Vehicle Code 14601.2 VC - Driving with a Suspended License Because of DUI

Vehicle Code 14601.2 VC is the California statute that makes it a crime for a person to drive with a suspended license, while the license has been suspended or revoked for either:

Examples of criminal acts under this statute include:

  • days after getting her license suspended for a DUI, Jenny drives to her boyfriend's house.
  • following a conviction for DUI causing injury, Maurice gets a notice in the mail that his license has been suspended; however, he ignores it and continues to drive.
  • even though Desmond's driving privileges were suspended for a DUI, he still drives to work every day.

Defenses

Luckily, there are several legal defenses that a person can raise if accused of a crime under Vehicle Code 14601.2. These include showing that an accused party:

  • had no knowledge of a license suspension;
  • was not “driving;” and/or,
  • did not have a prior DUI conviction.

Penalties

A violation of VC 14601.2 is charged as a misdemeanor, as opposed to a California felony or an infraction.

A first-time conviction of the offense is punishable by:

  • imprisonment in a county jail for up to six months; and/or,
  • a fine of up to $1,000.

If a party commits the offense a second time, within five years from the first offense, then he can be punished with:

  • imprisonment in a county jail for up to one year; and/or,
  • a fine of up to $2,000.

Our California criminal defense attorneys will highlight the following in this article:

california suspended license
California Vehicle Code 14601.2 VC is the California statute that makes it a crime for a person to drive with a suspended license, when the license has been suspended or revoked for DUI

1. The legal definition of driving with a suspended license after a DUI conviction

California Vehicle Code 14601.2 VC is the California statute that makes it a crime for a person to drive with a suspended license after a DUI.

Under this code section, a prosecutor must prove three elements in order to show that a defendant is guilty of a crime. These are:

  1. the defendant drove a vehicle when his driving privileges were suspended or revoked;
  2. the defendant's driving privileges were suspended or revoked for a conviction of either VC 23152 (DUI), or VC 23153 (DUI causing injury); and,
  3. the defendant knew that his driving privileges were suspended or revoked.1

With regards to the third element, please note that an accused is presumed to have “knowledge” of a suspension if the DMV mailed him notice of a suspension.2

2. Legal Defenses

A person accused under VC 14601.2 can challenge the accusation by raising a legal defense. A good defense can often get a charge reduced or even dismissed. Please note, though, that it is critical for an accused to hire a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to get the most effective defense.

Three common defenses to VC 14601.2 accusations are:

  1. no knowledge of suspension;
  2. not “driving;” and/or,
  3. no prior DUI conviction.

2.1. No knowledge of suspension

Please recall that an accused must know that his driving license was suspended to be guilty under Vehicle Code 14601.2. It is a strong legal defense, therefore, for a defendant to show that he had no knowledge that his license had been suspended. But, since “knowledge” under this code section is presumed if the DMV mails a notice of suspension, the accused would have to show that the DMV failed to mail the applicable notice.

2.2. Not driving

A person is only guilty under this code section if he is actually “driving” with a suspended license. This means it is a solid defense for an accused to show that he was not physically driving a car. For example, a defendant can show that he was just sitting in the driver's seat without the engine running.

2.3. No prior DUI conviction

Please recall that VC 14601.2 makes driving with a suspended license a crime only if the defendant has been previously convicted for either DUI or DUI causing injury. Therefore, an accused could show his innocence by proving that he was never convicted for either VC 23152 or VC 23153. Please note, though, even if there is not a prior conviction, the defendant could still be found guilty of driving on a suspended license per VC 14601(a).

man behind bars
A violation of this law can result in a fine and/or jail time

3. Penalties, Punishment, and Sentencing

A violation of Vehicle Code 14601.2 is charged as a misdemeanor.

A first-time conviction of the offense is punishable by:

  • imprisonment in a county jail for up to six months; and/or,
  • a fine of up to $1,000.3

If a party commits the offense a second time, within five years from the first offense, then he can be punished with:

  • imprisonment in a county jail for up to one year; and/or,
  • a fine of up to $2,000.4

In lieu of imprisonment, a judge has the discretion to impose misdemeanor probation, or “summary” or “informal” probation.

4. Related Offenses

There are three crimes related to driving with a suspended license after a DUI conviction. These are:

  1. DUI – VC 23152;
  2. driving on a suspended license – VC 14601(a); and,
  3. driving on a suspended or revoked license causing bodily injury – VC 14601.4.

4.1. DUI – VC 23152

Vehicle Code 23152(a) VC is the California statute that makes it a crime to operate a motor vehicle "under the influence" of alcohol.

Per VC 23152(a), “under the influence" means that a person's physical or mental abilities are impaired to the extent that he can no longer drive as well as a cautious sober person.5

VC 23152(a) DUI is the "subjective" standard for DUI. In contrast, Vehicle Code 23152(b) sets forth the "per se" definition of DUI, which in most cases is driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher.

First, second and third offense DUI charges are prosecuted as misdemeanors in California. Penalties for these offenses can include:

4.2. Driving on a suspended license – VC 14601(a)

Vehicle Code 14601(a) VC is the basic statute that makes it a crime to drive on a suspended license.

A person is presumed to “know” that his license was suspended or revoked if the DMV mailed him a notice of suspension or revocation.6

Driving on a suspended license is charged as a California misdemeanor.

A first-time conviction of the crime is punishable by:

  • imprisonment in the county jail for up to six months; and/or,
  • a fine of up to $1,000.7

If a party commits the offense a second time, within five years from the first offense, then he can be punished with:

  • imprisonment in a county jail for up to one year; and/or,
  • a fine of up to $2,000.8

4.3. Driving on a suspended or revoked license causing bodily injury – VC 14601.4

California Vehicle Code 14601.4 VC is the California statute that makes it a crime for a person to:

  1. drive on a suspended or revoked license; and,
  2. cause bodily injury to another person in the course of driving.9

A first-time conviction of the offense is punishable by:

  • imprisonment in a county jail for up to six months; and/or,
  • a fine of up to $1,000.10

If a party commits the offense a second time, within five years from the first offense, then he can be punished with:

  • imprisonment in a county jail for up to one year; and/or,
  • a fine of up to $2,000.11

Were you accused of driving with a suspended license after a DUI conviction in California? Call us for help…

california dui legal defense
Call us for help at (855) LAW-FIRM

If you or someone you know has been accused of a crime per Vehicle Code 14601.2 VC, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation. We can be reached 24/7 at 855-LawFirm.


Legal References:

  1. California Vehicle Code 14601.2 VC(a). This code section states: “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.”

  2. California Vehicle Code 14601(c) VC.

  3. California Vehicle Code 14601.2(d)(1) VC.

  4. California Vehicle Code 14601.2(d)(2) VC.

  5. California Vehicle Code 23152(a) VC.

  6. California Vehicle Code 14601 VC.

  7. See same.

  8. See same.

  9. California Vehicle Code 14601.4 VC.

  10. California Vehicle Code 14601.4(b) VC. See also California Vehicle Code 14601.2 VC.

  11. See same.

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