Sec 14601 of the California Vehicle Code is a list of offenses that can be committed when an individual is caught behind the wheel of a car when they knew their driver’s license has been suspended or revoked.
The law prohibits an individual from operating a car, motorcycle or any other vehicle when the DMV has suspended or revoked their California driver’s license due to any of the following actions:
a) Reckless Driving;
b) Alcohol and/or Drug Abuse;
c) A mental and/or physical disability that prevents one from operating or driving a vehicle in a safe manner;
d) A declaration of negligence or incompetence as a driver;
What is central to the commission of this crime is the notice given by the California Department of Motor Vehicles of the revocation or suspension of the privilege to drive a motor vehicle through the revocation or suspension of the driver’s license.
The following are the specific provisions regarding this criminal act:
1) Sec 14601.1(a) of the California Vehicle Code. This is the catch-all provision regarding the revocation or suspension of the California Driver’s License. This makes the act of driving with the knowledge of a suspended or revoked license illegal for any reason that does not fall within the other provisions of the law.
2) Sec. 14601.2(a) of the California Vehicle Code. This provision criminalizes the act of driving with the knowledge of the driver’s license has been revoked or suspended as a result of a DUI conviction. Conviction for this crime would mete out a ten day county jail sentence for the first offense and a minimum of a thirty day county jail sentence for second. An accessory penalty would be installation of a California Ignition Interlock Device. This is a mini-breathalyzer that prevents operation unless an alcohol free breath sample is provided.
3) Sec 14601.3(a) of the California Vehicle Code. This provision criminalizes the habitual operation of a vehicle on a suspended or revoked license when within a twelve (12) month period when any of the following offenses were committed:
i. Two or more serious driving related crimes such as Sec 23103 of the California Vehicle Code or Reckless Driving, Sec 23152 or Driving Under the Influence or DUI, Sec 23109 or Exhibition of Speed;
ii. Three or more general moving violations, such as speeding;
iii. Three or more accidents when someone was injured and/or property damage totaling a minimum of $750;
4) Sec 14601.5(a) of the California Vehicle Code. This is the criminal act of driving with the knowledge of the suspension or revocation of their California Driver’s License for the any of the following:
i. Refusal to submit to a California DUI chemical blood, breath or urine test;
ii. Suffering a California DUI under the age of 21 either:
1. Refusal to submit to a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) test or
2. Has a DUI blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.01% or greater;
3. Refusal to submit to any chemical test when one is suspected to be driving under the influence of alcohol while on probation for drunk driving;
4. Driving with a BAC of 0.01% or greater while on probation for a DUI offense;
5. Driving with a BAC level of 0.08% or greater under Sec 23152(b) of the California Vehicle Code;
6. Driving with a BAC of 0.04% or greater while driving a vehicle that required you to have a commercial license;
In order to prove the commission of the offense, the prosecutor needs to establish the following facts:
1) The accused drove a vehicle when the California Driver’s License was suspended or revoked;
2) The accused knew that the California Driver’s License was suspended or revoked at the commission of the offense;
Proof of knowledge is established as follows:
a) The California DMV mailed notice to the individual via first class mail;
b) A police officer informed you of the suspension or revocation of the license upon arrest for driving under the influence; or
c) A judge informed the individual of the suspension/revocation during sentencing proceedings for one of the violations committed previously;
All the previous offenses are considered as priorable misdemeanor offenses. The term priorable means that the penalty imposable for the succeeding offense is higher than the previous one, when committed within a five to seven year period depending on the specific violation committed. The imposable penalties include probation, jail time and/or substantial fines. The gravity of the offense depends upon the reason for the suspension of the license, when previous convictions have been made for driving with a suspended license and the individual’s driving history.
The penalties imposable are higher for suspension or revocation when the committed crimes include DUI, DUI manslaughter or habitual traffic offender.
The crime of driving on a suspended license is a serious offense in California. Should you be or know anyone undergoing this process, do reach out to the lawyers at the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis for a free consultation today.