DRIVER'S LICENSE SUSPENDED BECAUSE OF DUI CONVICTION
Your driver's license will be suspended or revoked following a DUI conviction. Vehicle Code Section 14601.2(a) states that "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 (DUI) or 23153 (DUI with injury) if the person so driving has knowledge of the suspension or revocation."
Length of Suspension
The length of suspension will be determined by a number of factors, including the number of prior offenses you have, whether or not the DUI involved injury, how high your blood alcohol content (BAC) was, whether you were under 21 years of age, and whether you refused to submit to a breath or blood test following arrest. The length of DUI driver's license suspensions were discussed in our Los Angeles DUI Attorney's recent BLOG post. It is important to note that it is the "privilege to drive" that is suspended, not the just the license. An unlicensed driver or a driver with an out of state license will not avoid the suspension simply because they do not have a valid California driver's license. If they had a valid California driver's license which would have been suspended, then their "privilege to drive" is suspended.
Elements of the Crime
To convict a person for driving on a suspended license pursuant to Vehicle Code Section 14601.2, the prosecution must prove that 1) the person drove a motor vehicle; 2) the person's driver's license was in fact suspended for DUI; and 3) the person had knowledge of the suspension. The third element can be proven by showing that the person was served with a notice of suspension in court or it was mailed to the person and not returned.
GETTING A RESTRICTED LICENSE FOLLOWING DUI SUSPENSION
You may be eligible to obtain a restricted driver's license before the full suspension period ends. For example, a driver who has received a 2nd offense DUI conviction will have their license suspended for two years. However, after 90 days of the suspension period is completed, he/she can to to the DMV and apply for a restricted driver's license. Similarly, a driver who has received a 1st offense DUI conviction will have their license suspended for for 6 months and can apply for a restricted license after 30 days. The driver must pay a re-issue fee, file proof of enrollment in the SB38 (18 month) alcohol program, an SR22 (proof of insurance), and proof of installation of an ignition interlock device.
DRIVING ON DUI SUSPENDED LICENSE IS A CRIMINAL MATTER
Vehicle Code Section 14601.2(a) is a misdemeanor criminal offense, not a traffic infraction. If your driver's license was suspended due to a DUI court conviction you will be charged with this offense if you are caught driving a motor vehicle. Conviction for a violation of VC 14601.2(a) carries a minimum jail sentence of 10 days in county jail. If this is your 2nd offense within 5 years you will be sentenced to a minimum of 30 days. You will also be ordered to install an ignition interlock device (IID) for up to 3 years.
OTHER REASONS FOR LICENSE SUSPENSION
Vehicle Code Section 14601.2 is only charged when a person was driving on a license which was suspended because of a DUI court conviction. A driver's license can be suspended for a number of other reasons. For example, Section 14601.5 prohibits driving when your license has been suspended due to an Administrative Per Se (APS) decision against you. This is also a misdemeanor criminal offense. Section 14601.1 punishes driving when the license has been suspended for other reasons, such as failing to appear in court, failing to pay a traffic fine, or failing to obey a court order to pay child support. Section 14601.1 can be either a misdemeanor or an infraction.
GET YOUR PRIVILEGE TO DRIVE REINSTATED
If you have been arrested or cited for driving on a suspended license, CONTACT our office today for a free and confidential consultation. We can assist not only in representation of the charges against you but help you in taking the necessary steps to get your driver's license. Berglund Law Office, P.C. specializes in representing persons charged with DUI and subsequent license suspension violations arising from DUI and other convictions.