Driving on a Suspended License in California

Vehicle Code 14601 VC

California Vehicle Code 14601 and its related sections make it a crime to drive when you know that your driver's license has been suspended or revoked.1

The reasons for the suspension or revocation may include (but are not limited to):

  • Being declared a negligent operator for too many points on your license,2
  • A mental or physical disability,3 and/or
  • A conviction for DUI.4
Penalties

California driving on a suspended license offenses are misdemeanor crimes, subjecting you to possible county jail time and substantial fines.5

The crime of driving with a suspended or revoked driving privilege in California is treated differently depending on why your license was suspended or revoked in the first place. The penalty varies based on this initial reason.

Legal defenses

But no matter why your driver's license was initially suspended or revoked...you are not guilty of driving on a suspended license under Vehicle Code 14601 VC and its related sections unless a prosecutor can prove that you knew your license was suspended or revoked.6

This knowledge requirement is a key element of the crime . . . and it can be difficult for the prosecutor to prove. A seasoned California criminal defense attorney may be able to help you get your driving on a suspended license charge reduced or even dismissed by asserting the legal defense of "lack of knowledge."

Alternatively, you may be able to argue that the original suspension/revocation of your license was invalid...or that you had the right to drive under a restricted license.

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In order to help you understand California's driving laws...specifically as they relate to Vehicle Code 14601 VC driving on a suspended or revoked driver's license...our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys will address the following:

1. Legal Definition of Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License in California
2. California Statutes on Driving with Privileges Suspended or Revoked

2.1. Vehicle Code 14601(a) VC - License Suspended / Revoked for Specific Offenses

2.2. Vehicle Code 14601.1(a) VC - License Revoked / Suspended for GeneralOffenses

2.3. Vehicle Code 14601.2(a) VC - License Revoked / Suspended for DUI

2.4. Vehicle Code 14601.3(a) VC - Habitual Traffic Offenders

2.5. Vehicle Code 14601.5(a) VC - Driver's License Suspensions / Revocations inGeneral

3. Penalties for Vehicle Code 14601 VC (Driving with a Suspended License) Offenses
4. Legal Defenses for Vehicle Code 14601 VC Charges
5. Driving on a Suspended / Revoked License and Related Offenses

5.1. Vehicle Code 12500 VC Driving Without a License

5.2. California DMV Hearings

If, after reading this article, you have additional questions, we invite you to contact us.

You may also find helpful information in our related articles on The "Knowledge" and "Notice" Requirements for California Vehicle Code 14601 VC Driving on a Suspended License; Drivers License Suspensions Due to Physical or Mental Conditions; California Negligent Operator Defense; California "Dry Reckless" As a Plea Bargain in DUI Cases; California "Wet Reckless" As a Plea Bargain in DUI Cases; California DUI Defense Attorneys; California "Driving Under the Influence" Laws (Vehicle Code 23152(a) VC); Driving with a Blood Alcohol Content of .08 or Greater (Vehicle Code 23152(b) VC); California's "Driving Under the Influence of Drugs" Laws; Vehicle Code 23109 VC Exhibition of Speed; "Chemical Test Refusals" in California DUI Cases; California DUIs While Under 21; Probation for a California DUI; Legal Definition of a Misdemeanor in California Law; Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs) Under California DUI Law; Penalties, Punishment & Sentencing for California Vehicle Code 14601 (Driving with a Suspended License); Common Legal Defenses to California Crimes; California Court-Ordered DUI School; Legal Definition of an Infraction in California Law; California Law on Driving Without a License Under Vehicle Code 12500 VC; and California DMV Hearings.

1. Legal Definition of Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License in California

The legal definition of driving on a suspended or revoked license in California basically revolves around two main facts (known as "elements of the crime"). These are the only two facts that a prosecutor must prove in order for you to be criminally liable for a violation of California Vehicle Code 14601, 14601.1, 14601.2 or 14601.5.

The elements of the California crime of driving on a suspended privilege are:

  1. You drove a motor vehicle while your California driver's license was suspended or revoked, and
  2. You knew your California driving privileges were suspended or revoked at the time.7

Since the first fact is pretty straightforward, we'll focus on the second.

Proving "knowledge" under California Vehicle Code 14601 VC

There are several ways that prosecutors can prove that you "knew" your license was revoked or suspended...and just as many ways for a defense attorney who specializes in California driving laws to rebut this claim.

California driving law presumes that you had knowledge of your driver's license suspension or revocation if ALL of the following three things are true:

  1. The California DMV mailed you a notice telling you that your license had been suspended or revoked,
  2. That notice was sent to the most recent address reported by you to the DMV, or any more recent address reported by you, a court, or a law enforcement agency, AND
  3. The notice was not returned to the DMV as undeliverable or unclaimed.8
Example: Helen is a seventy-year-old woman with a mental condition that her children fear will affect her ability to drive safely. Her children and doctor contact the DMV and arrange to have her driving privileges revoked.
The DMV sends a notice of the suspension to the address where Helen last registered her car. But she has moved...the notice is returned to the DMV as undeliverable.
If Helen is arrested for driving with a revoked license, there will NOT be a presumption that she knew her license was revoked . . . because the DMV notice had been returned to the DMV.
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In addition, there will be a presumption that you knew your driving privileges were suspended or revoked if either of the following is true:

  1. A police officer personally served you with a notice of the suspension or revocation . . . and confiscated your license if possible . . . when you were arrested for DUI (or any other violation leading to suspension), OR
  2. A judge informed you of the suspension / revocation at the time s/he sentenced you for one of the violations that results in a suspension / revocation.9

But note that...even if one of these things is true...that is not conclusive proof that you knew about the suspension or revocation. Instead, this just creates a presumption that you had knowledge. If this presumption is created, the jury may conclude that you had knowledge . . . but they don't have to.

It is therefore up to you and your California criminal defense attorney to challenge that presumption in order to establish your innocence.10

Example: Let's return to the example of Helen, above. Let's say that the DMV notice that her license was revoked was sent to her old address...but the new residents just threw it away, and it was never returned to the DMV as undeliverable. There will now be a presumption that Helen did know about her license being revoked.
But the presumption is not the end of the story. Helen and her attorney can still point to the facts that she had moved and had not been receiving forwarded mail. In this way, they may be able to show that she didn't actually know about the revocation and so is not guilty of driving on a suspended license.

For a more in-depth analysis of how these presumptions are actually applied, please visit our page on the "knowledge" and "notice" requirements for California Vehicle Code 14601 VC driving on a suspended license.

Reinstating your driving privilege after a suspension

It is important to understand that even after your suspension "expires" . . . you are still not allowed to drive until you take affirmative steps to have your driving privilege reinstated.

This means that if, for example, you were given a one-year suspension...and then drove once that suspension expired...you could still be prosecuted for driving on a suspended license unless:

  1. you took the proper steps with the DMV to regain your driving privilege, or
  2. you proved to the court that you completed all of your probation requirements.

The specific steps and requirements for reinstating your license vary depending on the reason for the suspension.11

2. California Statutes on Driving with Privileges Suspended or Revoked

As we discussed in Section 1 above, having a suspended license in the first place is an element of the legal definition of driving on a suspended license offenses.

Generally speaking, the different California statutes on driving with a suspended/revoked license cover the different reasons why the defendant's license was suspended in the first place. As we discuss in Section 3, the penalties will depend on what these reasons are.

2.1. Vehicle Code 14601(a) VC - License Suspended / Revoked for
Specific Offenses

One form of driving on a suspended license is covered under California Vehicle Code 14601(a) VC. This California driving with a suspended license statute forbids you from driving a car, motorcycle, or other vehicle when you know that the DMV has suspended or revoked your California driver's license due to any of the following:

  1. reckless driving,
  2. alcohol and/or drug abuse,
  3. a physical or mental condition that prevents you from driving safely, or
  4. being declared a "negligent" operator or "incompetent" operator.12
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Of the above reasons for having your license suspended, the most common is probably reckless driving. This can include either a so-called California dry reckless or a California wet reckless...both of which are common charge reductions from a California DUI charge.

Example: Bill is arrested for DUI after a New Year's party. He has no prior criminal record and hires a good lawyer. With the lawyer's help, Bill has his DUI charge reduced to a California "dry reckless" reckless driving charge . . . to which he pleads guilty.
But unfortunately Bill's license is suspended in connection with his reckless driving plea. He drives anyway to get to his job...and when he is pulled over for speeding, he is charged with driving on a suspended license under Vehicle Code 14601 VC.

2.2. Vehicle Code 14601.1(a) VC - License Revoked / Suspended for
GeneralOffenses

The next California "driving with a suspended license" statute is Vehicle Code 14601.1(a).

This one is the "catch-all" law that makes it illegal for you to drive when you know that the DMV has suspended or revoked your license for any reason...even one that isn't mentioned in the other Vehicle Code sections.13

2.3. Vehicle Code 14601.2(a) VC - License Revoked / Suspended for DUI

California Vehicle Code section 14601.2 (a) punishes you for driving if you knew your license was revoked or suspended because of a DUI conviction. This is the most serious of the Vehicle Code 14601 violations.14

If you are arrested for California DUI, fighting the charges with the help of a DUI defense attorney is usually your best option. But if you pled guilty...or were found guilty anyway...and face a license suspension or revocation, you then face especially harsh penalties if you are caught and charged with driving with a suspended license.

The crime of driving with a suspended/revoked privilege because of DUI covers all of

  1. license suspensions under California's "driving under the influence" law (Vehicle Code 23152(a) VC),
  2. license suspensions for driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 or greater (Vehicle Code 23152(b) VC),
  3. license suspensions under California's "driving under the influence of drugs" laws, and
  4. license suspensions for under Vehicle Code 23153 VC DUI causing injury.15

2.4. Vehicle Code 14601.3(a) VC - Habitual Traffic Offenders

You can be convicted under California Vehicle Code 14601.3(a) VC ...and declared a "habitual traffic offender"...if

  1. your California license was suspended or revoked,
  2. during a twelve (12) -month period when
  3. you were convicted of or involved in any combination of the offenses / accidents below:

    • two or more serious driving-related crimes such as
    • three (3) or more "general" moving violations (speeding, for example), or
    • three (3) or more accidents where someone was injured and/or the property damage totaled at least seven hundred fifty dollars ($750).18
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So, in other words, California Vehicle Code 14601.3(a) VC prohibits you not just from driving on a suspended or revoked license...but also from accumulating a history of driving problems while your driving privileges are suspended or revoked.

2.5. Vehicle Code 14601.5(a) VC - Driver's License Suspensions / Revocations in General

California Vehicle Code 14601.5 (a) VC makes it a crime to drive when you know your California driver's license has been suspended or revoked due to any of the following:

  1. a so-called "chemical test refusal" after a California DUI arrest (that is, refusing to submit to a DUI chemical blood, breath, or urine test),
  2. suffering a California DUI while under 21 where you either:

    a. refused to submit to a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) test, or
    (b) had a DUI blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.01% or greater,

  3. refusing to submit to a PAS (or other chemical test if a preliminary alcohol screening device was unavailable) when you were suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol while on probation for drunk driving,
  4. driving with a BAC of 0.01% or greater while on probation for a probation for a California DUI,
  5. driving with a BAC of 0.08% or greater in violation of Vehicle Code 23152(b), or
  6. driving with a BAC of 0.04% or greater while you were driving a vehicle that required you to have a commercial license.19
3. Penalties for Vehicle Code 14601 VC (Driving with a Suspended License) Offenses

Driving with a suspended license in California is always a misdemeanor offense.20 This means that the potential penalties include a fine, time in county jail, or both...but NOT time served in California state prison.

However, the exact penalties, punishment, and sentencing for California driving with a suspended / revoked license vary depending on

  1. the reason your license was suspended,
  2. whether you suffered prior convictions for driving with a suspended license, and
  3. your driving history (which includes out-of-state convictions for driving-related offenses).

The following chart summarizes the potential jail time and fines for first offenders under each of the California "driving on a suspended license" statutes.

However, the penalties for second and subsequent Vehicle Code 14601 VC convictions will be more severe than those in the chart.31

This is because driving on a suspended license...under all Vehicle Code 14601 sections...is a priorable misdemeanor offense. "Priorable" means that your penalty necessarily increases with the second...and each subsequent...conviction within a five-to-seven year period.

Also, if you are convicted under Vehicle Code 14601.2 (driving on a suspended license for DUI), you may be required to install a California ignition interlock device (also known as an "IID") on your car.32 An IID is a mini-breathalyzer instrument that prevents you from operating your car until you provide an alcohol-free breath sample.

The above is a very rough summary of the types of penalties actually imposed in connection with driving on a suspended license charges. For a more detailed look at potential penalties, please see our page on Penalties, Punishment & Sentencing for California Vehicle Code 14601 (Driving with a Suspended License).

4. Legal Defenses for Vehicle Code 14601
VC Charges

There are a variety of legal defenses to crimes in California that a criminal defense attorney who specializes in driving offenses could argue on your behalf. Below is a sample of some of the most common defenses for fighting charges of driving with a suspended license.

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Lack of Knowledge

In order to prove a California Vehicle Code violation for driving on a revoked or suspended license, the state must prove not just that your license was suspended...but also that you knew it was suspended.33

Therefore, Vehicle Code 14601 cases often revolve around the key fact of knowledge . . . for both prosecutors and defense attorneys.

Maybe your notice of the suspension / revocation was mailed . . . but the notice went to an old address or got lost. Maybe you were never actually told of your suspension by a judge or other law enforcement officer. These are the types of defenses that seasoned California criminal defense lawyers know how to assert.

You were driving on a "restricted" California driver's license

"Restricted" driving privileges are sometimes available to those who present a "critical need" to drive....even when their license has been suspended.34 If a restricted license is granted, you will be able to drive

IF you were driving within the scope of your restricted California driver's license, that may be raised as a valid defense to driving on a suspended license charges...and may lead to a dismissal of those charges.

However, this defense may only apply to California Vehicle Code 14601.2 VC (driving on a suspended license for DUI) and 14601.5 VC (driving on a suspended license for other offenses) charges.36

Your California driver's license suspension / revocation was invalid

It could be the case that your driver's license suspension or revocation was unlawful to begin with. There could have been errors in evidence from your previous convictions which led to your license being revoked or suspended.

When this is the case, you can fight to have your California Vehicle Code 14601 driving with a license suspension / revocation charges dismissed.

Plea bargains and dismissals

In practice, prosecutors are often willing to reduce California Vehicle Code 14601 driving on suspended license cases to either

And, as Burbank criminal and DUI defense attorney John Murray37 explains:

"In some cases prosecutors...who would prefer to save their time and resources for more serious offenses...may be willing to dismiss driving on a suspended/revoked privilege charges altogether. This is especially true if you have little or no criminal history and take steps to get your driver's license reinstated prior to the resolution of your case. Whenever I have a client charged with a 14601 VC violation, I always try to stay the proceedings long enough to allow my client to clear up the suspension / revocation so that we can favorably resolve the case."
5. Driving on a Suspended / Revoked License and Related Offenses

5.1. Vehicle Code 12500 VC Driving Without a License

Driving without a license under Vehicle Code 12500 VC is related to...but less serious than...the offense of driving with a suspended or revoked license under Vehicle Code 14601 VC.

To be charged under Vehicle Code 12500 VC, you just need to be caught driving a motor vehicle without a valid license. It does not matter whether you knew you were unlicensed...or why you lacked a license.38

Example: Trevor is from Nevada but attends college in California. His Nevada driver's license expires because his parents did not send him the renewal form.
While driving his roommate's car in California, Trevor is pulled over for rolling through a stop sign. When he presents his license to the officer, he realizes it has expired.
Trevor may be charged with driving without a license under Vehicle Code 12500 VC.

Driving without a license in California may be charged as either a misdemeanor or an infraction . . . as the prosecutor chooses.39 If it is a first offense and you have a fairly clean driving record, odds are that it will be charged as (or ultimately reduced to) an infraction.

5.2. California DMV Hearings

An even better option than fighting criminal charges related to driving on a suspended or revoked license . . . is avoiding them altogether. This can be done by fighting the suspension or revocation of your license in the first place.

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If you were recently notified by the DMV that it intends to suspend or revoke your license because of

  • alleged negligent operation,
  • an alleged physical and/or mental issue, or
  • a DUI conviction,

it is worth your while to contact an attorney who has experience with California DMV hearings.  That is because everyone is entitled to a hearing before the DMV before they can have their driving privileges taken away.

But you must act quickly...you only have ten days to request a hearing once the DMV notifies you about the suspension / revocation.

Call Us for Help...
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If you or loved one is charged with Vehicle Code 14601 driving on a suspended license and you are looking to hire an attorney for representation, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group. We can provide a free consultation in office or by phone. We have local offices in Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, Pasadena, Long Beach, Orange County, Ventura, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, San Diego, Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose and throughout California.

For more information on the Nevada crime of driving on a suspended license, please see our page about the Nevada crime of driving on a suspended license.

Online Resources:

California Department of Motor Vehicles:

Includes publications about driving offenses and penalties and offers access to the California Vehicle Code.

Legal References:

1 California Vehicle Code 14601-14601.5 VC all prohibit knowingly driving on a suspended or revoked driver's license. Each code section addresses a different type of licenses suspension (for example, 14601.2 deals with driving on a suspended license due to a California DUI).

2 California Vehicle Code 14601 VC - Driving when privileges suspended or revoked [Driving on a suspended license for certain offenses] for certain offenses; knowledge; punishment; driving on private property; requiring installation of ignition interlock device. ("(a) No person shall drive a motor vehicle at any time when that person's driving privilege is suspended or revoked for reckless driving in violation of Section 23103, 23104, or 23105, any reason listed in subdivision (a) or (c) of Section 12806 authorizing the department to refuse to issue a license, negligent or incompetent operation of a motor vehicle as prescribed in subdivision (e) of Section 12809, or negligent operation as prescribed in Section 12810.5, if the person so driving has knowledge of the suspension or revocation. Knowledge shall be conclusively presumed if mailed notice has been given by the department to the person pursuant to Section 13106. The presumption established by this subdivision is a presumption affecting the burden of proof.")

3 See same, Driving on a suspended license for certain offenses.

4 California Vehicle Code 14601.2 VC - Driving when privilege suspended or revoked for driving under the influence of alcoholic beverage or drug; compliance with restriction; punishment [Driving on a suspended license for DUI]. ("(a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle at any time when that person's driving privilege is suspended or revoked for a conviction of a violation of Section 23152 or 23153 if the person so driving has knowledge of the suspension or revocation.")

5 See California Vehicle Code 14601 VC - 14601.5 VC.

6 See, e.g., California Vehicle Code 14601.2 VC - Driving on a suspended license for DUI.

7 Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions ("CALCRIM") 2220 - Driving With Suspended or Revoked Driving Privilege. ("To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must prove that: 1 The defendant drove a motor vehicle while (his/her) driving privilege was (suspended/ [or] revoked) [for <insert basis for suspension or revocation>]; AND 2 When the defendant drove, (he/she) knew that (his/her) driving privilege was (suspended/ [or] revoked).")

8 See same, Driving with Suspended or Revoked Driving Privilege. ("[If the People prove that: 1 The California Department of Motor Vehicles mailed a notice to the defendant telling (him/her) that (his/her) driving privilege had been (suspended/ [or] revoked); 2 The notice was sent to the most recent address reported to the department [or any more recent address reported by the person, a court, or a law enforcement agency]; AND 3 The notice was not returned to the department as undeliverable or unclaimed; then you may, but are not required to, conclude that the defendant knew that (his/her) driving privilege was (suspended/ [or] revoked).]"

9 See same, Driving with Suspended or Revoked Driving Privilege. ("[If the People prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a court informed the defendant that (his/her) driving privilege had been (suspended/ [or] revoked), you may but are not required to conclude that the defendant knew that (his/her) driving privilege was (suspended/ [or] revoked).]")

See also California Vehicle Code 13106 VC - Notice of suspension or revocation of driving privilege; presumptions; alternative methods for determining whereabouts of drivers. ("(a) When the privilege of a person to operate a motor vehicle is suspended or revoked, the department shall notify the person by first-class mail, of the action taken and of the effective date thereof, except for those persons personally given notice by the department or a court, by a peace officer pursuant to Section 13388 or 13382, or otherwise pursuant to this code. It shall be a rebuttable presumption, affecting the burden of proof, that a person has knowledge of the suspension or revocation if notice has been sent by first-class mail by the department pursuant to this section to the most recent address reported to the department pursuant to Section 12800 or 14600, or any more recent address on file if reported by the person, a court, or a law enforcement agency, and the notice has not been returned to the department as undeliverable or unclaimed. It is the responsibility of every holder of a driver's license to report changes of address to the department pursuant to Section 14600.")

10 CALCRIM 2220 - Driving With Suspended or Revoked Driving Privilege.

11 See, e.g., "Reinstate Your License," California DMV Suspended License in California.

12 California Vehicle Code 14601 VC - Driving on a suspended license for certain offenses.  ("(a) No person shall drive a motor vehicle at any time when that person's driving privilege is suspended or revoked for reckless driving in violation of Section 23103, 23104, or 23105, any reason listed in subdivision (a) or (c) of Section 12806 authorizing the department to refuse to issue a license, negligent or incompetent operation of a motor vehicle as prescribed in subdivision (e) of Section 12809, or negligent operation as prescribed in Section 12810.5, if the person so driving has knowledge of the suspension or revocation. Knowledge shall be conclusively presumed if mailed notice has been given by the department to the person pursuant to Section 13106. The presumption established by this subdivision is a presumption affecting the burden of proof.")

13 California Vehicle Code 14601.1 VC - Driving when privilege revoked or suspended for other reasons. ("(a) No person shall drive a motor vehicle when his or her driving privilege is suspended or revoked for any reason other than those listed in Section 14601, 14601.2, or 14601.5, if the person so driving has knowledge of the suspension or revocation. Knowledge shall be conclusively presumed if mailed notice has been given by the department to the person pursuant to Section 13106. The presumption established by this subdivision is a presumption affecting the burden of proof.")

14 California Vehicle Code 14601.2 VC - Driving on a suspended license for DUI. ("(a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle at any time when that person's driving privilege is suspended or revoked for a conviction of a violation of Section 23152 or 23153 if the person so driving has knowledge of the suspension or revocation. . . . (d) A person convicted of a violation of this section shall be punished as follows: (1) Upon a first conviction, by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 10 days or more than six months and by a fine of not less than three hundred dollars ($300) or more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), unless the person has been designated a habitual traffic offender under subdivision (b) of Section 23546, subdivision (b) of Section 23550, or subdivision (d) of Section 23550.5, in which case the person, in addition, shall be sentenced as provided in paragraph (3) of subdivision (e) of Section 14601.3. (2) If the offense occurred within five years of a prior offense that resulted in a conviction of a violation of this section or Section 14601, 14601.1, or 14601.5, by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 30 days or more than one year and by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) or more than two thousand dollars ($2,000), unless the person has been designated a habitual traffic offender under subdivision (b) of Section 23546, subdivision (b) of Section 23550, or subdivision (d) of Section 23550.5, in which case the person, in addition, shall be sentenced as provided in paragraph (3) of subdivision (e) of Section 14601.3.")

15 See same, Driving on a suspended license for DUI.

16 California Vehicle Code 23103 VC -- Reckless driving. ("(a) A person who drives a vehicle upon a highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving. (b) A person who drives a vehicle in an offstreet parking facility, as defined in subdivision (c) of [California Vehicle Code] Section 12500, in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.")

17 California Vehicle Code 23152 VC -- Driving under influence; blood alcohol percentage; presumptions. ("(a) It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle. (b) It is unlawful for any person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle.")

18 California Vehicle Code 14610.3 VC - Habitual traffic offender; accumulation of driving record history while driving privilege suspended or revoked; penalty [Habitual traffic offender driving on a suspended license]. ("(a) It is unlawful for a person whose driving privilege has been suspended or revoked to accumulate a driving record history which results from driving during the period of suspension or revocation. A person who violates this subdivision is designated an habitual traffic offender. For purposes of this section, a driving record history means any of the following, if the driving occurred during any period of suspension or revocation: (1) Two or more convictions within a 12-month period of an offense given a violation point count of two pursuant to Section 12810. (2) Three or more convictions within a 12-month period of an offense given a violation point count of one pursuant to Section 12810. (3) Three or more accidents within a 12-month period that are subject to the reporting requirements of Section 16000. (4) Any combination of convictions or accidents, as specified in paragraphs (1) to (3), inclusive, which results during any 12-month period in a violation point count of three or more pursuant to Section 12810.")

19 California Vehicle Code 14601.5 VC - Driving with knowledge of suspension, revocation, or restriction of driving privilege; punishment; reinstatement of driving privileges [Driving on a suspended license for other offenses]. ("(a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle at any time when that person's driving privilege is suspended or revoked pursuant to Section 13353, 13353.1, or 13353.2 and that person has knowledge of the suspension or revocation. (b) Except in full compliance with the restriction, a person shall not drive a motor vehicle at any time when that person's driving privilege is restricted pursuant to Section 13353.7 or 13353.8 and that person has knowledge of the restriction.")

20 See California Vehicle Code 14601-14601.5 VC.

21 California Vehicle Code 14601 VC - Driving on a suspended license for certain offenses. ("(b) A person convicted under this section shall be punished as follows: (1) Upon a first conviction, by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than five days or more than six months and by a fine of not less than three hundred dollars ($300) or more than one thousand dollars ($1,000). (2) If the offense occurred within five years of a prior offense that resulted in a conviction of a violation of this section or Section 14601.1, 14601.2, or 14601.5, by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than 10 days or more than one year and by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) or more than two thousand dollars ($2,000). (c) If the offense occurred within five years of a prior offense that resulted in a conviction of a violation of this section or Section 14601.1, 14601.2, or 14601.5, and is granted probation, the court shall impose as a condition of probation that the person be confined in a county jail for at least 10 days.")

22 See same, Driving on a suspended license for certain offenses.

23 California Vehicle Code 14601.1 VC - Driving when privilege revoked or suspended for other reasons. ("(b) Any person convicted under this section shall be punished as follows: (1) Upon a first conviction, by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than six months or by a fine of not less than three hundred dollars ($300) or more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment. (2) If the offense occurred within five years of a prior offense which resulted in a conviction of a violation of this section or Section 14601, 14601.2, or 14601.5, by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than five days or more than one year and by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) or more than two thousand dollars ($2,000).")

24 See same, Driving when privilege revoked or suspended for other reasons.

25 California Vehicle Code 14601.2 VC - Driving on a suspended license for DUI. ("(d) A person convicted of a violation of this section shall be punished as follows: (1) Upon a first conviction, by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 10 days or more than six months and by a fine of not less than three hundred dollars ($300) or more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), unless the person has been designated a habitual traffic offender under subdivision (b) of Section 23546, subdivision (b) of Section 23550, or subdivision (d) of Section 23550.5, in which case the person, in addition, shall be sentenced as provided in paragraph (3) of subdivision (e) of Section 14601.3. (2) If the offense occurred within five years of a prior offense that resulted in a conviction of a violation of this section or Section 14601, 14601.1, or 14601.5, by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 30 days or more than one year and by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) or more than two thousand dollars ($2,000), unless the person has been designated a habitual traffic offender under subdivision (b) of Section 23546, subdivision (b) of Section 23550, or subdivision (d) of Section 23550.5, in which case the person, in addition, shall be sentenced as provided in paragraph (3) of subdivision (e) of Section 14601.3.")

26 See same, Driving on a suspended license for DUI.

27 California Vehicle Code 14601.3 VC - Habitual traffic offender driving on a suspended license. ("(e) Any person convicted under this section of being an habitual traffic offender shall be punished as follows: (1) Upon a first conviction, by imprisonment in the county jail for 30 days and by a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000). (2) Upon a second or any subsequent offense within seven years of a prior conviction under this section, by imprisonment in the county jail for 180 days and by a fine of two thousand dollars ($2,000). (3) Any habitual traffic offender designated under Section 193.7 of the Penal Code or under subdivision (b) of Section 23546, subdivision (b) of Section 23550, subdivision (b) of Section 23550.5, or subdivision (d) of Section 23566 who is convicted of a violation of Section 14601.2 shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for 180 days and by a fine of two thousand dollars ($2,000). The penalty in this paragraph shall be consecutive to that imposed for the violation of any other law.")

28 See same, Habitual traffic offender driving on a suspended license.

29 California Vehicle Code 14601.5 VC - Driving on a suspended license for other offenses. ("(d) A person convicted of a violation of this section is punishable, as follows: (1) Upon a first conviction, by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than six months or by a fine of not less than three hundred dollars ($300) or more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment. (2) If the offense occurred within five years of a prior offense that resulted in a conviction for a violation of this section or Section 14601, 14601.1, 14601.2, or 14601.3, by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 10 days or more than one year, and by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) or more than two thousand dollars ($2,000).")

30 See same, Driving on a suspended license for other offenses.

31 See Vehicle Code 14601-14601.5 VC, endnotes 21-30, above.

32 Vehicle Code 14601.2 VC - Driving on a suspended license for DUI. ("(h) Pursuant to Section 23575, the court shall require a person convicted of a violation of this section to install a certified ignition interlock device on a vehicle the person owns or operates. Upon receipt of the abstract of a conviction under this section, the department shall not reinstate the privilege to operate a motor vehicle until the department receives proof of either the "Verification of Installation" form as described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (g) of Section 13386 or the Judicial Council Form I.D. 100.")

33 CALCRIM 2220 - Driving With Suspended or Revoked Driving Privilege. ("To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must prove that: 1 The defendant drove a motor vehicle while (his/her) driving privilege was (suspended/ [or] revoked) [for <insert basis for suspension or revocation>]; AND 2 When the defendant drove, (he/she) knew that (his/her) driving privilege was (suspended/ [or] revoked).")

34 California Vehicle Code 13353.7 governs restricted driver's licenses. In pertinent part, it provides that an individual "may apply to the department for a restricted driver's license limited to travel to and from the activities required by the [California court-ordered DUI school] program and to and from and in the course of the person's employment."

35 See same.

36 California Vehicle Code 14601.2 VC - Driving on a suspended license for DUI ("(b) Except in full compliance with the restriction, a person shall not drive a motor vehicle at any time when that person's driving privilege is restricted if the person so driving has knowledge of the restriction."); California Vehicle Code 14601.5 VC - Driving on a suspended license for other offenses ("   (b) Except in full compliance with the restriction, a person shall not drive a motor vehicle at any time when that person's driving privilege is restricted pursuant to Section 13353.7 or 13353.8 and that person has knowledge of the restriction.")

37 Burbank criminal and DUI defense attorney John Murray has considerable expertise in drunk driving law and California DMV hearings. He has handled more than 1000 DUI and driving on a suspended or revoked license cases, getting many of them dismissed or reduced to reckless driving or traffic infractions. And he has earned a statewide reputation for his success at DMV hearings. Murray represents clients extensively at the Ventura Courthouse, Van Nuys Courthouse, San Fernando Courthouse, LAX Airport Courthouse, Santa Clarita, Beverly Hills, and Los Angeles Metropolitan Courthouse.

38 California Vehicle 12500 VC - Driving without a license [lesser offense than driving under a suspended license]. ("(a) A person may not drive a motor vehicle upon a highway, unless the person then holds a valid driver's license issued under this code, except those persons who are expressly exempted under this code.")

39 California Vehicle Code 40000.11 VC -- Misdemeanors ("A violation of any of the following provisions is a misdemeanor, and not an infraction...(b) [Vehicle Code] Section 12500, subdivision (a), relating to unlicensed drivers."); California Vehicle Code 40000.1 VC - Infractions ("[With respect to California's driving laws] Except as otherwise provided in this article, it is unlawful and constitutes an infraction for any person to violate, or fail to comply with any provision of this code, or any local ordinance adopted pursuant to this code.").

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