In the Commonwealth of Virginia, the offense of Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License is a Class One Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.00. The offense is charged under §46.2-301 of the Virginia Code. Individuals convicted of the charge may receive an additional suspension of their privilege to drive in Virginia, for the same time period as the original license suspension. If the time period of the previous license suspension was indefinite, the court may suspend the license for an additional ninety (90) days. Notice of a client's license suspension before the driving offense is an essential element of the Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License charge. Lack of notice of the suspension may be an effective defense to the charge. If the Division of Motor Vehicles or entity that suspended the license did not provide adequate notice of suspension to the driver, the charge may be dismissed or nolle prosequi.
A conviction for Driving on Suspended License stays on a Virginia driving record for eleven (11) years. The DMV assesses six points as a demerit deduction for this conviction. Convictions for this charge may impact insurance rates, employment opportunities, and applications for security clearances. It is important that a defendant charged with this criminal offense have an experienced and diligent attorney.
Most traffic cases are initially heard in the General District Court. After the case is finalized in the General District Court, the client has thirty (30) days to pay the fines and court costs. The client may request up to ninety days to pay the fines and court costs from the clerk's office if needed. Effective July, 2019, the Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles may not suspend a person's driving license for failure to pay fines and court costs. The court still has the power to attempt collection of the fines and court costs and will also assess additional penalties as a collection fee (normally 17% of the total amount).
In the experience of the Yeargan Law Office, it is a good idea to get the driver's license re-issued if possible before court. Sometimes, a client may need a continuance of the court date to get time to complete this task. Getting the License reinstated before court may help to get the charge dismissed or reduced to Failure to Have License in Possession, a traffic infraction with only a ten dollar fine. Attorney Yeargan can help clients in this position accomplish this project.
Individuals convicted of a traffic offense in Virginia have ten (10) calendar days to appeal the case from the General District Court to Circuit Court. If an appeal is filed, the client does not need to pay fines and court costs to the clerk's office until the appeal is finished. The appeal is a de novo appeal, meaning that it is a fresh appeal and no weight is given to the decision of the lower court. On appeal in the Circuit Court, you may request a jury trial. The outcome of the appeal may be a better or worse result than that received in the General District Court.
The vast majority of cases handled by the law office are not appealed to a higher court. Attorney Yeargan works hard to achieve a good result in the lower court. This helps contain the client's financial expense and minimize their time in the court system. Attorney Yeargan's clients have consistently awarded his law office five star reviews on AVVO.com and Google for the high quality of service performed in their cases.
The Law Office of Wilfred W. Yeargan vigorously defends clients charged with traffic offenses in the General District, Circuit and Juvenile and Domestic Relations courts. Contact Attorney Yeargan today for assistance with your Driving on Suspended or Revoked License case. Depending on the facts of the case and your driving record, Attorney Yeargan may be able to negotiate dismissal of the charge or reduction to a lesser offense (such as Failure to Have License in Possession or No Valid Operator's License). His office may be reached at (703) 352-9044 for a free initial consultation.