Driving with a revoked or suspended license in Virginia can have serious consequences. An individual could face time in jail, license suspension and expensive fines. Some of the main offenses are operating a vehicle without a license, driving after a license has been forfeited and driving on a suspended license.
The Nature of the Offense
There are some common circumstances that can be considered a violation of driving on a suspended license. Some of these circumstances are eluding a police officer, obtaining felony convictions that involve a motor vehicle, drug offenses and failing to stop at an accident. Other circumstances are DUI and reckless driving with a license suspension component.
Driving On a Suspended License
Administrative action can be used to suspend a person’s license if they fail to pay court fines within 15 days of the due date. A rapid accumulation of DMV points, failure to complete traffic school and severe child support delinquency are also grounds for license suspension.
It doesn’t matter why a license was suspended; the offense will still carry the same types of penalties, and if there are prior convictions, the sentence can be more severe.
The first time an individual is caught driving while suspended he or she will face a misdemeanor, up to 12 months in jail, up to $2,500 in fines and an additional 90-day suspension. For the second offense, an individual is facing the exact same penalties as the first offense.
A third offense is still a misdemeanor. However, the individual could spend 12 months in jail, $2,500.00 in fines and a 90-day suspension. Conviction of a third offense also carries a mandatory sentence of 10 days in jail.
How the Prosecutor Chooses the Statute
There is a large amount of overlap between the two statutes, so a prosecutor can choose either one. The §46.2-301 statute applies if an individual’s license is suspended because of a DUI or DWI conviction, refusal of a breath or blood test or initial administrative suspension on a DWI or DUI charge.
In most cases, an individual will be charged under this statute if he or she drives outside of the parameters set by a restricted operator’s license. The penalty for this statute is a Class 1 misdemeanor, but a third offense can lead to a Class 6 felony.
Driving Without a License
Out of the three different statutes, this is the least severe, and it applies to an individual who drive inside of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Simply put, anyone who drives in this area must have a Virginia license. However, certain exemptions apply.
For example, a person operating farm machinery, certain individuals in the armed forces, non-residents who have a valid license in their home state and certain Virginia residents are exempt. Individuals who move to Virginia have a 60-day grace period.
When someone violates the driving without a license statute, they’re subject to a Class 2 misdemeanor, which can lead to $1,500.00 in fines and 6 months in jail. Unlike the other statutes, this one doesn’t require a period of license suspension.
Reasons to Hire a Traffic Lawyer
When facing any of these charges, it’s very important to hire an attorney. However, it’s even more important that the attorney understands the penalties associated with these charges. He or she should also understand the administrative sanctions.
There is a lot of other information that an attorney can help you understand. They should know the statutory notice requirements, technical definitions, proof used to establish BAC levels, proof used to establish restricted license provisions and differences in license suspension requirements. All of these could effect the outcome of your case.
How we can help you
A person who is facing any charges can benefit from professional legal counsel. A skilled attorney understands the charges a person is facing, but he or she also knows how the prosecutors work and how to build a solid legal defense.
Have You Been Charged With A Traffic Violation In Virginia, Maryland or Washington D.C.?
If you've been charged with a traffic violation you need to speak with an experienced traffic defense lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Vienna, Virgnia office directly at 703.991.7978 or our Rockville, Maryland office at 301.637.5392 to schedule your case consultation.