It is illegal to drive with a suspended license. If you are pulled over while driving with a suspended license in Santa Barbara, you may be arrested. The penalties for driving on a suspended license vary depending on the underlying reason for your suspension. Your license may be suspended for numerous reasons ranging from unpaid parking tickets to DUI charges or missing court dates. Regardless of why your license may have been suspended, there are numerous strategies that proficient criminal defense lawyers may be able to assert on your behalf in order to minimize any prospective adverse consequences.
Common Reasons for License Suspension in California
There are many reasons that your license may be suspended. Some of the most common causes of suspension include:
- A DUI or reckless driving conviction
- No proof of car insurance when pulled over or involved in a car accident
- Outstanding unpaid parking tickets
- Excessive points on your license due to speeding or accidents
In order to charge you with driving on a suspended license, the prosecution must prove each of the following components:
- The defendant was driving while their license was in fact suspended.
- The defendant was aware of their license suspension and made the conscious decision to drive anyway.
If you have a suspended driving license, you may not legally operate a vehicle until you take the steps necessary to reinstate your driving privileges.
When trying to prove that a driver is guilty of driving on a suspended license, the prosecutor’s argument will most likely center around proving that the driver had knowledge of their suspension. In California, you are usually presumed to have had knowledge of your suspension if:
- The California DMV mailed you a notice of your license suspension to your most recent mailing address listed with a government agency.
- A judge informed you of your license suspension.
- A police officer notified you of your suspended license at the time of your arrest or citation.
While these conditions imply knowledge of a license suspension, it does not guarantee that you were aware of your suspension. A good suspended license defense lawyer in Santa Barbara may be able to help articulate a viable defense around the issue of knowledge (or lack thereof) of any license suspension.
In California, driving on a suspended license is a misdemeanor offense. Prospective penalties may depend on the circumstances of your case. Common factors that may impact the penalties of driving on a suspended license may include your driving history, any past convictions, and the specific rationale for your suspension. Potential penalties may include:
- A fine of up to $1,000 dollars for a first-time offense and up to $2000 for a subsequent offense.
- A jail sentence of up to 6 months for first-time offenders and up to 1-year for each of any subsequent offenses.
- The installment of an ignition interlock device, which acts as a breathalyzer and prevents a car from starting if it senses intoxication in the driver.
These are just a few of the penalties that can result from driving under a license suspension. The best way to minimize penalties is to work with a criminal defense lawyer.
To prove that a defendant was driving on a suspended license, prosecutors must establish that the defendant had knowledge of their suspension. They must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that at the time you were found driving on a suspended license, you were aware of your suspension and made the conscious decision to drive. Consulting with a skilled criminal defense attorney is the best way to challenge a charge of driving on a suspended license.
The Aron Law Firm has a proven track record of successfully defending drivers against charges of driving on a suspended license. Our skilled attorneys can analyze the factors surrounding your case and develop a strong defense that will succeed in court. To schedule a consultation with one of our experienced lawyers, call today at (805) 500-7536 or fill out our online contact form.