San Diego Driving Without A License Attorney
If you have been arrested for driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license in California, I can help you. I am Vista suspended license lawyer Peter M. Liss, and I have tried over 100 criminal jury trials and successfully defended many people arrested and charged for criminal traffic offenses in Vista and San Diego, including charges related to driving without a valid license or driving on a suspended or revoked license.
If you need a skilled, experienced attorney with a track record of success fighting these types of motor vehicle-related charges, please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free consultation. You will receive top quality representation for a reasonable fee.
About Driving With a Suspended License Charges in California
If you have had your driver’s license suspended or revoked, you might be tempted to drive, hoping your chances of getting pulled over will be slim. If you are stopped by the police though, you’ll certainly regret the decision, as driving on a suspended or revoked license, charged under California Vehicle Code 14601.1 (a) (VC), carries a number of very serious consequences. If you are being charged with driving after having your license suspended or license, please call attorney Peter M. Liss.
Reasons For DMV License Suspensions
There are many reasons your driving privileges can be revoked or suspended. These may include:
- Being charged with a DUI
- Getting convicted of certain drug crimes
- Failing to maintain auto insurance
- Forgetting to file a SR1 traffic collision report after an accident
- Being convicted for many offenses in the juvenile court system
- Having a medical condition that prevents you from driving safely
- Neglecting to pay child support
- Failing to appear in court on a traffic ticket
- Being convicted for vehicular homicide
- Getting too many points on your DMV record
- and more
In some limited cases, the DMV may even permanently prohibit someone from legally driving. This is almost always because someone has been convicted of using a motor vehicle as a deadly weapon in an act of road rage or due to someone being a habitual traffic offender who was caught driving before their license was reinstated.
Call a License Suspension Lawyer Immediately
Whatever the reason for the suspension or revocation of your license, driving with a suspended license is a misdemeanor criminal charge, and you can be arrested and taken into custody. This is a serious charge that requires a top criminal defense lawyer. It’s also worth mentioning that the US Supreme Court has held that the simple fact that a vehicle belongs to someone with a suspended license is sufficient grounds for the police to pull someone over, so it is difficult to argue that the officer lacked reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle in these cases.
Penalties for Driving with a License Suspension
Violating a driver’s license suspension or revocation is a misdemeanor charge punishable by a fine of up to $1000 and six months in jail. This offense will also result in the DMV adding two points to your driving record and these points will still be added even if your defense attorneys are able to plea the case down to an infraction. A driver who gets four points in a year is considered a negligent operator and faces an additional six month DMV suspension.
The consequences may be increased if you have prior criminal driving convictions and, in cases where your received a license suspension after getting a DUI, you may be forced to install an ignition interlock device on your car. If you have been declared a habitual traffic offender after you were involved in a number of serious car accidents, moving citations or automobile-related crimes and are then convicted for driving with a suspended license, you could have your driving privileges permanently revoked and you could also face a mandatory vehicle impoundment.
However, alternative sentences may be given in certain cases. Because the potential penalties are severe, it is important to obtain an skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to obtain the best results under the particular facts and law of your case. Your attorney’s knowledge of defenses, sentencing guidelines, and alternative sentencing options will be vital to obtaining the best possible outcome given your specific circumstances.
Defenses to the Charges
Each case requires a different defense, which is why it’s so critical to never speak with the police without a skilled lawyer at your side. Possible defenses to driving with a suspended license include showing that you were not actually driving at the time, were driving on private property (which does not include a parking lot open to the public), that you actually did have a valid license at the time you were stopped, that you were not aware that your license was suspended or revoked, that you were only driving as a result of a legitimate emergency and more.
About Driving Without a Valid License
While continuing to drive after receiving a license suspension or revocation is a crime that is taken very seriously, you can also face charges for driving without a valid license. This doesn’t just include teens or adults who drive before they got a license from the DMV, but also those who drive after their license expires or who move to California and fail to obtain a new driver’s license within 20 days. In fact, under California Vehicle Code section 12500 (VC), these crimes could even be misdemeanors, punishable by jail time.
Penalties for Driving Without a License
Driving without a license is a less severe (although similar) crime to driving after getting a license suspension or revocation. That’s because if your driver’s license has been suspended, it is generally assumed that you have already violated a major driving law -getting a DUI, for example. This is why driving after your license has been suspended is a misdemeanor (although lawyers can sometimes have the charges reduced to an infraction), but driving without a license can be charged as either an infraction or a misdemeanor offense.
While driving on a suspended license carries a minimum jail sentence, there is no minimum sentence for those caught driving without a license. Additionally, driving without a valid license does not add a point to your driving record.
In most cases where someone failed to renew their license or obtain a new license after moving to the state are charged as infractions, punishable by $250 in fines. This is especially true if the driver renews their license or gets a California state license within 20 days of the time they were pulled over.
Of course, if you never obtained a license, especially if you are a minor too young to get a license, the charge is much more likely to be a misdemeanor. As a misdemeanor, you could face a fine of up to $1,000 and six months in jail, although it is rare for someone to be sentenced to jail for a first time offense.
Facing Charges for Driving Without a License?
One of the best things you can do in order to fight charges related to 12500 (VC) is to get a legal California driver’s license as soon as possible, which will usually result in the charges being reduced to an infraction. If this isn’t an option because you were too young, it’s possible you may also be charged with another offense, such as joyriding. In this case, your no-license driving lawyer may be able to negotiate a plea bargain where you are only charged with driving without a license, helping you escape other, more serious charges.
A strong defense to this crime may include the fact that you live out of state or only moved to California in the past 20 days. Similarly, if you have a legal license, but just didn’t have it with you at the time you were stopped, proving you have a license will result in the charges being changed to failure to present a driver’s license, which is only an infraction.
Finally, if you were driving someone to the hospital due to a medical emergency or were reacting to any other form of emergency, you have a full defense against the charges in court.
How a Vista Suspended License Lawyer Can Help
When you hire me as your lawyer, I will help you in every way I can. This means keeping you advised and updated about your case, arguing to have your bail reduced or to have you released on your own recognizance if you were arrested after getting pulled over and making court motions on your behalf, such as suppressing evidence that was gathered illegally. I will also investigate your case and gather evidence to support your defense.
Early in your case I will work to have your charges dropped or reduced whenever possible, then I will relentlessly fight for you in a plea bargain or trial. For most cases, you will not need to go to court. If you are convicted, I will always strive to get you the lowest possible sentence or an alternative sentence such as house arrest or community service.
My Law Offices Make Things Easy
When you contact my offices, someone will always answer no matter what the day or time thanks to my 24-hour, in-person answering service. I promise a courteous and prompt response because I know how scary it can be to face criminal charges like these. My offices are conveniently located, accept all major credit cards and both locations offer free parking. My Vista law firm is directly across the street from the North County San Diego Jail and Courthouse. My Carmel Valley office is more centrally located in San Diego County, located beside the 5 and 805 freeways.
Personal Service and Quality Representation
From your initial consultation to the time your case is resolved, I will be the only attorney to handle your case. I assure all my clients they will receive top-quality representation for a reasonable fee and have the experience to back up this guarantee, starting with a law degree from the prestigious University of California, Berkeley Law School. Over the 35 years I have been practicing law, I have tried over 100 criminal trials including many charges related to driving without a license or driving on a suspended or revoked license.
If you or someone in your family has been arrested for or charged with a driving-related offense, including 12500 (VC) or 14601.1 (VC), please call me for a free initial consultation to learn how I can help you.