Protect Your Driving Privileges Fight Your Ticket With Bigger & Harman Today

undefinedIn California, the issue of driving with a suspended license is taken very seriously. In fact, it is usually charged as a misdemeanor crime.

Understanding the specifics of the California Vehicle Code and the accompanying penalties is essential to fully grasp the gravity of this misdemeanor crime and its potential legal implications. Hiring a knowledgeable and experienced traffic attorney is crucial to your defense if you are charged with this offense.

CA Vehicle Code Referencing Driving with a Suspended License

California refers to the public offense of driving with a suspended license under CA Vehicle Code (CVC) Sections 14600-14611, Violation of License Provisions

“No person shall drive a motor vehicle at any time when that person’s driving privilege is suspended or revoked…” — CVC 14601.

This statute clearly stipulates that it is illegal for any person to drive a vehicle when their driving privilege is suspended or revoked. This suspension may occur for a variety of reasons, including reckless driving, driving under the influence (DUI) convictions, excessive points on the driver's record, failure to appear in court or failure to pay (FTA/FTP) for a traffic ticket, failure to maintain required auto insurance, and others.

The code details several categories of this offense, varying according to the reasons for the initial suspension. Despite the differences in categories, each carries severe penalties for those convicted.

The Penalties if Convicted of Driving with a Suspended License

If you are convicted of driving with a suspended license, the consequences can be quite severe. Potential penalties include a fine between $300 and $1,000, incarceration in the county jail up to 180 days, or a fine and jail time. In some cases, probation may be ordered as punishment instead of jail time.

The specific penalties depend on the reason for your license suspension in the first place and previous convictions for the same offense. Repeat offenders face more severe penalties, including longer jail terms and higher fines. 

Furthermore, the conviction will become part of your permanent driving record, potentially affecting your future insurance premiums and employability in jobs requiring a clean driving record. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, it could mean a permanent criminal record.

Challenging a Suspended License Charge with a CA Traffic Attorney

If you are charged with driving with a suspended license, it is crucial to seek legal representation. An experienced traffic attorney can help in several ways.

First, your attorney can thoroughly review your case and look for any possible defense strategies. They might question the legality of the traffic stop that led to your charge or whether you were properly notified of your license suspension.

Second, your attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor or judge to reduce your charges or the penalties you face. This can often result in lesser charges or, in some cases, dismissal of the charges entirely. Driving with a suspended license is often considered a “wobbler.”

“However, in California, some infractions are technically in between a misdemeanor and an infraction. These infractions are known as “wobbler infractions” and include disturbing the peace and exhibition of speeding.” — Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute (LII).

A knowledgeable and experienced attorney will discuss the ramifications of asking the judge to reduce the charge from a misdemeanor to an infraction. Although the penalties are much less for an infraction, it might be easier to obtain a dismissal when charged with a misdemeanor.

Lastly, your attorney can advocate for you in court if your case goes to trial. They will present your defense most persuasively and fight to secure the best possible outcome. An attorney's primary goal is to raise the level of “reasonable doubt” about their client's guilt. “Guilt beyond a reasonable doubt” is the standard of proof in traffic and criminal cases, whether heard by a jury or judge alone. 

In conclusion, driving with a suspended license in CA is a serious offense that can lead to significant penalties. However, with the representation of an experienced CA traffic attorney, you can navigate the legal system effectively, challenging the charges and potentially avoiding the most severe penalties.

Consult Bigger & Harman About a Driving with a Suspended License Charge in Lamont Superior Court

Call Bigger & Harman in Bakersfield at (661) 349-9300, use their handy contact form or email

We provide a free initial consultation with no obligation, and regardless of how many court appearances we must make on your behalf, we charge the same flat fee. 

Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.


The CA Driver Handbook English y Español.

The CVC 14601Violation of License Provisions.

The Cornell Law School LII WEX Definition, “Wobbler.”

The CA DMV Portal.

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