Suspended License and Driving
Not everyone has the ability to drive, or the permission to do so. Every driver on the road must have a valid driver’s license. This license ensures (at a minimum) that the driver is legally allowed to drive. However, some may have their licenses suspended or revoked. The reasons for this can vary, but the consequences are important. In California, if your license has been suspended or revoked, you are not allowed to continue driving.
The Legal Elements of the Code
According to California Vehicle Code 14601 VC, it is a crime to drive with a suspended or revoked license. In order for the prosecution to meet its burden in court, it must prove two elements. First, the defendant must have driven while the license had been suspended or revoked. Second, the defendant must have known that their license was suspended and that they were not allowed to drive.
The first element can be easier to prove since in many cases the crime is spotted by a police officer on the road. The second element is the tricky one to meet. The law presumes that the defendant had knowledge of the suspension if they received a notice from the DMV to their most recent address and that notice had not been declared undeliverable, or if a police officer or judge served them the notice/made them aware of the suspension or revocation.
The violation of Vehicle Code 14601 VC results in a misdemeanor crime. However, the severity of the penalties applied will depend on the personal situation of the defendant. The prosecution and judge consider the reason for the defendant’s suspension and overall driving history (as well as previous driving convictions). The penalties can range from five days to up to six months in county jail. Furthermore, the defendant may also have to pay a fine. Given that there is jail time involved, if someone has been accused of driving with a suspended license, it is very important that they seek the immediate counsel of a lawyer.