San Mateo County Traffic Lawyer
A person’s driver’s license can be suspended or revoked for a number of different reasons under the California Penal and Vehicle Codes. A person’s license can be suspended for being arrested or convicted of a DUI. Additionally, a person’s license can be suspended for being a negligent operator. A person is a negligent operator if he or she has received 4 or more points in one year, 6 or more points in 2 years, or 8 points in three years. If the driver has been declared a negligent operator, then that individual’s license can be suspended for up to 6 months.
Moreover, an individual’s license can be suspended for a failure to pay fines or child support. The individual’s license suspension will not be lifted until the person pays their fines and/or child support obligations. A person’s license can also be suspended for a failure to appear in court. Until the person clears the failure to appear in court, that person’s license will remain suspended by the California DMV.
If an individual drives while his or her license is suspended or revoked then that individual can and likely will be charged with driving on a suspended license if he or she is stopped by a police officer. The important thing for the driver to know is that he or she can be arrested, their car impounded, and suffer a criminal conviction. Driving on a suspended license is not an infraction, i.e., a speeding ticket. Driving on a suspended license is a crime that is taken very seriously by prosecutors and judges alike.
For a prosecutor to obtain a conviction for driving on a suspended license, the prosecutor must prove the following three facts (referred to as “elements of the crime”) beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You drove a motor vehicle;
- Your driver’s license was suspended or revoked at the time of driving; and
- You knew that your license had been revoked or suspended when you drove
One of the major defense issues in cases charging driving on a suspended license is whether the driver knew that his or her license was suspended. Although the DMV may have mailed you a notice of the suspension of your license, you may not have received that mail because you had moved, a cotenant discarded your mail, or you simply never received the notice.
Through plea bargaining it may be possible to obtain a lesser charge that driving on a suspended license, which can carry a minimum jail time of 10 days, as well as, mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device in any vehicle that you own, operate or have access to. We frequently obtain reduction in charges from driving on a suspended license to driving without a license in your possession which is an infraction. This means you avoid both heavy fines and incarceration in county jail. Additionally, you may have a valid defense based on the fact that the officer who stopped you did not have a sufficient legal basis for the initial stop.
The potential punishment for driving on a suspended driver’s license depends on the particular circumstances of your case including the reason your license was suspended or revoked and your prior criminal history. Importantly, driving on a suspended license is also a priorable offense, which means that the penalty necessarily increases with each subsequent conviction within a five to seven year period depending on the exact violation.
The Redwood City criminal defense attorneys at Ahmed and Sukaram, Attorneys at Law, have helped people just like you who face serious criminal charges throughout the Bay Area including South San Francisco, San Mateo, Palo Alto, and San Jose. Call Ahmed and Sukaram, Attorneys at Law, to obtain your free initial no cost consultation today at (866) 477-0965.
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