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Driving on a Suspended License Due to DUI, Infraction

Our client, age 39, lived in Manhattan Beach with her husband and their two young children.  She had been in Colorado for a high school reunion two years earlier and, while there, had a few drinks.  As she was leaving the get together, she was stopped for DUI and arrested.
This was her second DUI.  Ironically, her first DUI was also in Colorado from three years earlier at the same type of high school reunion.  She had no other criminal history.
In 50 Words or Less: Client ticketed in California for driving on a suspended license, a misdemeanor, originating from a DUI in Colorado.  Case was then resolved in the Torrance Superior Court for an infraction and a $100 court fines.
As Colorado and California are members of the Driver License Compact. (Veh. Code § 15000 et seq.), the California DMV was notified of our client’s arrest for DUI in Colorado.  The California DMV then suspended our client’s driving privileges when she was convicted in Colorado.

In Colorado, the state does not lift the suspension of one’s driving privileges until one successfully completes probation, which for our client was three years from the date of the conviction.  During that time, our client had to fulfill many conditions of probation for the State of Colorado similar to those imposed when one is convicted of a second-time DUI in California.

This meant that California would not reinstate our client’s driving privileges for three years because Colorado would not.  One can get a restricted license in Colorado, as in California, on a second DUI, but the person must then live in Colorado, which was impractical for our client.

So after our client returned to California, she suffered greatly by not being able to drive.  With two young children who needed to be transported to school, soccer games and other childhood activities, her husband helped out, but he could not do it all with his own full-time job.

Eventually, our client simply began to drive on a suspended license.  And eventually, she was stopped and ticketed in Manhattan Beach for this offense, a violation of Vehicle Code § 14601.2(a).  When this happened, she was so embarrassed that she did not tell her husband.

The client also continued to drink quite a bit.  This issue reached a point where she finally decided to enter a residential alcohol addiction treatment facility.

While she was there, her husband discovered the ticket for 14601.2(a) and did a bit of research on the Internet.  He learned, correctly, that the offense was a misdemeanor and that it carried a minimum punishment of ten days in county jail.  Moreover, his wife was in a residential treatment facility and could not attend her arraignment at the Torrance Superior Court.

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Torrance Superior Courthouse

The client’s husband, in a panic, called Greg Hill & Associates and explained the situation.  What concerned him most was that a conviction in California might constitute a probation violation for his wife’s probation in Colorado and subject her to additional jail time there (she already served sixty days of jail in Colorado).

Greg listened to the client’s husband explain his concerns and Greg explained that such offenses are often reduced to infractions in Torrance, with just a fine as punishment.  However, this was not guaranteed and having a local, experienced criminal defense attorney to request this, or at least to explain the situation fully, was helpful, in case the prosecutor was interested in reasons why leniency was appropriate.

Greg then appeared for the client in court on the scheduled arraignment date and discussed the client’s status on her Colorado case and her present location in an alcohol rehabilitation facility in Nevada.  The District Attorney listened to the description of the client’s status and agreed to amend the complaint to allege an infraction-level offense, 14601.1, and dismiss the misdemeanor.

The court fine owed was $100, plus penalties and assessments, which totaled $325.
Resolving the case as an infraction meant the client would not face a probation violation in Colorado and that her probation there would end soon and her California driving privileges would be reinstated.  The client and her husband were very happy with this.

For more information about driving on a suspended license issues, please click on the following articles:
  1. What Is Driving without a Valid License (Vehicle Code § 12500 (a) or on a Suspended or Revoked License (Vehicle Code § 14601)?
  2. My Driver’s License Is Suspended – What Should I Do?
  3. What Is the Difference Between an Infraction and a Misdemeanor?
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