Driving Without a Valid License (12500 Vehicle Code)
This is usually a misdemeanor and is charged when the driver of a vehicle does not have a valid license, either because a license was never issued or has expired. If convicted as a misdemeanor the court will impose fines, possibly informal probation.
Driving with a Suspended License (14601 Vehicle Code)
This is a misdemeanor and is charged when the driver’s license is not valid because the court or DMV has suspended the license. The DMV will suspend a license when it is notified by the court that a licensee has failed to comply with a court requirement (pay fines, appear in court, complete programs, or pay child support, etc.) Another reason the DMV will suspend a license is because of a DUI. A DUI can trigger a suspension in two ways, the court reporting a conviction of a DUI to the DMV or the loss or failure to contest an administrative hearing following an arrest for DUI.
In order to be convicted of Driving on a Suspended License, the prosecutor has the burden to prove the driver had knowledge the license was suspended. This is often a problem if the driver was not personally notifed or the notification was mailed to the incorrect addresss.
A conviction of a Driving on a Suspended License will usually result in mandatory jail time, which is substantially increased if the driver has a prior conviction. There are mandatory fines and informal probation. Usually there is a mandatory minimum of 10 days in jail on a first offense and a minimum of 30 days in jail if the driver has a prior conviction.
One major problem with a charge of Driving on a Suspended License is upon conviction the driver will accumulate 2 points on their driving record. If a driver accumulates 4 points in one year, 6 points in two years, or 8 points in three years, it compounds by triggering a second reason for a supension, as a negligent operator. This is very common when a Driving on a Suspended License charge follows a DUI conviction, because both are assigned 2 points and will exceed the permissible limit of points. If there was an accident with the DUI the driver will accumulate 3 points, 2 points for the DUI and 1 point for the accident.
Mr. Hickey has represented hundreds of clients facing these charges. Mr. Hickey has worked directly with the DMV to assist clients with clearing up warrants, failures to appear or pay fines in order to have the license reinstated. This often requires numerous continuances to allow time to have the license reinstated. Once the client has a license and insurance, the judges and prosecutors are more willing to reduce the charges thus eliminating the requirement of mandatory fines and points with the DMV.