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December 16, 2016


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.

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About the Author

At the Law Offices of Top Gun DUI Defense Attorney Myles L. Berman, our experienced team of DUI / Drunk Driving defense lawyers are dedicated to aggressively defending people arrested for DUI.