Have you recently been arrested and charged with an offense under CA Vehicle Code 14601.3 as a habitual traffic offender? If so, it is critical that you take steps to clear your name of these allegations.
The consequences of a guilty verdict could significantly impact your life for years to come. With help from a dedicated Los Angeles DUI attorney, you can protect your license, career, and future. Contact our team for a confidential case review today and learn more about what is next for your defense.
More About California Vehicle Code 14601.3 VC
California Vehicle Code 14601.3 is the law that determines who habitual traffic offenders (HTOs) are and the consequences they will face upon such designation. Habitual traffic offender status can apply when an individual accumulates points on their driving history for driving with a revoked or suspended license.
For the district attorney to prove that an individual is a habitual traffic offender, they must meet the following elements:
- The defendant was driving a motor vehicle
- The defendant’s driving privileges were revoked or in suspension
- The defendant knew that their driver’s license was revoked or suspended
Additionally, within one year of your license suspension or revocation, you obtained the following:
- 2+ convictions that resulted in two points added to your driving record
- 3+ convictions that resulted in one point added to your driving record
- 3+ accidents that required reporting under CA Vehicle Code 16000.2
Offenses Related to CA Vehicle Code 14601.3 VC
There are several offenses related to California Vehicle Code 14601.3. These include:
Failing to Present a Valid Driver’s License Under California Vehicle Code 12951
When you fail to present a valid driver’s license, you can face misdemeanor charges under CA VC 12951. If convicted, you could face fines of up to $1,000 and as many as six months in a California county jail.
Driving with a Suspended Driver’s License Under California Vehicle Code 14601
Anyone who knowingly drives a motor vehicle with a revoked or suspended driver’s license can expect these charges. Generally, once notices are sent from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), they assume you know your driver’s license is suspended or revoked. This is considered a misdemeanor offense, punishable by considerable fines and incarceration in a county jail.
Driving without a Valid Driver’s License Under California Vehicle Code 12500(a)
Driving without a valid driver’s license under California law is a wobbler. You could be charged with an infraction or misdemeanor, depending on the specific details of your case.
If charged with an infraction, you could face fines of up to $250. If charged with a misdemeanor, penalties could be much more substantial, including the $250 plus up to six months in county jail.
Penalties of a Conviction for Being a Habitual Traffic Offender
You could face several potential consequences if designated as a habitual traffic offender. The specific penalties will vary depending on your prior convictions. For example, when you receive your first conviction, you could face up to 30 days in county jail and be ordered to pay fines up to $1,000.
However, second and subsequent offenses within seven years could result in up to 180 days in county jail and fines of up to $2,000 per conviction.
Challenges Allegations Under Vehicle Code 14601.3 VC
You can defend yourself in several ways when accused of being a habitual traffic offender. You may be able to work out a plea agreement or enter a pretrial diversion program with the approval of the prosecuting attorney.
However, if this is not possible in your case, your LA DUI attorney can figure out which defenses are most suitable for your case. Some of the top potential defenses include:
- Driving out of necessity
- You did not know your license was suspended or revoked
- You were unlawfully or falsely arrested
Driving Out of Necessity
You can avoid being designated a habitual traffic offender or the conviction associated with your case by showing that you needed to operate a motor vehicle with a suspended license or commit any other type of moving violation. If you had no choice but to drive out of necessity, you should avoid a conviction.
Some examples of valid reasons for driving out of necessity or committing moving violations include:
- A medical emergency
- Responding to your vehicle’s mechanical failure or defect
- Fleeing a dangerous situation
No Knowledge of License Suspension
You can only face criminal charges under California Vehicle Code 14601.3 if you knew your driver’s license was revoked or suspended. Generally, the California DMV assumes you are aware of your restricted driving privileges after sending you a notice by mail.
However, you could avoid a conviction if you have yet to receive a suspension or revocation notice and did not know your driver’s license was suspended or revoked. For example, you should not be found guilty if you moved and the DMV sent your suspension or revocation notice to your old address.
False or Unlawful Arrest
It is not unusual for individuals to be falsely accused or unlawfully arrested for charges under California Vehicle Code 14601.3. Suppose the prosecuting attorney lax sufficient evidence to prove that you committed a moving violation or criminal offense.
In that case, your attorney could get the charges against you dismissed by filing a motion with the court. If we introduce evidence showing you were unlawfully detained or arrested, the state may be willing to drop the charges entirely.
Get Help Facing Your Vehicle Code 14601.3 VC Habitual Traffic Offender Charges in California Today
Whether you are facing an infraction or criminal charges as a habitual traffic offender under California Vehicle Code 14601.3 VC, it is important to take steps to protect your reputation.
Avoid the devastating penalties of a conviction when you get help from an experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney. Access the legal help you need when you need it most by calling our office or completing our confidential contact form to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today.