Suspended License Attorney

A suspended driver’s license can lead to a range of issues. When a California resident loses the ability to drive, they may struggle with employment, family commitments, and access to health care. To keep up with their basic duties and obligations, a person may feel forced to drive with a suspended license, despite the potential penalties they might face.

While it is possible to have a suspended license reinstated after a hearing, these legal procedures can be challenging to navigate with any degree of efficiency. To approach these issues effectively, you will need to partner with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in California.

This article will explain everything you need to know about a suspended license in California, including the nature of license suspension hearings, the possible consequences of driving with a suspended license, and how a dedicated driver’s license suspension attorney can help.

Need help navigating your suspended license case? Our criminal defense attorneys can offer legal advice, help explore your eligibility for license reinstatement, and pursue mitigation of your penalties. Contact our law office online to get started.

What Happens at License Suspension Hearings?

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in California may carry out a legal hearing to make decisions about driver licensing. There are several potential outcomes of these hearings, including revocation or suspension.

DMV hearings are overseen by “hearing officers” rather than judges. These officers must carefully review the evidence and circumstances related to driving-related issues. You may face a suspended license for various violations. Common examples include:

  • Driving under the influence (DUI) convictions
  • Too many points on your driving record
  • Alleged medical conditions that affect your driving ability
  • Driving without valid insurance
  • Failing to pay traffic tickets
  • Three at-fault collisions as a minor
  • Reckless driving

During a DMV hearing, you will have a chance to make arguments regarding your specific issue. Note that a suspended license attorney can represent you during the hearing and make these arguments on your behalf. You can present evidence during this process, and this might include police reports, witness statements, and character references. Note that although similar, DMV hearings and criminal trials are different legal procedures.

If your hearing goes well, you may have the ability to continue driving. An experienced suspended license attorney can present your case in a respectable, efficient manner, reducing the chances of suspension or revocation. They may also negotiate with the DMV for reduced penalties.

Fighting Class C and CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) Suspensions

Those who drive for a living have a much greater incentive to fight potential suspensions, as a license revocation or suspension also means a loss of access to income. This applies to truckers, taxi drivers, rideshare drivers, food delivery workers, postal workers, UPS workers, and any other worker who must be able to drive for a living.

These individuals typically have special Class C or Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs). Commercial drivers face much higher standards compared to other motorists in California. They can only drive with a BAC level of 0.04, which is half the normal level of 0.08. In addition, they face the prospect of losing their license after just two serious traffic violations within three years. Even offenses that are totally unrelated to driving (such as failing to pay child support) can result in a CDL suspension, and some offenses can lead to a lifetime suspension of your CDL.

You may contest a CDL hearing within 10 days of receiving an Order of Suspension. After a successful hearing, you may have your CDL reinstated—usually after you have served the full period of suspension. Often, this is a mandatory minimum of 30 days. In addition, you may obtain a non-commercial driver’s license after a CDL suspension. Although this will not allow you to continue driving a commercial vehicle, it can help with daily needs.

How Can a Suspended License Attorney Help Me at the Hearing?

Although there is no requirement to obtain legal representation during a DMV hearing, a suspended license attorney can help in several ways. These legal professionals have extensive knowledge of the bureaucracy and processes that surround the DMV. These processes are needlessly complex, and they can be very difficult to understand without legal assistance.

Many suspended license attorneys also have experience with litigation. They can present oral arguments, question evidence laid against you, and present various documents during the hearing. In addition, these attorneys often have solid negotiating skills. With the right negotiation tactics, your attorney can work out a deal with the DMV that keeps you on the road.

Criminal Consequences for Driving on a Suspended License in California

VC 14601.1(a) states that you will face several consequences for driving on a suspended or revoked license in California. For a first offense, you could face jail time of up to six months and a fine of $300. For a second offense within five years, you face a mandatory minimum jail sentence of five days and a mandatory minimum fine of $500.

You can also face up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000 for a second offense. Driving on a suspended license comes with serious risks. Instead of accepting these risks, a more logical course of action would be to pursue positive results during your DMV hearing.

Defending Against Driving on a Suspended License Charges

You are only guilty of driving on a suspended license if you did so knowingly. If you legitimately did not know about the suspension or revocation, the court cannot find you guilty. However, prosecutors can argue that your knowledge was “presumed” as long the DMV mailed you an official notice of your revocation. Note that under VC 14601.1(a), you do not need to receive this mail for the burden of proof to be satisfied.

Another valid defense involves driving vehicles on private property. Since you only need a valid license to drive on public roads, you may be perfectly justified in driving on a suspended license within the boundaries of your land. This also applies to your business or your employer’s premises. For example, your employer might task you with driving a truck on their farmland, and you could legally do so without a valid license.

Suspended License Attorney FAQs

If you still have questions about your case, the best way to find answers is by speaking with a license suspension lawyer. In the meantime, read through the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.

• What Is Driver’s License Fraud in California?

Under PC 470a, you face criminal consequences for altering, forging, or duplicating a driver’s license. This is a felony in California, and it may lead to a maximum prison sentence of three years. Another example of driver’s license fraud is driving with someone else’s license, and this can lead to allegations of identity theft.

• Will I Lose My License if I Miss the Court Hearing?

The DMV states that if you request a hearing and do not attend, the court will proceed with the case anyway. You will not have the chance to present evidence or arguments, and a suspension is all but guaranteed.

• Can I Keep My License Without Car Insurance?

It is theoretically possible to maintain a valid driver’s license without traditional car insurance. Alternatives include surety bonds or cash securities. The value of these insurance alternatives must be at least $35,000. For most people, however, traditional car insurance represents the only viable option. Driving without any form of insurance may result in various fines.

Contact a Suspended License Attorney in California Today

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If you’re facing license suspension in California, don’t give up—an experienced suspended license attorney in can help you maintain your driving privileges. Access to reliable transport is an essential part of life in California, whether you’re a single mom, a trucker, or an office worker.

With help from Gressley & Donaldson, you can navigate suspension hearings with efficiency and confidence. A qualified license suspension attorney from our law firm can also help you fight criminal charges if you were caught driving without a valid license. Book your consultation today to determine the most appropriate course of legal action.

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We understand that being accused of a crime is one of the most challenging times of your life. Rely on us to advocate for your rights and to give you the defense you deserve.