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California Vehicle Code Section 14601.3: Habitual Offender Designation

California Vehicle Code Section (VC) 14601.3 states: “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 a habitual offender.”

Once the person has been deemed a habitual offender, any subsequent driving offenses are subject to more severe penalties, including jail time. Upon a first conviction under this statute, the person shall be sentenced to 30 days in jail and a $1000 fine. A second or subsequent conviction within seven years of a prior conviction will result in 180 days in jail and a $2000 fine.  Under 14601.3(e)(3), any habitual offender who is convicted of driving on a suspended license and the suspension is due to a DUI, the penalty is 180 days in jail, to be served consecutive to any other jail time imposed for violating any other law, plus a $2000 fine.

To convict someone under this statute, the prosecutor must prove: 1.) The defendant drove a vehicle; 2.) At the time of driving, the defendant’s driving privileges were suspended or revoked; 3.) The defendant had knowledge of the suspension or revocation; and, 4.) During the period of suspension or revocation, the defendant either had two or more convictions within a twelve month period given a point count of two pursuant to Section 12810; three or more convictions within a twelve month period given a point count of one pursuant to Section 12810; three or more accidents within a twelve month period subject to the reporting requirements of Section 16000; or any combination of convictions or accidents which results during any twelve month period in a violation point count of three or more pursuant to Section 12810.

If you have been charged with a new driving offense after being deemed a habitual traffic offender, you should contact an attorney immediately. You are facing mandatory minimum jail terms. The Law Offices of Susan L. Hartman advocates alternative sentencing for her clients when possible so that you can continue to work and live at home, while serving your custody time. Contact us today for your free consultation: (619) 260-1122 or susan@shartmanlaw.com.