San Diego Suspended License Attorney

San Diego Driver's License Lawyer
California's unlicensed driver laws can carry severe penalties, especially for repeat offenses.  California makes it a crime to drive without a license (VC 12500), while license is suspended (VC 14601), while license is suspended for DUI conviction (VC 14601.2), while license suspended for DUI arrest(VC 14601.5) and habitual traffic offenders who have been caught driving on a suspended license multiple times (VC 14601.3).  Our office has a great track record of getting these charges dismissed or reduced.  In addition to representing clients in court, our firm helps clients to clear any warrants/holds, as well as satisfy any DMV conditions to get a license reinstated.  Since getting a license is the best way to improve the outcome in a criminal case, we can request additional time in court to allow time to reinstate your driving privilege.  We can typically recall warrants within two days, and clear DMV holds caused by failure to appear in court quickly.  No matter how complex your license suspension, contact a lawyer to discuss your best way to restore your driving privilege to avoid future legal problems and get the best possible result in your pending traffic or criminal case.

Vehicle Code Section 12500 prohibits driving without a license, or driving on an expired license, in California.  This offense can be charged as a misdemeanor in criminal court or as in infraction in traffic court.  Fines for driving without a license can be pretty hefty, and once the penalty assessments are added in, can be in the thousands.

Driving on a suspended license is more serious than driving without a license.  The most common reason that drivers suffer a license suspension is for a failure to appear in court on a traffic ticket or misdemeanor case.  Additionally, a license may be suspended for accumulating too many points for other traffic violations.  Driving on a suspended license convictions are "priorable" and carry two points on your DMV record.  If not handled properly, suspended license issues can become like quicksand, making it more and more difficult to restore your driving privilege, and the costs can become enormous.

Driving while your privilege is suspended due to DUI is even more significant, with mandatory jail time.  In addition, being caught driving on a license suspended due to DUI may trigger additional license suspensions or the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device.  DUI suspensions also frequently go alongside probation, meaning that driving on a suspended license due to DUI is most often accompanied by a probation violation.  With DUI probation in San Diego typically lasting 5 years, it is unlikely that someone convicted of DUI would still have a license suspension without still being on probation.  It is also not uncommon for someone to get a second DUI charge while having a license suspension and being on probation from a prior DUI arrest.  These situations can be messy and lead to jail time.
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Drivers who have repeatedly been stopped without a license can suffer very serious consequences as a "habitual traffic offender."  VC 14601.3 penalties include a minimum of 180 days in county jail!  If you or a loved one has received repeated driving on a suspended license issues, know that the consequences of continuing to drive can be severe.  Consult with a San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney to discuss your case and how to avoid these harsh punishments.


An arrest or citation for driving without a license or driving on a suspended license can lead to a 30 day impound of the vehicle, at the vehicle owner's expense.  The easiest way to recover an impounded vehicle is for the driver (unlicensed at the time of the impound) to appear with a driver's license.  Having an attorney who is experienced with DMV and court suspensions is a good start towards getting the license back and recovering the vehicle.  If the driver cannot obtain a license, but the registered owner needs the vehicle, it may be possible to get the vehicle released based on a hardship request.  Contact an attorney to discuss the best way to get your car back.

Since officers cannot determine a driver's license status from simply seeing a vehicle, enforcement can be difficult and is "incidental" in nature; i.e. unlicensed driver citations/arrests just happen to occur during some traffic stops.  Law enforcement agencies have, however, begun to engage in targeted enforcement practices.  Some small law enforcement agencies log vehicles that they have stopped previously with an unlicensed driver.  A new technique police departments are using is to identify defendants in criminal cases who are driving on a suspended license and follow them out of court.  Officers will have the court calendar from the following day and can seek out individuals with the worst driving records.  Upon seeing them leave the courthouse, plain clothes officers will follow suspected habitual traffic offenders out of court and to their vehicles.  Driving without a license is always illegal, but driving to court without a license is especially dangerous.

Possessing a fake driver's license can be treated seriously in California. 
PC 470 (forgery), PC 472 (forgery of a government seal) and VC 14610 (unlawful acts with a driver's license) can carry serious penalties, including a criminal misdemeanor charge, a one year driver's license suspension, jail time, community labor and probation.  Additionally, a fake driver's license can be a crime involving moral turpitude for immigration purposes. 

Facing charges involving driving without a license, suspended license or possession of a counterfeit license can all be very serious in San Diego.  If you or a loved one has been arrested or charged with one of these driving offenses, contact the Law Offices of Nicholas Loncar now for a Free Consultation with a San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney.   We can discuss the details of your case, as well as determining what defenses apply and get started on your defense.

Nicholas M. Loncar, Esq.
San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney
San Diego Expungements Lawyer
By Nicholas Loncar   


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