Driving with Suspended License (VC 14601):
It is illegal to drive or operate a vehicle when you know that your license has been suspended or revoked. The most common reasons for suspension or revocation are due to DUI conviction(s), mental or physical disabilities, or the result of negligent driving, placing too many points on your driving record.
Penalties (VC 14601)
Driving on a suspended license is a misdemeanor, which can result in possible county jail time and substantial fines. However, the nature of penalties varies in regards to the reason as to why the license was suspended or revoked in the first place.
About Your Suspended License in CA
There are many reasons your CA driver’s license could be suspended, including:
- Failing to appear (FTA) in court after receiving a traffic ticket. Your license will be suspended until you appear in court.
- Failing to pay a fine resulting from a FTA. Your license will be suspended until you pay the fine.
- Not having proof of car insurance.
- Failing to pay required child support payments.
- Being caught driving when you are physically/mentally unfit to do so.
For a complete list of actions resulting in a driver’s license suspension, see theCalifornia DMV Driver Handbook.
How Long is My License Suspended?
The duration of your suspension depends on the reason you received it. Typically, suspensions can run anywhere from as little as 30 days for a minor infraction to 1 year for more serious offenses, such as reckless driving.
You could lose your CA license indefinitely if you are not supposed to drive due to a mental or physical disorder. If you would like more information about your individual situation, you may contact the California DMV at (800) 777-0133.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
If you are convicted of a single DUI, the court will suspend your driving privilege for 6 months and require you to complete a DUI program prior to your license being reinstated. Note that you may face additional penalties from the DMV on top of what the court hands down to you.
If you are under 21 years old, different suspensions will apply to you. See “DUI Related Suspensions in California” below.
For more information regarding DUI related offenses, please refer to our DUI & DWI in California page.
Evading a Police Officer
If you attempt to evade a police officer performing their regular duties, you may be punished by imprisonment for not more than 1 year. If somebody is injured, you may be subject to:
- Up to 1 year imprisonment in a county jail OR up to 7 years in a state prison.
- A $2,000 to $10,000 fine.
- Both a fine and imprisonment.
Driver Record Points (Negligent Operator)
The California DMV keeps a public record of your driving history. Each incident will appear on your record for 36 months or more depending on the type of conviction and are recorded as points.
If you accumulate 4 points in a period of 12 months, your license will be suspended for 6 months and you will also be on probation for 1 year. Both your suspension and probation will come into effect 34 days after you receive your Order of Probation/Suspension in the mail.
- For more information about the point system in California, see the “Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS)” section below.
- For more information about point-related incidents, please visit our DMV Point System in California page.