Driving on Suspended License
An individual's drivers license can be suspended for a variety of reasons, too many points, a DUI, no insurance, failure to pay child support, FTA, among many others. When a person is caught driving while their privilege to operate a motor vehicle has been suspended or revoked the consequences an be quite severe. California Law requires a Judge to impose jail time in cases where the suspension was due to a previous drunk driving conviction and if a driver has multiple priors for the same offense or is currently on probation for another matter the Court can incarcerate someone for up to one year, or more, in the County Jail.
Fortunately, there are defenses and legal strategies that can be employed to avoid or mitigate the harsh sanctions which could flow from a driving on a suspended license ticket or arrest. A local criminal defense lawyer like Matthew Ruff has years of experience stepping in and saving his clients from incarceration, heavy fines and prolonged suspensions which result from a conviction for driving while your license was suspended, even when the prior case was when they were under 21 .
For first offense driving while license is suspended due to a prior DUI arrest or conviction, the Court punishment will usually be a substantial fine, mandatory jail, and the installation of an ignition interlock device which must be equipped on all vehicle owned by the defendant. A plea of guilty or no contest to any violation of Vehicle Code 14601 will also carry the added consequence of two points on the person's DMV record which will remain there for a period of ten years. Multiple driving on suspended license convictions usually carry mandatory jail, anywhere from 30 days to one year. A particularly effective approach in 14601 cases is to utilize a little known disposition called a deferred sentence. A Lawyer can lend significant guidance in achieving a disposition which may not carry jail time or the much dreaded and costly ignition interlock.
For many, the real danger in trying to handle a driving on a suspended license case on their own is the "snowball effect". This is when the accused goes to Court, without an attorney, pleads no contest to the violation and is unaware of the subsequent consequences that come later. First, they will often get a notice from the DMV that their license is going to be suspended for having more that three points in a twelve month period (called a negligent operator suspension). Second, comes the notice of a violation of probation from the previous DUI conviction ( most DUI charges carry a period of summary probation lasting three to five years). Third, comes the notice of cancellation of insurance due to having another serious violation on their DMV record. Add to the above possible job loss and other collateral consequences. Avoid the "snowball effect" call an experienced driving on a suspended license attorney, most can minimize the evil associated with the VC14601 and possibly obtain an outcome that will save more than just your CDL.
Many people do not know that it is possible to be convicted of driving while your license is suspended even when the person does not have a valid California Drivers License, or many has no license at all. The crime is one of operating a vehicle when the privilege has been suspended or revoked. For over fifteen years defense attorney Matthew Ruff has not only been helping good, ordinary people avoid jail on 14601 charges, he also will assist in seeing to it the client gets their driving privilege restored or reinstated whenever possible. The attorney practices in and has achieved case dismissals in all Southern and Central California Courts including Kern and Los Angeles Counties: LAX Airport, Hill Street Metro, Torrance South Bay, Bellflower, Bakersfield, Long Beach, Compton, San Pedro, Palos Verdes, among many others, for cases involving all types of traffic and license charges.
It is commonly accepted that the law in this area of the Vehicle Code is extremely complex and in a constant state of flux. There can be little doubt that a lay person is completely out of his or her element when trying to defend a driving while the license is suspended or operating a car without a license. For example, recently the California State Court issued an opinion relevant to criminal defense practitioners holding that in a criminal prosecution for violations of Veh. Code, 14601.1, subd. (a), where the Department of Motor Vehicles had suspended defendants' driving privileges, the trial court erred in dismissing the complaints on the ground that the section did not apply to persons, such as defendants, who had never been issued driver's licenses, concluding that defendants could only be prosecuted under Veh. Code 12500 (unlawful to drive unless licensed). Section 14601.1, subd. (a) applies to the privilege of driving upon the highways, which is separate and apart from the licensing of a person to operate a motor vehicle. People v. Matas (1988) 200 Cal App 3d Supp 7.
As a Los Angeles Suspended License Attorney, Mr. Ruff is often called upon to render advice to those facing a Court appearance due to a ticket or citation for driving while their license was suspended. In these instances he first reassures his clients that he will go to Court for them and speak to the Judge on their behalf, as an officer of the Court. He will strive to get the case dismissed or dropped whenever possible and he will help the client move on with their life.
Here are a few recent examples of driving on suspended license cases that attorney Matthew Ruff has handled:
On May 10, 2010 Matthew was able to get VC 14601 charges dropped for a client in Inglewood Court. The client was facing over a year in jail inasmuch as the District Attorney had him charged with driving on a suspended license with 4 prior convictions, one of which was a VC14603 habitual traffic offender. The problem in the case was that the client was on DMV probation at the time of his arrest and if he were to be convicted of any traffic related offense he would violate the probation and incur another one year suspension. Fortunately, Matthew understood the dynamics involved and worked out a deal for a non-vehicle code charge with a minor fine and no jail in Division 3 of the L.A. Superior Court, Inglewood.
In another case Matthew represented a client charged with VC14601 in LAX Airport Court. The driving on a suspended license complaint also alleged 3 separate prior convictions for the same offense. As is often the case for clients facing these offenses, the DMV would take his license away if he were convicted. Matthew Ruff negotiated a disposition that did not result in any traffic code violation and saved the client's drivers license with the DMV on April 30, 2010 in Division 140 of the Los Angeles Superior Court, LAX Airport.
Contact the Law Offices of Matthew Ruff for professional help in defending criminal license suspension cases, call us toll free at 1-877-213-4453.