Driving on a suspended or revoked license is a misdemeanor in California. Not only can such a violation impact a person’s driving privileges, but it can also lead to jail time and steep monetary fines. A person facing these charges will need to seek out the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Vehicle Code 14601.1(a)
California statute VC 14601.1(a) details the elements of driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license. To convict a suspect of this charge, the state must demonstrate that the individual operated a vehicle when they knew that they lost their driving privileges because of a suspension or revocation.
The state does not have to prove actual knowledge but can presume that the defendant knows as long as the state notified the suspect of their license status as required by Section 13106.
Consequences for Violating VC 14106.1(a)
The crime is a misdemeanor, meaning that the sentence will not include more than one year in jail. However, the state can hold a person in jail and charge fines. The maximum sentence is six months in jail and a $1000 fine.
The precise consequences will vary depending on the reason that the suspect lost their license. There are several common reasons that courts revoke or suspend a driver’s license, including the following:
There are other reasons that a driver may lose their license as well. The penalties in those cases are similar to those listed above.
Defending Against Charges for Violating VC 14106.1(a)
Individuals facing charges for violating VC 14106.1(a) may have available defenses. One potential defense would be that the defendant did not know about the suspension on their license. A person only violates this law if they knowingly drive on a suspended license, so lack of knowledge would serve as a valid defense against charges.
It is also possible that the defendant had a license, in which case the charges might be incorrect. If the driver had a license at the time, this is a defense against the charges.
Another possible defense is a necessity. If a driver had a sufficiently good reason to the driver even though they knew that the state suspended their license, then that driver may use this defense. Suppose the driver only got behind the wheel because of a medical emergency and did not have another reasonable option. In that case, they could argue that they had a valid explanation although they committed the crime.
Similar Crimes in California
VC 14106.1(a) only applies to driving on a suspended or revoked license. Other codes apply for other similar crimes, including:
A suspect may face charges for more than one offense at a time.
Getting the Conviction Expunged
It is possible to get charges for violating VC 14106.1(a) expunged. A defendant can talk to an attorney about the process. Completing any probation and jail time will help the defendant convince a judge to expunge the conviction.
Driving-related charges can impact many parts of a person’s life. Fortunately, violations of VC 14106.1(a) do not lead to a loss of gun rights or serious immigration consequences such as deportation or a ban on readmittance.
Still, even minor sentences can impact a person’s life, job, and family. A California criminal defense attorney can help those accused of a crime develop a strategy for defending against these charges and any related violations.