Driving on a Suspended License in California

California Vehicle Code Section 14601.2 makes it a misdemeanor to drive a motor vehicle at a time when that person's driving privilege is suspended as a result of a conviction for DUI, if the person has knowledge of the suspension. The penalty for a first offense includes a minimum of ten days in county jail, plus a requirement that the defendant install in his or her vehicle an ignition interlock device for at least one year. A second offense carries a mandatory minimum thirty days in county jail.

The court does not normally order a license suspension at the time of conviction in a DUI case in California, but informs the defendant that his or her driving privilege will be suspended by the DMV following the conviction. It takes days, weeks or even months for the court to inform the DMV of the conviction and for the DMV to send notice of suspension to the defendant. A defendant does not have knowledge of the suspension until he or she receives notice of the suspension from the DMV.

There is a delay between the date the DMV inputs the suspension in their system and the date the defendant receives notice of the suspension. During this period of time, if a person is pulled over by the police, the suspension will be on the record and the police may cite the driver for a violation of CVC 14601.2. It is a defense to this charge that the defendant had not received notice of the suspension at the time of the traffic stop, and was unaware of it. I have always been able to get the charge dismissed in these circumstances.

If you have been cited for driving on a suspended license in California, please contact Gold & Witham for experienced advice and representation.


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