What Happens if You Get in an Accident With a Suspended License?

What Happens if You Get in an Accident With a Suspended License?

Written by Dennis Grossman

Attorney Dennis Grossman has managed thousands of cases, obtaining millions of dollars in settlements and jury awards for his clients.

It’s never a good idea to risk driving when your license is suspended. Not only will you be charged additional fees, but you will receive a longer suspension. In some cases, you can be arrested. Additionally, the judge or jury won’t see you in a positive light once you show up for your trial date regarding your citation. Working with a car accident attorney can help alleviate some of the issues you’ll encounter after you’ve gotten into a bad car accident. 

If a person is wounded by an individual with a suspended driver’s license there will be far higher penalties because the at-fault driver shouldn’t have been on the road. You should contact an attorney to guide you through the process and get representation. Based on your circumstance, your penalties may be reduced if you take steps to remediate your behavior. Find out with a car accident attorney what can be done regarding your case. Reach out to Grossman Law Offices now for a free consultation.

What Is a Suspended Or Revoked License? 

The California Department of Motor Vehicles has the authority to suspend or revoke your driver’s license in certain situations. Until the suspension or revocation is removed and your license is reinstated, the DMV or the court has determined that you are not permitted to operate a motor vehicle.

Your license can be suspended for the following reasons:

DUI Conviction

 If you are convicted after your first DUI, your license will be suspended for six months. You could lose your license for two to four years after a second and third offense.

Underage Drinking

For this offense, your driver’s license will be suspended for a year or until you reach 18. 

Refusing A Drug Or Alcohol Lab Test

Even if you are innocent, it can mean having your license suspended if you refuse a breath, urine, or blood test.

No Auto Insurance Coverage With An Insurance Company

Driving without insurance coverage is illegal. Your driving privileges will be revoked for four years if you’re not covered by an insurance company and were involved in an accident. Without a valid license it will be difficult to hold a job.

Too Many Points On Your Driving Record

If you have too many points, the California DMV will either revoke your driver’s license or place you on one year of driving probation. This will include a six-month license suspension.

Not Appearing In Court

If you don’t show up in court or pay the fine for a traffic ticket, the court can suspend your license.

Not Paying Child Support

If you don’t pay child support, according to Family Code §17520 your license can be suspended.


If you are caught committing vandalism, your driving privileges can be revoked for a year, delaying you from getting a valid license. Your ability to apply for a driver’s license will be postponed by one year if you are underage.

Not Reporting An Accident

A car accident requires reporting if the property damage was costly or if someone was badly injured. If you don’t report it you can have your license suspended.

What Are the Penalties for Driving With a Suspended License in California? 

When operating a vehicle with a suspended driver’s license, according to Californian law, this is a misdemeanor. 
For your first conviction, you can be imprisoned in county jail for anywhere between five days and six months. You can also be fined anywhere between $300 and $1,000. For second and third offenses, you can go to county jail for up to one year and pay a fine of up to $2,000. 

What happens if You get in an Accident With a Suspended License in California?

If a repeat violation of this statute occurs within five years of your first conviction, then the jail sentence and fines will be greater. The court may order the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) that you have to purchase. This will stop your car from starting if you can’t give an alcohol-free breath sample. This can be problematic when you eat fermented foods or use mouthwash.

If an accident results in bodily injury to another, this is punishable by up to six months in your county’s jail. You won’t be released for work, community service, or any other program until this amount of time has been served. 

If you drive a vehicle after you’ve been suspended for a DUI, this is considered a criminal offense the moment you injure another person. You can experience six months of jail, up to $1,000 in fines, and more. 

How Can My Attorney Defend Me?

Your attorney could raise a legal defense on your behalf if you are accused of a crime. They will fight for you to receive a fair verdict by the judge and jury. This can reduce your charges in the event that they punish you with harsh charges.

A prosecutor must demonstrate four components in order to convict a defendant of this crime. To prove that a defendant is guilty of driving on a suspended license, prove that the defendant drove a motor vehicle and had knowledge of a suspended or revoked license. For you to be punished for driving with a suspended license due to a DUI, you had to have previously been convicted of DUI, that the DUI caused an injury, and that you performed illegal conduct that resulted in the physical harm of another person.

Reasons that you may have your charges reduced or dropped include the following:

No Prior Conviction

When you have a record of good driving behavior, you may be seen in a favorable light. This  can be true if you were driving on a suspended license and got into an accident for the first time. Additionally, if you had a good reason to drive, for example, a medical emergency or fleeing from a dangerous scene, you may also have charges reduced. 

No Prior DUI Conviction

In this case, your driving record may save you if you had no prior history of DUI convictions. Being your first time, your attorney can fight on your behalf to help reduce some of your charges. 

No Knowledge Of License Suspension

Sometimes you may be completely unaware that you have a suspended license. For example, you may not have received a letter announcing your suspension because it was sent to the wrong location or person.

Did Not Commit Illegal Act

It is also possible that there was a mistake on the administrative side, and they incorrectly issued you an undeserving suspension. You may have been entered into the DMV system the wrong way and received an undue punishment.

What Should I Do After An Accident, While On A Suspended License?

Remain calm and contact us. You might have never known your license was suspended. As soon as you experience a car accident on a suspended license, immediately contact our law offices. We have proven experience in protecting car accident clients after they’ve been caught driving with a suspended license. Contact Grossman Law Offices now for an initial consultation.