Vehicle Code 14601.4 VC - Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License Causing Injury
Suppose your driver's license has been suspended or revoked in California. In that case, driving a car under Vehicle Code 14601.1 VC is considered a crime.
Suppose your driver's license was suspended due to a DUI, and then you caused a bodily injury to someone while driving on that suspended license. In that case, you can be charged with a separate crime under Vehicle Code 14601.4 VC.
VC 14601.4 says, “(a) No person shall drive a motor vehicle at any time when that person's driving privilege is suspended or revoked for reckless driving in violation of Section 23103, 23104, or 23105, any reason listed in subdivision (a) or (c) of Section 12806 authorizing the department to refuse to issue a license, negligent or incompetent operation of a motor vehicle as prescribed in subdivision (e) of Section 12809, or negligent operation as prescribed in Section 12810.5 if the person so driving knows the suspension or revocation.”
(b) A person convicted under this section shall be punished as follows: (1) Upon a first conviction, by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than five days or more than six months and by a fine of not less than $300) or more than $1,000.
Subsection (c) states that when the prosecutor agrees to a plea of guilty or nolo contendere for violating Vehicle Code 14601.2 VC, the court will require the defendant to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle for up to three years. Let's review this law further below.
Vehicle Code 14601.4 VC - Explained
This statute has specific elements of the crime that must be proven for a conviction, such as you did all the following acts:
- drove a motor vehicle after having your driver's license suspended or revoked for DUI; and
- were aware your license had been suspended or revoked; and
- you violated a law or neglected a duty, and someone was injured.
Notably, to be charged for violating VC 14601.4, you must have had your driver's license suspended or revoked for the following DUI crimes:
- Vehicle Code 23152 VC - driving under the influence; or
- Vehicle Code 23153 VC - DUI causing injury.
Suppose the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) mailed you a notice about a driver's license suspension or revocation. In that case, you are presumed to know even if you did not see the notice.
What Are the Related Crimes?
Several California laws are related to driving on a suspended license causing injury defined under Vehicle Code 14601.4 VC, such as the following:
- Vehicle Code 23103 VC – reckless driving;
- Vehicle Code 14601 VC - driving on a suspended license;
- Vehicle Code 12500 VC – driving without a license;
- Vehicle Code 20001 VC – misdemeanor hit and run;
- Vehicle Code 20002 VC – felony hit and run;
- Vehicle Code 14601.2 VC – suspended license for DUI conviction.
What Are the Penalties for 14601.4?
Violations of this law are a misdemeanor offense. The sentence will depend on the case details and your criminal record. Still, the penalties include the following:
- first offense carries up to six months in jail and a $1000 fine;
- second offense within five years is one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
What Are the Defenses for 14601.4?
Suppose you were charged with driving on a suspended license and causing bodily injury. In that case, our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys can use various strategies to obtain the best possible outcome, as discussed below.
Maybe we could argue that you did not know that your driving privileges had been suspended or revoked. Sometimes, this approach can be a valid explanation and might avoid a conviction.
However, recall from above, the law presumes you knew about the suspension after the DMV mailed you the notice. Thus, we must show that the notice was not mailed or sent to the wrong address.
Maybe we can argue that there was no actual bodily injury. Suppose nobody was injured. In that case, you could avoid the more serious VC 14601.4 charges but could still face charges under driving on a suspended license under VC 14601.1(a),
Maybe we could argue that there was no unlawful act or neglect of duty. Recall that you must have caused a bodily injury due to an illegal act or negligence of duty, such as you were at fault in a car accident.
Suppose you were not at fault because you were following all traffic laws. In that case, we can say your actions did not cause injury to the other person.
Maybe we could argue that you were not convicted of a qualifying DUI offense. Recall from above that you must have been convicted of VC 23152 DUI or VC 23153 DUI causing injury for VC 14601.4 to apply.
Maybe we could negotiate with the prosecutor prefiling to avoid charges being filed in the first place. Perhaps we could arrange a favorable plea agreement. We offer a free case consultation by phone or using the contact form. Cron, Israels & Stark is based in Los Angeles, CA.