California Vehicle Code Section 14601.5 VC: Driving On A Suspended Or Revoked License Caused By Refusal Or Specified Blood Alcohol Level

1. Definition and Elements of the Crimesuspended or revoked license

While it is always illegal to drive on a suspended or revoked license, the potential criminal penalties will vary depending on the underlying reason for the license suspension or revocation. Under California Vehicle Code Section 14601.5 VC, it is against the law to drive on a suspended or revoked license when that suspension or revocation was caused by a California Department of Motor Vehicles administrative action regarding a DUI refusal or driving with a specified blood alcohol level.

For the defendant to be found guilty of this offense, the following elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The defendant drove a motor vehicle.

  2. The defendant's driving privilege had been previously suspended or revoked for failing to take a chemical test or for driving with a specified blood alcohol level.

  3. The defendant had knowledge that his or her driving privilege had been suspended or revoked.

The BAC that will trigger an administrative suspension is typically 0.08 or higher for those who are 21 and older who are not on probation for any DUI sentence. For those under 21 and those who are on probation for DUI, a BAC of 0.01 or higher would trigger a license suspension.

2. Related Offenses

Other similar or related offenses include:

  1. Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License - California Vehicle Code Section 14601 VC

  2. Driving with a Suspended License for a DUI Conviction - California Vehicle Code Section 14601.2 VC

  3. Driving without a License - California Vehicle Code Section 12500 VC
3. Examples

A man is arrested for driving with a BAC of 0.08 or higher and is given notice of an impending license suspension. The man files a timely hearing request with the DMV and has a hearing before a DMV hearing officer, who rules against the man and reimposes the license suspension. The man later goes to court on the criminal DUI case and the charges are dismissed based on problems with the vehicle stop. The man assumes that he is free to drive due to the dismissal, despite the fact that the administrative suspension was sustained. This man could be charged with driving on a suspended license in violation of California Vehicle Code Section 14601.5 VC.

In another example, a man is arrested for DUI and refuses to submit to chemical testing. The man is issued a suspension by the police and he files a timely request to challenge the suspension with the DMV. The license suspension is stayed pending the outcome of the administrative hearing. The man has the hearing but is never informed of the outcome of the hearing or of the re-imposition of his suspension because the DMV sent his paperwork, including notice of suspension, to an incorrect address. This man would have a valid defense if he is charged criminally under California Vehicle Code Section 14601.5 VC, as he was never provided notice of the suspension as required by law.

4. Defenses to Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License Caused by Refusal or Specified Blood Alcohol Level

As described above, one of the elements of this offense requires that the defendant actually knew about the suspension or revocation at the time the driving conduct occurred. If proper notice was not given to the defendant, the defendant would not be guilty of this offense.

5. Penalties

California Vehicle Code Section 14601.5 VC is a misdemeanor offense and those convicted can be sentenced to serve up to six months in jail. If the defendant has a prior California Vehicle Code Section 14601 VC conviction within the previous five years, the sentencing judge must impose a minimum of ten days in jail.

6. Criminal Defense for Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License Caused by Refusal or Specified Blood Alcohol Level

If you or a loved one have been charged with this offense, it is crucial that you discuss your case with an experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney. Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who has had great success in fighting all types of charges involving suspended and/or revoked licenses on behalf of his clients.

For more information about driving on a suspended or revoked license caused by a refusal or specified blood alcohol level, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Kraut at the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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