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What happens if you drive with a suspended license?

Chances are, you already dealt with fines and maybe even other penalties after having your driver's license suspended. Not to mention, you're now facing an extended period of time in which you can't drive. This can make daily life a bit more difficult to navigate. You may not be able to see friends and family as easily. Even grocery shopping becomes all the more difficult when you have a suspended license.

However, even with a suspended license, there's no one around to force you to stop driving. You may think that one venture out to run errands won't hurt. But don't let the idea tempt you. Driving with a suspended license can end up costing you even more than it already does.

Penalties for driving with a suspended license

Under California law, it is strictly illegal to operate your vehicle with a suspended or revoked driver's license. Doing so is a misdemeanor and involves the following consequences for you:

  • Between five days to six months in jail
  • Fines between $300 and $1,000
  • Extended suspension period

Driving with a suspended license also applies to off-highway vehicles and smaller off-road vehicles like ATVs and motorbikes.

Seeking an alternative

Because driving with a suspended license is not worth the risk, you may have to rely on other workarounds during your period of suspension.

Having someone drive you to work, school or appointments might be challenging, but if you can set up a schedule that works for everyone, it can be a helpful alternative to risking the drive yourself.

Public transportation may also be a practical option for you. Buses, taxis and even ride share apps like Uber and Lyft can help satisfy your transportation needs. Although this option requires a bit more spending, it will probably cost less in the long run compared to the fines you will face if you drive with a suspended license.

Lastly, California offers the possibility for some people to obtain a restricted driver's license. If the reason behind your suspension is that you did not have insurance after an accident, you may be eligible. A restricted license allows you to:

  • Drive to and from work
  • Drive yourself or a family member to a hospital in an emergency
  • Drive your children to and from school

Avoid the risks

Whether or not you experience the repercussions of driving with a suspended license is up to you. When you know the risks involved with getting behind the wheel of your car, you can avoid the serious costs of driving with a suspended license.

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