If you have been charged with a driving on a suspended license in San Diego County, call Ozols Law Firm for a free consultation. We have a proven track record of success and will fight to regain your license so that you can move on with your life.

San Diego Driving on a suspended license Lawyer VC 14601

In order to be convicted of driving on a suspended license (California VC 14601), one must have:

  1. Driven a motor vehicle while their driving privileges were suspended
  2. When they drove they knew that their driving privilege was suspended

Please see: California Criminal Jury Instructions, E. Licensing Offenses, 2220. Driving With Suspended or Revoked Driving Privilege

Driving in San Diego While License is Suspended

This element requires that one actually drove a vehicle and that they had a suspension from a previous event. People often ask, “what if I was sitting in my car, is that enough?” The answer is no, that is not enough.

For example, let’s say Michael had his license suspended from a previous DUI and went out drinking with Betty on a cold night. When Michael got home he realized that he forgot his house key and only brought his car key. He called a roommate who had another house key but they told him it would take them an hour to arrive. If Michael got into his car and started the car to stay warm within that hour, then this would not be considered driving a vehicle.

In California, the standard is “volitional movement” and just sitting in a car while it is running is not enough. Also, if Michael was the passenger in the vehicle and Betty decided to drive around the block and they got pulled over, Michael could not be convicted of this charge.

When they drove their driving privilege was suspended

This element is very subjective because people will always say, “I didn’t even know it was suspended.” We often hear clients tell us that they don’t remember about a ticket they got, they don’t remember not showing up to court and that they didn’t get anything in the mail from the courts or the DMV. To fix this the California Judicial Council has constructed a jury instruction that lets the jurors know what standard there really is to tell whether one “knew” of the suspension or not.

If the prosecutor can prove that the DMV:

  1. Mailed a notice
  2. That it was sent to the most recent address on file, and
  3. That the letter was not returned to the DMV as undeliverable

then the jury MAY, but is not required, to conclude that the driver was on notice.

Again, they even go further and say that even if the court informed the individual that his license was suspended (for example at a guilty plea sentencing on a DUI) then the jury MAY conclude that the defendant is guilty but do not have too.

With such a high beyond a reasonable doubt standard in the courts, it is extremely difficult to prove that one knew their license was suspended. A skilled criminal attorney in San Diego would not back down and would set a case like this for trial to prove to the DA and the judge that just because they believed the defendant knew of the violation, the defendant likely did not know.

VC 14601.1Although VC 14601 governs driving on a suspended license there are also other codes that specifically address exactly what the prosecutor is alleging the driver did. VC 14601.1 is a charge that is listed as more of a general term when a license has been suspended for any reason whatsoever.

VC 14601.2

This code is the most serious offense and it punishes people when their license has been suspended by a DUI. This code usually entails a more serious punishment than the rest and the rationale behind that is that these drivers have already gone through a court process and have been instructed by their attorney and the judge to not drive and not re offend.

VC 14601.3

This code is one that regards an individual who keeps committing multiple traffic offenses or has 3 convictions that are 2 point driving offenses. At this point they are labeled a habitual traffic offender and have continued to drive.

VC 14601.5

Lastly 14601.5 is the code that encompasses when a license has been suspended for a specific reason for example a test refusal or driving under the age of 21.

Penalties for Driving on a Suspended License in San Diego

In San Diego the penalties range from 5 days in jail to 6 months in jail for driving on a suspended license. A skilled criminal defense attorney can usually work with the prosecutor to get this charge dismissed, reduced, or find an alternative to custody.

What do I do if my license is suspended for a traffic violation in San Diego?

Many people get their licenses suspended by the DMV and don’t know why. This happens because they set the case for trial and then they never show up or they just fail to pay any fines on the ticket. Unfortunately that will not only get you a suspend license but in about a year it can increase your fines from around $200 to around $1500. This is because when a fine is not paid it goes to what is called “enhanced collections.” Enhanced collections is the agency that works with the courts to take your money. They charge an extremely large amount of interest in order for one to be motivated to pay and get their license back.

What most people don’t know is that an attorney can go and re-add your case on to the court calendar and talk to the judge about these additional fines. A judge is the one that sent the case to enhanced collections and a judge is also the one that can waive all the additional fees. If done properly for an affordable fee an attorney can go into court, ask the judge to waive all of your additional fines saving you $1000-$2000.

If your license has been suspended call criminal defense attorney Alex Ozols today for a free consultation at (619) 288-8357.