San Diego Suspended License Criminal Lawyer
Suspended License in San Diego
Vehicle Code Section 14601 provides a driver with information regarding the actual driving on a suspected license or a revoked license. This vehicle code section details the consequences of driving on a suspended license or a revoked license. These types of driving offenses carry points on your driving record in addition to any criminal consequence. Typically, if you are charged with a vehicle code violation there are both DMV consequences and criminal implications imposed by the court. It is important to understand the charge in its entirety before you appear at your court date. You can find more information about the particular language of the vehicle code section on the DMV website:
Driving On a Suspended or Revoked License in San Diego
The most important thing to keep in mind is that the driver must have knowledge that his or her driver’s license was suspended or revoked for hit and run. The way the prosecution proves your knowledge about the suspension or revocation is through the notice given by the Department of Motor Vehicles. However, it is often your criminal defense attorney’s job to make sure the prosecution provides a copy of that letter and show service of process was effective. The law surrounding service of process on a suspension or revocation of a license from licensing agencies is vehicle code section 13106. You can read more information about whether service was effective by reading the vehicle code section on the DMV website at:
License Suspension vs. License Revocation
A license suspension is where your privilege to drive is only deprived for a short period of time. On the other hand, a license revocation means your driving privileges are permanently deprived. The requirements to get your license reinstated for a suspended license is a lot more relaxed than the process of reinstating a revoked license. Typically, the DMV will make you do every examination over again to reinstate a revoked license. However, a suspended license may be one or two exams or even proof of a defensive driving class. In actuality, the requirement can be as minimal as bringing a valid copy of your current insurance to the DMV.
What if I did not know that my driving privileges were suspended or revoked?
Often people are not given the paperwork from the DMV reflecting that their driving privileges have been suspended or revoked. This is a legal defense in your suspended license case. What happens is that there is a lack of proper service from the DMV because you moved from the location that DMV submitted the letter or DMV does not actually ever send the letter. I have asked the prosecutor on multiple cases about the letter the DMV sent and often they are unable to even locate the document that states the defendant’s license is suspended or revoked. It is easy to negotiate these cases with the prosecutor because of the fact that we are dealing with a separate bureaucracy that does not communicate with the court requests.
What if I do not live at the address DMV sent the notice regarding a suspended license?
It is your job to update your address on file with DMV. However, courts have held that you must have actual knowledge of the suspension in order to be found guilty. It is not enough for the prosecution to argue that your own failure to update your address means you should be held accountable for driving on a suspended or revoked license. You should know that your license will remain suspended or revoked until it is officially reinstated. You will have to contact the DMV to set up a time to get your license reinstated.
What if I did not complete a DUI course and now I have a suspended license?
Typically your enrollment in the DUI course is sufficient to reinstate your suspended license. However, an invalid suspension does occur where a driver is held accountable for driving on a suspended license when there was an error with the court or DMV. The applicability of a suspension under certain circumstances is important to fully understand. DUIs become the most confusing for people because the laws are different from what is required by DMV versus the courts. Failing to complete a class will result in a warrant by the court but will have no effect on your license. On the other hand, you can be on a restricted license through DMV and have no implications imposed by the court. If you have any questions about your particular situation, please feel free to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. We have handled hundreds of these cases ranging from the most complicated applicability of DMV law to the court requirements.
What if I have been convicted of driving on a suspended or revoked license before?
It is going to be more difficult to prove that you did not have the knowledge of the suspended license this time around. Also, on a first offense, it is unlikely that jail time would be imposed. However, if this is your second or third offense jail time may be likely given the circumstances surrounding your previous convictions. Furthermore, the DMV consequences for each offense carry two points on your driving record. If your license becomes revoked, then the only way to reinstate your license if by a re-examination. The DMV examination includes a written test, driving test, and an eye exam.
What if I am already in the process of getting my license reinstated but I was just charged with driving on a suspended license?
It is not lawful to be driving while going through the steps of getting your license reinstated. The only way your license will be reinstated is if you re-take and pass the driving test, written test, and eye exam. The DMV will issue you a reinstated license once these steps are completed. Any lapse in time from the suspension or revocation period to the point of your license being reinstated is still considered suspended or revoked. The license itself does not regain lawful status until the defendant completes all necessary steps by the DMV.
Penalties for Driving On a Suspended License in San Diego
Typically, a court will impound your vehicle for 30 days. However, it is common that the court will sell your car at auction if the car is registered in your name and there is a blatant disregard of the law where your knowledge of the suspension or revocation was obvious. If your car was impounded, it is possible that the police will hold your vehicle for up to 6 months. It is important to contact an experienced suspended license attorney to make sure your car is released timely. The impound fees can build up in your case quickly.
Not Guilty of Driving On a Suspended License in San Diego
The most common defense used 99% of the time in these types of cases is lack of knowledge. This means you, the driver, were never previously advised of the invalid license status when pulled over by the police officer. If you were convicted of a previous crime where your license was suspended or revocation then it is presumed you had knowledge. However, it is different for each jurisdiction. One scenario is that you had a DUI in Los Angeles 6 months ago and pulled over for driving on a suspended license in San Diego. For the first time DUIs, the license suspension period only lasts for 4 months. However, it is unlikely these separate jurisdictions will work together on your case. It will be your defense attorney’s job to get the paperwork that suggests that the previous DUI was taken care of and your license should not appear suspended as suggested by the DMV in the San Diego database.
Your Best Defense in a Suspended License Case in San Diego
If you have any questions about handling a suspended license charge or revocation license charge in San Diego, feel free to contact our team of attorneys at 619.405.0063 or visit www.monderlaw.com