35+ Years Criminal Defense Experience in California


Driving on a Suspended License – California Vehicle Code 14601


Driving on a suspended license is a misdemeanor in California. Under Vehicle Code 14601, it is a crime if you knowingly drive a motor vehicle at any time while your license or driving privileges have been suspended or revoked.Driving on a Suspended License – California Vehicle Code 14601 The DMV or court may suspend your license for any of the following reasons:

  • Alcohol related incidents;
  • Reckless driving;
  • Negligent operation due to excessive points on your driving record;
  • Medical conditions;
  • Failure to appear in court following a traffic ticket summons;
  • Failure to pay a fine following a traffic court appearance;
  • Failure to pay child support; or
  • Not having proof of insurance (SR-22).


Prosecution of Driving on a Suspended License in California

In order to be convicted of driving on a suspended license, the prosecution must prove all of the following beyond a reasonable doubt:2

  1. You drove a motor vehicle while your driving privileges were suspended or revoked for a valid reason; AND
  2. At the time you drove, you knew that your driving privileges were suspended or revoked.


Presumption of Knowledge

driving on a suspended license 2
Did you receive notice from the DMV prior to driving on a suspended license?

The law presumes you had knowledge of your suspension if you received mailed noticed of suspension from the DMV.3 The prosecution satisfies this presumption if:

  • Notice of suspension was sent to the most recent address you’ve given to the DMV or known to the court or law enforcement agency; AND
  • The notice was not returned as undeliverable or unclaimed.


Possible Defenses to VC 14601

A skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to raise several defenses on your behalf. Some of these defenses might include:

  • You did not know that your license was suspended because of some defect with the notice given;
  • When pulled over, your license was no longer suspended;
  • The officer did not have reasonable cause to pull you over; OR
  • You were driving a motor vehicle owned by your employer during and within the scope of your employment on private property.4


Sentence and Punishment for Driving on Suspended License

Driving on a suspended license is a misdemeanor in California. Sentencing and punishment for driving on a suspended license varies, depending on the underlying reason for why your license was suspended. If you are convicted of driving with a suspended license in California, you face the following punishment:

driving on suspended license table

An additional penalty of 180 days in jail and another $2000 fine is imposed if (1) you’ve had multiple DUIs or are convicted of vehicular manslaughter while DUI, AND (2) and declared a habitual traffic offender.

Frequently Asked Questions on Driving on a Suspended License

punishment for driving on a suspended license
If you are convicted of driving on a suspended license in California, you face serious jail time.
  1. What penalties do I face if my license was suspended for another reason?

If your license has been suspended for other reasons not mentioned above, you face five days to six months in county jail, a fine of $300 to $1,000, or both jail and fine for a first offense. Upon a second offense, you face ten days to 364 days in county jail, a fine of $500 to $2,000, or both jail and fine.

  1. What other options are there available to me besides serving jail time?

There may be alternative sentencing options available to you, depending on the facts of your case. A skilled attorney may be able to get you community service hours, house arrest, or probation in lieu of jail time.

  1. What qualifies as a motor vehicle? What can’t I drive?

A vehicle, for purposes of Vehicle Code 14601, is any passenger vehicle, motorcycle, motor scooter, bus, school bus, commercial vehicle, truck tractor or trailer. You are prohibited from driving any of these vehicles with a suspended or revoked license.


Have you been charged with driving on a suspended or revoked license in violation of VC 14601? Call the Skilled Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich

partners 2015 - driving on a suspended license
Contact the attorneys at Wallin & Klarich today if you have been charged with driving on a suspended license

If you or a loved one has been charged with reckless driving in violation of VC 14601 or any traffic-related crime, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.

At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled attorneys have been successfully defending clients charged with driving on a suspended license charges for over 30 years. We will meet with you immediately to review the facts of your case, and plan a defense strategy that will help you get the very best outcome possible.

With office locations in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.


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