Driving on a Suspended License (VC 14601.1) or Driving without a Valid License (VC 12500)
Have you been cited for a violation of Vehicle Code Section 14601.1 or Vehicle Code Section 12500? If so, these types of offenses can either be cited as misdemeanors ("M" circled on the ticket) or infractions ("I" circled on the ticket). The differences between misdemeanors and infractions resolves around the punishment for them. How they operate at the court is different depending on whether the tickets are filed as misdemeanors or infractions:
If filed as a misdemeanor, the case would have a prosecuting agency assigned to the charges. If it is in San Diego and the downtown court house it would be the City Attorney's office prosecuting the case. If it is in the El Cajon, Chula Vista or Vista court locations the District Attorney's office would prosecute the charges. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor conviction you would be place on probation for three years, receive a fine around $400- $700, and could possibly face jail time. When you receive a misdemeanor citation for driving on a suspended license or driving without a license, you may be able to negotiate the case with the prosecuting agency to try to get the charges reduced to infractions, or receive diversion where you can complete some volunteer work or community service, pay a smaller fine, and get the charges dismissed. Obtaining a valid license prior to the court case resolving will also help with attempting to get any reductions on the charges or work out a better resolution. An attorney can help clear up any outstanding tickets that may have caused the license suspension and also negotiate the charges with the prosecuting agency on your behalf. If you hire an attorney, you would not need to attend the court hearings and the attorney would do that for you. Give us a call to discuss your options on a misdemeanor charge of driving on a suspended license or driving without a license charge.
If the ticket you received was marked as an infraction with the "I" circled, then there may not be a prosecutor assigned to the case. Most infraction tickets here in San Diego County go to the traffic court in the area where you received the ticket. If that is the case, then contesting the ticket involves entering a not guilty plea to the charges for the first hearing (arraignment) and scheduling a trial date for a few months later. At the trial date, if the officer does not appear for the trial the court must dismiss the ticket. If the officer is there on the trial date, then it comes down to what the officer remembers and what he can prove. It may be possible to get the charges reduced or dismissed if you obtain a valid license prior to the trial date. The sooner you obtain the license following the ticket date the better. However, if you have a trial and lose you are looking at a fine between $400 and $700 depending on the charges. A driving on a suspended license (VC 14601.1) would count as two points on your driving record which could cause a significant increase in your auto insurance rates. A driving without a license charge does not count as any points on your driving record.
Give us a call to discuss either your driving on a suspended license charges or driving without a license charges and we can explain how we can help on the current charges and also how we can help get your driving record cleared up to allow you to obtain a license will will help with the charges.