Vehicle Code 14601.4 VC
(Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License and Causing Bodily Injury)

Vehicle Code 14601.4 VC is the California statute that says it is a crime if a person does both:

  1. drive on a suspended or revoked license; and,
  2. cause bodily injury to a person while driving.

Please note that this code section only applies if the defendant's driving privileges have been suspended or revoked for a charge of either:

Examples of criminal acts under VC 14601.4 VC include:

  • Beth drives the day after getting her license suspended for a DUI, collides with a vehicle while driving, and the collision results in the other driver getting whiplash.
  • following a conviction for DUI causing injury, Lamar gets a notice in the mail that his license has been suspended; however, he ignores it and injures another driver while driving in traffic
  • even though Laura's driving privileges were suspended for a DUI, she drives to work and causes bodily injury to another driver while driving.

Defenses

Luckily, there are several legal defenses that a person can raise if accused of a crime under Vehicle Code 14601.4. These include showing that an accused party:

  • had no knowledge of a license suspension or revocation;
  • did not commit an illegal act or neglect a duty; and/or,
  • did not have a prior DUI conviction.

Penalties

A violation of VC 14601.4 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:

car accident scene california
It is a crime if a person drives on a suspended or revoked license and, causes bodily injury to a person while driving.

1. The legal definition of driving on a suspended or revoked license and causing bodily injury

California Vehicle Code 14601.4 VC is the California statute that makes it a crime for a person to drive with a suspended license, and cause bodily injury to another driver, post DUI conviction.

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

  1. drove a vehicle;
  2. drove even though his driver's license had been previously suspended or revoked because of a conviction of DUI (per VC 23152) or DUI causing injury (per VC 23153);
  3. knew that his license had been suspended or revoked; and,
  4. committed an unlawful act or violated a legal duty, and as a result, he caused bodily injury to another person.1

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

2. Legal Defenses

A person accused under VC 14601.4 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 14601.4 accusations are:

  1. no knowledge of suspension/revocation;
  2. no illegal act or neglect of a duty; and/or,
  3. no prior DUI conviction.

2.1. No knowledge of suspension/revocation

Please recall that an accused must know that his driving license was suspended or revoked to be guilty under Vehicle Code 14601.4. It is a strong legal defense, therefore, for a defendant to show that he did not have this knowledge. 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. No illegal act or neglect of a duty

A person is only guilty under this code section if he commits an illegal act, or neglects a legal duty, in the course of driving. This means it is a solid defense for an accused to show that while a person may have been injured in an accident, the injury wasn't the result of his wrongful actions. For example, a defendant can show that it was the illegal acts of another motorist that caused a particular injury.

2.3. No prior DUI conviction

Please recall that VC 14601.4 makes driving with a suspended or revoked 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.

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

3. Penalties, punishment, and sentencing

A violation of Vehicle Code 14601.4 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

4. Related offenses

There are three crimes related to driving on a suspended or revoked license and causing bodily injury. These are:

  1. driving on a suspended license – VC 14601;
  2. reckless driving – VC 23103; and,
  3. hit and run causing injury – VC 20001.

4.1. Driving on a suspended license – VC 14601

California Vehicle Code 14601 VC makes it a crime for a person to drive when he knows that his driver's license has been suspended or revoked.

A defendant is presumed to “know” that his license was suspended or revoked if the DMV mailed him a notice of suspension or revocation.5

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 $1,000.6

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 $2,000.7

4.2. Reckless driving – VC 23103

California Vehicle Code 23103 VC says it is a crime to drive recklessly.

Per VC 23103, “reckless driving” means for a person to drive with wanton disregard for the safety of people or property.8

If no one other than the reckless driver is injured in the incident, VC 23101 is a misdemeanor. It can be punished at most by:

  1. five to 90 days in county jail, and/or,
  2. a fine of between $145 and $1,000.9

But the possible jail sentence and fine increase if the reckless driving causes an injury.10

And, any reckless driving conviction will add two points to the driver's California DMV record.

4.3. Hit and run causing injury – VC 20001

Under Vehicle Code 20001 VC, it is a crime for a person to flee the scene of an accident in which another person has been injured or killed.

A person can be charged with this crime even if another driver was entirely at fault for an accident.11

Violations of VC 20001 are known as wobbler offenses, meaning they can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

If charged as a misdemeanor, the offense is punishable by:

  • imprisonment in a county jail for up to one year; and/or,
  • a fine of up to $10,000.12

If charged as a felony, the crime is punishable by:

  • imprisonment in state prison for up to three years; and/or,
  • a maximum fine of $10,000.13

Were you accused of driving on a suspended or revoked license and caused bodily injury 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 14601.4 VC, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation. We can be reached 24/7 at 855-LawFirm.

  1. California Vehicle Code 14601.4 VC. This code section states: “It is unlawful for a person, while driving a vehicle with a license suspended or revoked pursuant to Section 14601.2 to do an act forbidden by law or neglect a duty imposed by law in the driving of the vehicle, which act or neglect proximately causes bodily injury to a person other than the driver. In proving the person neglected a duty imposed by law in the driving of the vehicle, it is not necessary to prove that a specific section of this code was violated.”

  2. See same. See also California Vehicle Code 14601(c) VC.

  3. California Vehicle Code 14601.4 VC. See also California Vehicle Code 14601.2(d)(1) VC.

  4. California Vehicle Code 14601.4 VC. See also California Vehicle Code 14601.2(d)(2) VC.

  5. California Vehicle Code 14601 VC.

  6. See same.

  7. See same.

  8. California Vehicle Code 23103 VC.

  9. California Vehicle Code 23103(c) VC.

  10. California Vehicle Code 23104 (a) VC.

  11. Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions ("CALCRIM") 2140 - Failure to Perform Duty Following Accident: Death or Injury - Defendant Driver [Felony hit and run].

  12. California Vehicle Code 20001 VC.

  13. See same.

Free attorney consultations...

Our attorneys want to hear your side of the story. Contact us 24/7 to schedule a FREE consultation with a criminal defense lawyer. We may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed altogether. And if necessary, we will champion your case all the way to trial.

Regain peace of mind...

Shouse Law Defense Group has multiple locations throughout California. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Office Locations

Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California, Nevada, and Colorado. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

To contact us, please select your state:

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370