on a revoked or suspended license. The California court system treats both accounts separately; one charge can not cancel the other. Facing driving with a DUI license suspension charge is a serious matter that could lead to a misdemeanor conviction.
You could sometimes lose your parole or probation, ensuring you serve time in jail. Additionally, driving with a DUI license suspension will lead to an extension of the suspension period. Due to the seriousness of these charges, you should consult a DUI attorney immediately after law enforcement agents arrest you. Your attorney will assess your charges and advise you accordingly.
The California Court System's Take On Driving With a DUI License Suspension
Understanding how the California court system views driving with a DUI license suspension is crucial while preparing your defense. The law views and deals with both offenses separately. Driving on a suspended license and DUI has maximum and minimum penalties.
The prosecution will aim to have you face maximum penalties, but the judge can choose which sentence serves your circumstances better. A judge can be lenient or very severe in their judgment, which will solely depend on your charge's circumstances.
Generally, no judge will favor driving on a suspended license or a DUI charge. This is especially true if you face a DUI charge involving a suspended license. Most judges will view this as a breach or abuse of trust.
Viewing your behavior as a breach of trust means that a judge may consider your behavior both disrespectful and illegal. The court will view your case as an example of someone flouting the law, which could lead to harsher sentencing. Therefore, you should not expect the court to be too lenient on your behavior, which calls for a top-notch defense.
Possible Defenses to Driving With a DUI License Suspension
You were Unaware of Your License Suspension
You could use this defense if you were unaware of your license suspension. For a conviction against driving on a suspended or revoked license, the prosecution has to prove that you knew your license was revoked or suspended. The court cannot find you guilty if you were unaware of the suspension.
An excellent defense attorney will review and assess your case documents and check if the court or DMV informed you about your license suspension. Your lawyer could use the following documents to determine if you were aware of your license suspension:
- Documents from the court or the police informing you of the license revocation or suspension.
- A DMV letter that tells you of the license suspension. Your lawyer will check if the DMV sent the letter using your correct address.
If your attorney can prove to the court a lack of evidence, they will be able to prove that you did not know of your license revocation or suspension. An experienced attorney can pull this off as most DMV and court records are, in most cases, unclear.
You should ensure that you hire a defense attorney experienced in DUI and driving with suspended license charges, as these charges carry severe sentencing. However, proving to the court that you were unaware of license suspension will be complicated, primarily due to a DUI conviction.
Violation of Your Constitutional Rights
If law enforcement agents violated your rights during the stop and arrest, you could have your legal team use this defense to ensure the court dismisses or throws the charges against you. You should comply with the police orders during your arrest and if you feel they are violating your constitutional rights, contact your attorney immediately.
What Will Happen If You Are Unable To Prove Your Innocence
If you cannot prove your innocence or successfully plead not guilty, you should not despair, as all is not lost. The prosecution could offer you a plea bargain where you would plead guilty and obtain a lesser sentence.
For example, you may receive probation instead of serving jail time or even be fined. Sometimes you may end up having your license suspension period shortened. But before deciding to take on a plea bargain, ensure you first discuss it with your DUI attorney.
Contact an Experienced DUI Attorney Near Me
You do not have to worry if you are facing charges for driving with a DUI suspended license in Los Angeles. Regardless of the charges, whether misdemeanor or felony, the first step is to seek the services of an experienced DUI attorney.
Although driving with a DUI suspended license may not seem like a severe offense, its penalties and the repercussions are real, and you will feel them later on. However, you can mitigate these adverse effects by hiring a qualified attorney.
At Jonathan Franklin DUI Attorney, we work hard and build several legal and defense strategies to ensure the court reduces or dismisses your charges. Call us now at 323-464-6700, and we will review your case and advise you on the best way to proceed.