You require a driver's license to drive yourself to work, shopping, take your children to school and carry out other activities that require driving. That means without a driver's license, your life can be altered severely. When your license is confiscated by a police officer or California highway patrol officer in Los Angeles, you have ten days to request a hearing to contest a possible suspension of your driver’s license. This is where the Jonathan Franklin DUI Attorney comes in; you can contact us to conduct a thorough examination of your case, file for a DMV hearing, and even represent you in the hearing.
What is Driver's License Suspension?
According to California Vehicle Code 13102, a driver's license suspension happens when your driving privileges are withdrawn temporarily. Once the no-driving period elapses, you can qualify for reinstatement of the driver's license. There are many circumstances that can cause the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to suspend your privilege of driving any motor vehicle in California. These circumstances or cases are explained below, together with the possible periods of license suspension.
A first driving under the influence of alcohol conviction is punishable by suspension of your license for six months
DUI of illegal drugs, marijuana or prescription drugs could result in a 6-month suspension
Your license could be suspended for up to four years for not having proof of car insurance after being involved in an accident
Failure to complete a chemical test, which could be urine, blood or breath test, could result in a one-year suspension
Underage driving is punishable by a one-year license suspension or the minor will have to wait till they turn eighteen years of age
Having many points in your driving record could lead to a six-month suspension
The California Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend your drivers' license for one year if you are convicted with vandalizing another person's property
Failing to pay fine or showing up in court
Failure to pay child support (California Family Code Section 17520) could result in your driver's license suspension until you clear the whole amount or enter into a payment plan with the child support authority near you
Evading a law enforcement officer not only attracts a driver's license suspension but also a compulsory one year sentence
Understanding the Difference Between License Suspension and Revocation
It's important to understand the difference between these two terms. It will help you know how to seek help if you find yourself in trouble for violating certain traffic laws. The best way to differentiate the two is to know that a suspended driver's license is temporary while a revoked driver's license is forever.
Having a license suspended means your driver's license is out of service for a given time. It is also illegal to drive any motor vehicle on a suspended license.
A revoked license, on the other hand, means your driver's license has been nullified and can't be reinstated. To get a new driver’s license, you need to request the California DMV for approval, pay your driving civil penalties, and undergo California licensing process that entails both a road test and a written test. If you pass the licensing process, you are given a new license (the old license can't be reinstated).
Common reasons that could result in your California driver's license being revocated include:
Operating a vehicle without insurance
Failing a California Department of Motor Vehicles road test
Being accused of a severe traffic crime
Making a false statement on your vehicle registration application form
Your license could be revoked permanently as a result of age, medical conditions, and committing several driving offenses
How to Get a Driver's License Reinstated in California
Unless your driver's license was revoked, you should not worry. You will be in a position to get your license back if you comply with all the terms of your license suspension as well as the required suspension period has passed. Both the length of license suspension and reinstatement procedures depend mainly on why your privileges to drive were withdrawn. Here are steps you need to take to regain driving privileges:
Step 1: Make sure you understand your case
Contact the California DMV and ask them to review your case. Make sure you provide them with any information mailed to you by DMV and your previous license number. Unless your license has been permanently revoked, the state agency should be able to tell you what terms and conditions you need to meet.
Step 2: Meet all the conditions for your driver's license suspension
Normally, if your driver's license has been suspended, you are required to pay fines to both the court and the DMV. You should also file a proof of financial responsibility with the California Department of Motor Vehicles as evidence that you have the required insurance. If you are charged with driving under the influence, you need to have completed alcohol classes and possible imprisonment.
If the driver's license was put on hold due to mental or physical conditions, you should submit to the DMV a medical evaluation that states your health condition does not affect your capability to operate a vehicle safely.
Other requirements include installing an ignition interlock device (IID). An ignition interlock device is a mini-breathalyzer gadget that stops a person from driving a vehicle until they provide a breath sample that is free from alcohol.
Step 3: Prepare and submit all the necessary documents and payments
Ensure you have copies of the required documents as well as records of all payments made. The standard administration fee is $55. It is calculated when your license is suspended for failing to pay a traffic citation or appearing in court. You can pay reissue charges in person at the DMV office using a debit card, check, money order or cash. Payments made by money order or check can also be mailed to your local DMV office.
Remember to submit the documents and proof of payment to DMV for approval.
Restricted Driver's License
A restricted driver's license is an alternative option for drivers whose driving privileges have been withdrawn for a while. People with restricted licensed are limited to when and where they can operate a car. You are allowed to drive yourself to work, court and counseling appointments, take your dependents to hospital or school. Getting back these limited privileges assists you to keep employment as well as avoid straining your relationship with your loved ones.
You may also be required to have an IID installed on your car.
How to Acquire a California's Restricted License
Restricted license eligibility hinges on your age during your arrest, if you refused to complete chemical testing during your arrest, and your previous DUI criminal record. Below are steps you need to follow to get a restricted license as you serve your suspension:
Enroll in a certified driving under the influence offender school. The California DMV will need evidence of enrolment certificate from the program (form DL107). The duration you spent on the program depends on whether you're a first driving under the influence offender or have prior DUI convictions. Typically, a first-time conviction takes three months while a several convictions program lasts eighteen months
Get an SR-22 Form from an insurance company
Then apply for a restricted driver's license with DMV office. The restricted license goes for $125. Before the state agency in question approves the application, they will ensure you have a proof of insurance as well as enrolled in a certified alcohol school.
Driving on a Suspended Driver's License
Under Vehicle Code 14601, it is unlawful to drive a motor vehicle with a suspended license. To be found guilty, the prosecutor must prove that:
You drove the vehicle while your license was suspended, and
You knew your license had been suspended at the time of the arrest.
It is assumed by the law that the defendant knew their driving privileges had been withdrawn if:
The DMV sent the defendant a mail notifying them that their license has been suspected,
That mail was sent to the defendant's current address reported by them to the DMV, police or the court, or
The notice wasn't returned to the California DMV as unclaimed or undeliverable.
It is also presumed you knew your license had been suspended if one of the following statements is true:
A law enforcement officer served you with a suspension notice and seized your license when you were arrested;
You were informed by a judge of the license suspension at the time they sentenced you for the crime that led to the suspension.
It is up to you and your criminal defense lawyer to challenge this assumption in order to prove your innocence.
Penalties for Driving on a Suspended License
Under California Vehicle Code 14601, driving on a suspended license is a misdemeanor. It carries a substantial fine, a sentence in California county jail or both. Nevertheless, the exact punishment depends on the reason why your license was suspended, your driving history and whether you have a previous conviction for driving with a California suspended driver's license.
Below is a summary of potential penalties for first-time offenders under Vehicle Code 14601 VC statutes in California:
Driver's license suspended for reckless driving, mental or physical condition or negligent operator (Vehicle Code Section 14601) is punishable by a fine that ranges between $300 and $ 1,000 and five days to 6 months sentence in a county jail
Driving on a license suspended for general reasons (Vehicle Code Section 14601.1) carries a fine that is between $300 and $1,000 and a maximum 6-month sentence in a county jail
Violation of Vehicle Code Section 14601.2 (a driver's license that was suspended for DUI) attracts ten days to a six-month jail term and a fine that ranges between $300 and $1,000. You may also be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle
If you are habitual traffic offender and you are driving on a suspended license (Vehicle Code Section 14601.3), you risk serving a 30-day sentence in a county jail or paying a maximum fine of $1,000
Breaking Vehicle Code Section 14601.5 (license suspended for refusing to complete a chemical test) is punishable for a maximum of $1,000 and serving time in a county jail for six months
It is worth noting that potential fines and jail time for second and subsequent driving on suspended license convictions within a period of five (5) to seven (7) years are more serious than those in the summary above.
How to Fight Driving on a Suspended Driver's License Charges
Lack of knowledge
Driving on a suspended driver's license charges revolve around knowledge of the suspension from the defendant. Your criminal defense attorney could argue your suspension notice was sent to your previous address, hence, got lost. Or maybe you were not told of your license suspension by the police or a judge.
You were using a restricted license
Operating your vehicle within the scope of your restricted license is a valid defense for fighting Vehicle Code 14601 VC charges. It could also result in the dismissal of the charges.
The license suspension was invalid
An experienced criminal defense attorney should be able to argue that there were mistakes in the evidence presented in your prior conviction which resulted in your driver's license being suspended.
Contact a Driver's License Suspension Attorney Near Me
While you can avoid a possible driver’s license suspension if you are arrested for a DUI offense in Los Angeles, you need to follow strict procedures for this process to be a success. These include requesting a DMV hearing within ten days and possibly having an experienced attorney to represent you in the hearing. Whenever you need an experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney to represent you in the DMV license suspension hearing, you can rely on Jonathan Franklin DUI Attorney for help. Even if the DMV suspends your license, we’ll still help you get a restricted license to ensure your life remains normal, and we can fight for a possible reduction of the suspension period. Call 323-464-6700 to let us understand your case today!