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Habitual Traffic Offender
VC 14601.3(e)(1)

Information on the crime of habitual traffic offender is found at California vehicle code section 14601.3(e)(1). Basically, a habitual traffic offender is someone who continues to rack up traffic infractions without rectifying the improper driving conduct that contributes to the traffic violations. The most common habitual traffic offender violations stem from a person continuing to drive after his or her driving privilege has been suspended.

The Law

14601.3.(a) It is unlawful for a person whose driving privilege has been suspended or revoked to accumulate a driving record history which results from driving during the period of suspension or revocation (Abbrev.).

A driving record history means any of the following, if the driving occurred during any period of suspension or revocation:

  • Two or more convictions within a 12-month period of an offense given a violation point count of two

  • Three or more convictions within a 12-month period of an offense given a violation point count of on

  • Three or more accidents within a 12-month period

  • Any combination of convictions or accidents which results during any 12-month period in a violation point count of three or more (Abbrev.).

Note: Knowledge of suspension or revocation of the driving privilege is presumed if mailed notice has been given by the department of motor vehicle (DMV) to the defendant.

Essentially, the district attorney gets notice from the DMV after the driver qualifies as a habitual traffic offender (VC 14601.3(c)).


The crime of habitual traffic offender is classified as a misdemeanor. Anyone convicted of being a habitual traffic offender is punished as follows:

First Offense: 30 days in the county jail and a fine of $1,000.

Second Offense: (within seven years of a prior VC 14601.3 conviction) 180 days in the county jail and a $2,000 fine.

Probation Sentence: A probation sentence is period of monitoring by the court (instead of jail). A probation sentence may be available in some VC 14601.3 cases depending on several factors, including the defendant's criminal history and the facts of the case. In any event, if the defendant is granted probation after a conviction for a habitual traffic offender, he or she will likely be ordered to serve some form of manual labor, such as work release, as a condition of probation.

Good Behavior Credits: If the defendant is ordered to serve any incarceration or work release after a conviction for VC 14601.3(e)(1), he or she may have that sentence reduced by up to fifty percent for good behavior (also known as half time credit).

Bail: Bail is an amount of money  paid to the court, usually through a bail bondsman, that is intended to serve as a surety that the defendant will appear as ordered to court. The scheduled bail amount related to VC 14601.3 charge is $5,000 in San Bernardino County (2020). This amount may be reduced  In some cases where the defendant is not considered to be a danger to society upon release form jail or where the risk of the defendant's appearance in court is low (other factors may apply). 

Note: The crime of habitual traffic offender is not a crime that involves moral turpitude.


Common defenses to charges of habitual traffic offender include: statue of limitations (1 year), jury nullification, lack of jurisdiction to prosecute (last address listed in the DMV or where the last traffic offense took place is the proper jurisdiction), and more.

If you have been arrested or charged with the habitual traffic offender, or VC 14601.3(e)(1), contact out criminal defense lawyers today for a free consultation. Our criminal defense lawyers will patiently review your defense options and our office is open every day of the week to assist you. Call today!



Quick Legal Reference​

Crime: Habitual Traffic Offender

Code: VC 14601.3(e)(1)

Wobbler: No. VC 14601.3(e)(1) is not a wobbler. This means that VC 14601.3(e)(1) is only charged as a misdemeanor.​


Incarceration: ​VC 14601.3(e)(1) jail sentence up to 30 days (180 days if defendant has a prior VC 14601.3(e)(1) [VC 14601.3(e)(2)].

Probation: Probation may be available in VC 14601.3(e)(1) cases (assuming that other crimes or enhancements that might bar a probation sentence are not present). Whether or not a probation sentence is offered by the District Attorney, or granted by the court, depends on several factors, including the defendant's criminal history and the facts of the case.​​

Work Release or House Arrest: In some cases, a probation sentence can include actual in-custody county jail, house arrest (electronic monitoring), or work release (or some combination of these penalties); however, most in-custody jail sentence orders that are required as a terms of probation are much shorter than the maximum jail sentence.

Strike: VC 14601.3(e)(1) is not a strike offense listed in California's Three Strikes law.

Credits: 50% good conduct credits available.

CIMT: VC 14601.3(e)(1) is not a crime involving moral turpitude.


Bail: $5,000 (San Bernardino County)

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