This is obviously a very bad problem for somebody who doesn't have a license, gets in some sort of an accident or hurts somebody in the roadway and then that person has to go into criminal court and face the judge. Obviously, the just is going to be looking at a number of different factors in deciding exactly how to deal with a situation like that.
Why Was The Driver's License Suspended?
For example, one of the questions is going to be why is the person's driver's license suspended? Is it because they have a DUI on their record and haven't done everything they were supposed to?
That usually means not only will the punishment be probably the worst because of the prior DUI, but also the person is probably on probation and there will be a probation violation hearing in addition to the new case.
So, there's mandatory jail time if you have a DUI, you're on probation, you're on a suspended license and you pick up a case of driving on a suspended license where you actually hurt somebody.
Sometimes people get in a minor fender bender and they're claiming soft tissue injuries. That's a questionable injury and that's something that might be able to be fought.
On the other hand, if somebody is actually really hurt and they have an injury that can be justified, then the person who caused that injury who is driving on a suspended license will obviously be looking at some serious penalties.
If you have a DUI and are on probation, you obviously do not want to drive if you don't have a valid driver's license because there's another issue when it comes to these injury cases with suspended licenses.
Alcohol in Your System While Driving
If you get in an accident and you have any alcohol in your system, it's going to be presumed that you're the one that caused the accident.
I've had a lot of cases where it's pretty clear to me that my client was not responsible for the accident but the prosecutors are trying to argue and say that because the person was driving under the influence, it is automatically presumed they were responsible for the accident, even when there's clear evidence that they were not.
So, the bottom line is, when we go into court on a California Vehicle Code 14601.4 where an injury has been caused, the person had no driver's license, one of the biggest things that we can do to help ourselves is to get a driver's license or to be able to show the court and prosecutor when we might be able to get our driver's license because that shows that you're trying to do something.
That shows that you are not just ignoring the system. Sometimes they even have cases where they're getting driving on a suspended license and the person could have gotten their driver's license, but for some reason did not.
That's a good argument to the judge and prosecutor. You say, they could have had their driver's license, so don't punish them to the full extent of the law.
Mandatory Jail Time
But if you've got a driving on a suspended license, somebody got injured and it has to do with DUI activity, there is mandatory jail time that goes along with that.
Prosecutors and judges are very quick to give that because they feel that if they don't do something to punish you — they don't show that they're serious about things and in the future you get in some sort of an accident and somebody gets seriously injured or even killed.
They're going to be held responsible for that because they didn't do what they were supposed to when they had you for the 14501.4, driving on a suspended license causing an injury.
Also, there's an issue with the restitution in these cases. If somebody gets hurt and they need to get paid back for medical bills or their vehicle or any other out of pocket money, the court is going to hold you responsible as the driver who was driving under a suspended license and caused an injury and you're going to have to pay those people back.
If you don't, they will not let you off probation and they will even throw you in jail under some circumstances.
So, it's crucial in these cases to get an attorney. Hire somebody who has handled these cases before, who has experience and knows how to do damage control and get you the best possible result.