It’s important to understand that driving with an expired license is completely different than driving on a suspended license in California.
An expired license is simply a license that you forgot to renew. While you will get a ticket if you’re caught driving on an expired license, that ticket is nothing compared to the trouble you would have gotten into if you’d been caught driving on a suspended license.
There are a variety of reasons why the State of California decided to suspend your driver’s license. Until the issue that led to the suspension of your license is resolved and the state is willing to reinstate your license, you’re not allowed to drive. There are no exceptions.
The topic of driving in California on a suspended license is addressed in Vehicle Code 14601.1(a) VC. The law clearly states that: “No person shall drive a motor vehicle when his or her driving privilege is suspended or revoked.”
If your license is suspended but you’re thinking about driving anyway, you’re not alone. Many people continue to drive and hope that they don’t get caught. Before you decide to slip behind the wheel even though you’re driving privileges have been revoked, you should know that if you get pulled over, you’ll be in serious legal trouble and could even spend some time inside a jail cell.
The State of California considers driving on a suspended California driver’s license to be breaking the law. If you’re convicted, a misdemeanor will go on your permanent record. The maximum sentence can include spending six months in jail and also being charged a $1,000 fine as well as being required to pay court costs.
There aren’t many defenses you can successfully use in a driving on a suspended license case. The only one that really works is that you had no knowledge that your license was suspended. This defense is usually only successfully used when the suspension is extremely new and the paperwork hasn’t had a chance to reach your address.
If you’re driving on a suspended license and get into an accident, the situation goes from bad to extremely bad. The fact that you didn’t have a valid driver’s license and shouldn’t have even been behind the wheel at the time of the accident increases the likelihood that the other people involved in the accident will name you as the defendant in a civil case. It’s also likely that your insurance company will refuse to cover the cost of the accident and will likely completely drop your policy.
If your California driver’s license is suspended, your best course of action is to get it reinstated as quickly as possible.