IS THERE A VEHICLE THAT YOU CAN OPERATE WITH A SUSPENDED LICENSE?
When a person has a license suspension for a DUI, or other matter, the first thing the person tries to do is minimize the impact of the suspension on his life. In other words, he searches for alternative means of transportation. Sometimes the person is left to rely on third parties. Other times, especially due to scheduling and geographic inconveniences, the person looks for different vehicles that he can operate. When looking for a different type of vehicle the person many times assumes that the license suspension only applies to automobiles.
Does the license suspension apply to motorcycles? California defines a motorcycle as having more than a 150cc engine size and no more than 3 wheels. (A two wheeled motorcycle equipped with a sidecar is included.) Additionally, California requires all motorcycles operators to have a valid C class license and M1 license. For a license to be valid, it cannot be suspended. So, if a person has a license suspension it would include a suspension of a M1 license. That person cannot operate a motorcycle to avoid a license suspension.
What about a motor driven cycle? A motor driven cycle is a cycle with a 149cc or smaller engine. This type of vehicle also requires a class C and M1 license. And just like the motorcycle, a license suspension would prevent that person from operating a motor driven cycle.
Would a person be allowed to drive a moped or motorized bicycle with a suspended license? Generally speaking, a moped has 2 or 3 wheels, cannot go faster than 30 miles per hour, and can have pedals for human propulsion. A motorized bicycle has pedals and an electric motor that is less than 1,000 watts and can go no faster than 20 miles per hour using human or motorized propulsion. A M1 or M2 license is required for both of these vehicles. So, if a person’s license is suspended he is precluded from operating a moped or motorized bike.
Then a person should be allowed to operate a motorized scooter with a suspended license, right? A motorized scooter has 2 wheels, a handle bar, and floorboard. The DMV does not require registration but does require a valid license for operation. So, it is illegal to operate a motorized scooter with a suspended license.
What about a pocket chopper? A pocket chopper is a miniature motorcycle which is illegal to operate on the streets of California. So, it is not a legal form of transportation and cannot be used to get around a license suspension.
In conclusion, there is no motorized vehicle that the state of California will allow a person with a suspended license to operate. A person with a suspended license can either ride a bike that is not equipped with a motor or rely on third parties as a means of transportation.
Do I Have Options Before My License Gets Suspended Because Of A DUI?
Unfortunately, once your license gets suspended due to a DUI conviction, your options become quite limited. Consequently, you cannot operate any type of motorized vehicle in Los Angeles, CA, and throughout the state once your license is suspended. A first offense DUI is a misdemeanor in California, and it carries significant penalties. In addition to a misdemeanor on your record, you could face three to five years of probation, fines that amount to $1,000 or more, penalty assessments, DUI school, jail time, work release, and a minimum four-month driver’s license suspension.
Even though a DUI can bring about serious penalties, it is possible to lessen or avoid the punishment altogether before a conviction is established. Therefore, it is important to recognize that you have options before being convicted of a DUI and getting your license suspended. The best way to learn about the options you may have in regard to your DUI is to consult with a DUI defense attorney. A knowledgeable DUI defense attorney who represents clients in Los Angeles, CA can help explain viable solutions pertinent to your specific circumstance. More often than not, an experienced DUI defense attorney can get the charges reduced, dropped, or even dismissed.
If you get charged with a DUI, it is likely that the police officer who makes the stop will confiscate your driver’s license and hand you a “notice of suspension,” which is a pink piece of paper that acts as a temporary driver’s license for 30 days. After 30 days, the driver’s license will be automatically suspended, unless you request an administrative hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within ten days of the initial arrest. If you hire a DUI defense attorney before the ten days after your arrest lapses, your attorney can request the administrative hearing and ensure that your driver’s license does not get suspended until the hearing is scheduled, which could be scheduled past 30 days. This means that you would be able to drive without issue until the matter is resolved.
In many cases, it may be possible to get an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle. An ignition interlock device allows the driver to drive without limitation as long as the device is installed in their vehicle. A skilled DUI defense attorney can help the driver obtain an ignition interlock device rather than lose driving privileges altogether. However, if it is determined that the driver accused of driving under the influence was not over the limit, or if the evidence does not substantiate or prove guilt, then your DUI defense attorney can get the charges dropped or dismissed.
If you have been arrested under the suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, it is highly advised to enlist the legal representation of a DUI defense attorney who serves clients in Los Angeles, CA and surrounding counties and cities. A DUI defense attorney who has in-depth familiarity with the laws, courts, prosecutors, judges, and other professionals who work within the legal system, can help defend against fines, jail time, and driver’s license suspension.
Can I Be Charged With A DUI As A Passenger In California?
According to California’s DUI laws, you usually cannot be charged with a DUI as a passenger. These laws most often penalize those who are driving rather than other parties in the vehicle. However, in certain circumstances, passengers may be implicated in or even charged with various DUI-associated crimes.
Some of these situations include:
- When There Is Doubt About Who Was Actually Driving. Sometimes, passengers and drivers switch places when pulled over or after an accident. This is often done to avoid a DUI arrest, because the original driver is intoxicated and their passenger is not. They also might want to switch places if the original driver has a warrant out for their arrest or is on parole, or if they are unlicensed or driving on a suspended license. If the investigating/arresting officer has any reason to question which party was actually driving the car, a passenger may be liable for a DUI. There are many investigative tactics officers can use to discern who was actually driving, such as taking witness statements, examining the interior of the car, and examining dash cam recordings.
- When An Intoxicated Passenger Grabs The Wheel. Sometimes, a particularly rowdy or upset intoxicated passenger might grab the wheel of the car from the passenger seat. They might also momentarily take the wheel to help steer for the driver. During a DUI arrest, there is legal precedent in California for the passenger to be held liable for a DUI.
Passengers can also be compelled to participate in a DUI investigation. As witnesses to the DUI, passengers can be legally compelled to participate in interviews and honestly answer questions about the driver, including questions about their drinking history and their driving history. This can occur at any stage of the process, from initial arrest to trial.
In addition, passengers can complicate DUI investigations, sometimes to the advantage of the person receiving the DUI. For instance, some officers use the smell of alcohol or marijuana in the vehicle as probable cause for a search and DUI arrest. However, if the smell was actually coming off of a passenger rather than the driver, an attorney may be able to demonstrate that the probable cause on which the officer based their search and arrest was insufficient, which may lead to a lessening or dismissal of charges.
Finally, passengers may be arrested for non-DUI criminal charges during a DUI arrest. For instance, if there is clear evidence of illegal drug paraphernalia in the car, but it’s being held by the passenger rather than the driver, this constitutes probable cause for a further search of the car. The passenger can then be arrested for whatever is found on their person, which may include drugs. Passengers may also be held liable for:
- Underage Drinking: If a passenger is intoxicated and under 21 years old, they may be charged with underage drinking. This charge can carry a fine, driver’s license suspension of up to a year, and community service.
- Minor In Possession Of Alcohol: If a passenger is under 21 years old and in possession of alcohol, they may be charged with the associated crime, which carries the same potential penalties as underage drinking.
- Furnishing Alcohol To A Minor: If there is a minor in the car who is intoxicated or in possession of alcohol, and one of the 21+ passengers were found to have given the underage passenger alcohol, they can be charged with providing alcohol to a minor. This charge can carry a fine, community service, and even jail time if the minor winds up harming themselves or others.
- Public Intoxication: When it comes to passengers and intoxication charges, the interior of a car can still be considered “public.” Therefore, passengers in cars can be charged with public intoxication. This charge carries the potential sentence of a fine and up to a year of jail time.
If you are involved in a DUI or associated charges in any way, whether as a passenger or a driver, the best thing you can do for yourself is to contact an experienced DUI attorney. Attorneys with DUI experience know the laws and the courtroom dynamics that go into these cases very well, and can help you put your best case forward.
Though it’s always better to get a reputable attorney on your case as soon as possible, a DUI attorney can help you at any point in the process, even if you have already had your license revoked and are fighting for license reinstatement.
If you are in Los Angeles, Westlake Village, Irvine, or the surrounding areas in California, Top Gun DUI Defense Attorney Myles L. Berman is ready to help you get results. Attorney Berman has years of experience in DUI law, and the stellar track record to prove it. Call him at (888) 486-7486 for a free consultation on your case today.