An individual’s California Driver’s License could be suspended for a variety of reasons (ie: Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol; accruing too many points on your driver’s license; failure to pay fines or traffic tickets; failure to appear in court, etc.).
If you knowingly operate a vehicle with a suspended driver’s license, you could be subject to both a fine and jail, or both. Some offenses carry the mandatory minimum of 10 days in jail. The existence of prior offenses could enhance your punishment. CVC 12500; CVC 14601.
The keyword in this offense is “knowingly”. The DMV is required to notify an individual if his/her California Driver’s License is suspended. This notice is usually sent via U.S. Mail. If the notice is not returned to the Department of Motor Vehicles, service of this notice upon that individual is presumed valid. However, if the notice was returned to the Department of Motor Vehicles or an individual can demonstrate that he/she did not know that his/her license was suspended, the offense will likely be dismissed.