The general misconception is that there is a restricted license for almost anything. This cannot be any further from the truth. Unfortunately, it is hard to explain the details of why this is without going into convoluted legal statutes around license suspensions. To get a restricted license, you must first figure out what statute (law) your license is suspended under, AND you have to figure out if there is a possibility for a restricted license under that specific statute, AND you have to see if you can get that restricted license based on your own circumstances (so if you don’t have a job and do not go to school, you can’t argue you need a restricted license for work and school even if there is one available!). The restriction may come from the court or the DMV, so you will have to follow the legal procedures accordingly.
Here I will briefly dive into violation of license suspension, which I run into alot in my practice. The below are license suspension violations under VC 14601. Unfortunately, the question of “can I get a restricted license” comes up usually after someone is caught and charged with a license suspension violation. I am highlighting these offenses to stress that driving under a suspended license is a crime, and can be punishable by jail time! And yes, in my county, they do ask for some substantial jail time for a such a simple avoidable offense! Therefore, it is important to take care of license suspension right away OR figure out a way to get a restricted license for daily necessities. So, in short, if you get a letter in the mail notifying you of a license suspension (or if you were in court and the judge snatched your license), seek an attorney immediately to set up a license suspension hearing, or to find an restricted license if there is one available.
License suspensions violations are under § 14601, § 14601.1, § 14601.2, § 14601.3, § 14601.4, § 14601.5. Each covers different reasons for suspension/revocation and has different punishments. Under each statute, driving while license is suspended or revoked is a crime if the driver has knowledge of the suspension or revocation.
VC § 14601 can stem from a conviction of reckless driving VC § 23013, 23104. VC § 14601 can also stem from VC § 12805 subsections b through f regarding alcoholism, lapse of consciousness, marked confusion, lack of skill, unable to learn the road, illiteracy. VC § 14601 can also stem from negligent or incompetent operation (VC § 12809(e) and § 12810).
VC § 14601. (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 has knowledge of the suspension or revocation. Knowledge shall be conclusively presumed if mailed notice has been given by the department to the person pursuant to Section 13106. The presumption established by this subdivision is a presumption affecting the burden of proof.
VC § 14601.1 is the most frequently seen, partly because it is a catch-all. This is a suspension or revocation from any reason not stated in VC § 14601, VC § 14601.2, VC § 14601.5. So this statute alone catches pretty much anything else under the sun!! The most frequent I have seen is suspension for failure to appears (FTA). In these cases I usually have to go back to court to clear all the previous failure to appears to get rid of the ongoing license suspension.
VC § 14601.1. (a) No person shall drive a motor vehicle when his or herdriving privilege is suspended or revoked for any reason other thanthose listed in Section 14601, 14601.2, or 14601.5, if the person sodriving has knowledge of the suspension or revocation. Knowledgeshall be conclusively presumed if mailed notice has been given by thedepartment to the person pursuant to Section 13106. The presumption established by this subdivision is a presumption affecting the burden of proof.
VC § 14601.2 stems from VC§ 23152, 23153, PC 191.5, and PC 192(c)(3) — conviction of drunk driving or intoxicated vehicular manslaughter.
14601.2. (a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle at any time when that person’s driving privilege is suspended or revoked for a conviction of a violation of Section 23152 or 23153 if the person so driving has knowledge of the suspension or revocation.
However, part B of this statute allows a restricted license for the purpose it is approved for (work, school, driving to DUI school). This is frequently used in DUI cases. (b) Except in full compliance with the restriction, a person shall not drive a motor vehicle at any time when that person’s driving privilege is restricted if the person so driving has knowledge of the restriction.
VC § 14601.3 is the designation for a driver who already has a suspended or revoked license; who has accumulated a certain amount of points. Under the statute, these cases will be forwarded to the District Attorney to decide if they want to prosecute the case criminally, and the crime is punishable by a sentence in county jail.
14601.3. (a) It is unlawful for a person whose driving privilege has been suspended or revoked to accumulate a driving record history which results from driving during the period of suspension or revocation. A person who violates this subdivision is designated an habitual traffic offender.
VC § 14601.4 is the punishment for causing injury while suspended under a conviction for drunk driving or intoxicated vehicular manslaughter.
14601.4. (a) It is unlawful for a person, while driving a vehicle with a license suspended or revoked pursuant to Section 14601.2 to do an act forbidden by law or neglect a duty imposed by law in the driving of the vehicle, which act or neglect proximately causes bodily injury to a person other than the driver. In proving the person neglected a duty imposed by law in the driving of the vehicle,it is not necessary to prove that a specific section of this code was violated.
VC § 14601.5 are license suspension violations from a refusal of chemical tests.
14601.5. (a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle at any timewhen that person’s driving privilege is suspended or revoked pursuantto Section 13353, 13353.1, or 13353.2 and that person has knowledgeof the suspension or revocation.
If you are faced with a license suspension, or have violated license suspension, please seek help from an attorney that specializes in traffic and DUI issues.