Suspended Licenses

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Licensing Offenses – Definitions and Defenses

If your license is suspended or revoked and you are caught driving, you may be charged with various licensing offenses. It's important to know what these charges mean and how you might defend yourself in the event that you go to court.

What Are Licensing Offenses?

In a nutshell, licensing offenses are any offenses that occur as a direct result of you violating licensor suspension or revocation. If your license was taken away due to some past offense or reason, and you still drive, you're eligible to be charged with this crime.

However, the prosecution must prove several things to show your guilt. According to California Vehicle Codes 13106, 14601, 14601.1, 14601.2, and 14601.5, these include:

  • That you were driving the motor vehicle in question – you obviously won't get in trouble if you're just a passenger
  • You knew that your driving privileges were suspended or revoked – this protects you if, for instance, you were driving to court to learn whether your license was suspended or revoked

On this last point, the prosecution must prove that the California Department of Motor Vehicles mailed a notice to you informing you that your driving privileges were revoked or suspended AND that the notice was sent to the most recent address you reported to the department. If any of this didn't occur, you may not be proven to have known that your license was suspended.

Penalties for Licensing Offenses

Penalties for various licensing offenses depend on the nature of the licensure suspension and the nature of the alleged driving without a license.

For example, reckless, negligent, or incompetent driving includes penalties like:

  • Up to six months in county jail
  • Up to $1000 in fines
  • Informal probation for up to three years

Meanwhile, driving without a license and doing so when your license was revoked or suspended because of a DUI conviction carries penalties like:

  • Informal probation for up to three years
  • Up to $1000 in fines
  • Up to six months in county jail
  • Installation of a mandatory certified ignition interlock device (a breathalyzer test installed in your vehicle)

Ultimately, the penalties you can face always have the possibility to turn your life upside down and make things hard. Avoiding a conviction with the help of California defense counsel is crucial.

Defenses for Licensing Offenses

Your defense counsel can use several defenses to help you avoid a conviction.

No Knowledge of Licensure Suspension or Revocation

If you weren't aware that your license was suspended or revoked, you weren't doing anything wrong and cannot be convicted of this crime.

Necessity

During times of emergency, a defendant may be allowed to drive without a license if there was a sufficiently good reason to do so. For instance, having to drive someone to a medical center when they would otherwise have suffered great harm or died, even without a license, is still technically a guilty act, but one that is unlikely to be punished.

Contact a California Criminal Defense Attorney Today

Contacting the law offices of Peter James Chambers is your best bet to get excellent criminal defense counsel on your side. With our help, you'll have a much better chance of avoiding a conviction and getting back to your life. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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“One who sits in judgment of another should feel as though the sword is pointed at their own heart.”

— THE TALMUD —

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