Being accused of driving with a suspended license for refusing to submit to a chemical blood alcohol test or having a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level could be devastating. When you are trying to rebuild your life, such allegations could turn your world upside down once more.
Fortunately, when you have an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer on your side, you can rest easier. We can analyze the circumstances of your case to determine how to best approach your defense strategy. Contact our office for a free consultation today to learn more about what legal options may be available to you.
When Can You Face Driving on a Suspended License for Refusal or High BAC Charges?
Under California Vehicle Code 14601.5, it is illegal for someone to drive with a suspended or revoked license if their license was suspended or revoked because of their refusal to submit to a chemical blood alcohol test or because they were driving with a BAC level that was considered high.
To prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the state’s prosecuting attorney will need to show that the elements of the crime have been met as follows:
- The defendant was aware that their license was suspended or revoked
- The defendant operated a motor vehicle while their license was suspended or revoked
- The defendant’s driver’s license was in suspension or revoked due to their failure to agree to a chemical BAC test or for driving with a high BAC
It is important to note that the department of motor vehicles mailing you notice of your license suspension or revocation is considered “having knowledge” of your suspension or revocation, even if you did not open or receive such a letter.
Offenses Related to Driving on a Suspended License
If you have been accused of driving with a suspended or revoked license due to your implied consent refusal or unlawful BAC levels, there are several other related offenses you could also be facing. Some of the more common crimes related to driving with a suspended license include:
- Driving under the influence under California Vehicle Code 23152 – Driving under the influence DUI involves having a blood alcohol concentration level of .08% or more. DUI charges are generally prosecuted as misdemeanor offenses that are punishable by jail time, installation of an ignition interlock device, completion of a driver retraining program, science, and suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, to name a few.
- Driving with a suspended or revoked license and causing serious bodily injury under California Vehicle Code 14601.4 – Driving with a suspended or revoked license and causing serious bodily injury to another could carry a county jail term of up to one year and fines as high as $2000 depending on whether you are a first time or subsequent offender.
- Driving with a suspended or revoked license following a conviction for DUI under California Vehicle Code 14601.2 – If you are found guilty of driving with a suspended or revoked license after you have been convicted of a DUI, you could spend up to six months in county jail and be fined up to $2,00 if you are charged with a misdemeanor.
Penalties for Driving on a Suspended License
If you are charged with driving with a suspended license due to refusing to submit to a chemical blood alcohol test or having a high BAC level, you will be facing misdemeanor charges. If this is your first offense, you could spend up to six months in county jail and pay fines as high as $1000. If this is your second offense, occurring within five years of your first offense, your fines could increase to $2,000, and you could be ordered to spend up to one year in county jail.
Alternatively, the judge may be willing to impose misdemeanor probation in lieu of jail time so you can begin to rebuild your life. If you are placed on probation, there are specific requirements you will need to meet if you hope to avoid being sent to jail or prison. Some of these requirements include:
- Random drug or alcohol testing
- Abstaining from drugs or alcohol
- Finding a job
- Finding safe housing
- Attend regular meetings with your probation officer
- Attend mental health counseling or therapy
- Complete a drug or alcohol treatment program
- Complete an anger management program
- Complete community service hours
How to Defend Against Driving on a Suspended License
Being accused of driving with a suspended license could have a significant impact on your life. If you do not qualify for a pre-trial diversion program or the prosecuting attorney is unwilling to work with you to obtain a plea agreement, you may need to present a powerful defense.
This could get your charges reduced or dismissed depending on the circumstances of your case. Some of the more common defenses used to challenge driving with a suspended or revoked license due to refusal or high BAC include:
- False accusations – Revenge, jealousy, and anger are just a few of the reasons why someone might falsely accuse you of driving with a suspended or revoked license, especially if they know you could face criminal charges for committing this offense.
- Lack of knowledge that your license was suspended or revoked – Once the DMV emails notice of suspension or revocation to you, you will be considered as having knowledge of the suspension. However, if your attorney can show that you did not have this knowledge, this defense may be viable.
- You were not driving – You can only be guilty of driving with a suspended or revoked license if you were actually operating the vehicle. If you were simply sitting in the driver’s seat, you should not be found guilty of this offense.
Contact a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer for Help Today
When allegations of driving on a suspended license after a prior DUI or implied consent conviction have taken over your life, it is important that you take action to protect your future.
Reach out to a dedicated Los Angeles DUI lawyer to learn more about how to clear your name of the charges against you. Fill out our contact form or call our office to schedule your confidential consultation as soon as today.