If you are pulled over for any reason and an officer learns you have been driving with a suspended license, this will lead to criminal charges much more serious than a speeding ticket. When facing charges for driving with a suspended license, do the best thing you can for yourself and contact a Fresno suspended license attorney from Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer at (559) 443-7442. We will review your situation with you to determine the best course of action.
It is nearly impossible to give up driving in California. Few areas have extensive public transportation options, and even in the places that do, the buses and trains are hardly comprehensive or timely. It is simply a fact of life throughout the state that you need a vehicle to get to and from work, attend class, see a doctor, and take care of your kids. Without a vehicle, you can hardly be expected to take care of yourself let alone support and care for your family. This might lead you to continue driving even when you do not have a valid driver’s license. Necessity may put you behind the wheel time and time again.
Driving With a Suspended California Drivers License
According to California Vehicle Code sections 14601 through 14601.5, you are prohibited from driving any motor vehicle at any time when your driver’s license is suspended or revoked and you know of the suspension. Your license could have been temporarily suspended or permanently revoked due to a drunk driving conviction, reckless driving, a physical or mental impairment, failure to pay fines or child support, or a conviction for many other criminal and traffic offenses.
If your license has been limited, the law presumes you know you are not allowed to drive if you received notice of the suspension or revocation. There are many situations in which the court deems you to have received notice, yet in actuality, you knew nothing about it.
If the court says you were notified, but you did not know about the revocation or suspension, call us right away. Attorney Michael McKneely will review whether you received proper notice and help you fight this charge.
What is Notice?
Notice means you were informed of the temporary or permanent loss of your driving privileges. Notice by mail counts against you if it was:
- Sent to the most recent address you reported to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or the most recent address reported by the court or police, and
- Was not returned to the DMV as undeliverable or unclaimed.
If the DMV mailed notice to an old address or it was returned to the department, then we may be able to prove to the court you were unaware of the suspension or revocation and were driving under the good faith understanding that you could. However, if you received a letter from the DMV and threw it away or stuck it in a drawer without reading it that will make it tougher—but not impossible—to argue you did not receive notice. The DMV and court will assume you read and understood any letter the DMV sent to your address and was properly delivered.
Also, you may have received notice in person by an employee of the DMV, a judge or clerk in court, or by a police officer. If you were told by one of these individuals that your driver’s license was being revoked or suspended and was given a letter or document confirming the action, then you will have a difficult time arguing you did not receive notice.
Keep in mind though, that the ultimate decision on guilt or innocence is made by a jury, and a skilled Fresno suspended license lawyer like Mike McKneely can win suspension trials that others think are unwinnable.
Possible Penalties and Collateral Consequences
If you are caught driving when you do not have the right to be behind the wheel, you can be convicted of a misdemeanor and will typically be sentenced to at least five days and up to six months in jail or work program and fined up to $1,000. However, that punishment is only for a first offense and a license suspension or revocation that was not related to a drunk driving offense or being labeled a habitual traffic offender. For violating a DUI related suspension or after being labeled a habitual offender, you can be sentenced to at least 30 days in jail or work program.
If you are caught driving with a suspended license for the second time within five years of your first conviction, then you will face between 10 days and one year of jail or work program and fined up to $2,000. You may be granted probation for your second offense, though you must still spend at least 10 days in jail or work program.
Contact a Fresno Suspended License Lawyer Today
If you were charged with driving on a suspended license, call us today to learn more about potential defenses, such as:
- Your lack of knowledge regarding a suspension or revocation,
- The original suspension or revocation was invalid, or
- You had the right to drive on a restricted license.
You deserve to give yourself the best criminal defense in Fresno that you can. Attorney Michael McKneely has over 15 years of experience handling cases on both the prosecution and defense sides of the courtroom. He and his team are able to defend your rights and fight for the best possible outcome on your behalf. At Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer, we will fight to protect your rights and freedom. Our goal will always be to obtain the best possible outcome in your case and work towards restoring your driving privileges.
Call us at (559) 443-7442 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation.