In California driving is a privilege, not a right. There are several ways in which a person’s driving privilege can be suspended or revoked, including:
- arrests for driving under the influence (DUI)
- arrests for reckless driving
- failing to appear in court for citations
- driving without insurance
- not having insurance at an accident scene
- failure to pay child support
- being declared medically unfit to drive
- being classified as a negligent operator (too many points for moving violations)
- failure to pass a driving test
A suspension is usually just temporary until the person takes care of the reason for the suspension or a mandated suspension time has passed, as in a DUI arrest. A revocation on the other hand, is permanent.
Driving on a suspended or revoked license is a serious offense with serious consequences. The crime is a misdemeanor under 14601 California Vehicle Code. A person caught knowingly driving on a suspended or revoked license will be arrested and either brought to jail or issued a notice to appear.
In 1995, a law was enacted which mandates a 30-day impound period of the vehicle belonging to a person arrested for driving on a suspended or revoked license. After the vehicle has been stored at the impound yard for 30 days, the owner will have to pay the complete towing and storage fee to get his or her car back. A vehicle may even be permanently confiscated if the owner has prior convictions of driving on a suspended or revoked license. It is the Pacifica Police Department’s policy to impound all involved vehicles when a driver is arrested for driving on a suspended or revoke license.