There are some individuals in Virginia who choose to drive even if they do not have a valid VA driver’s license. It is understandable that we are drawn to the convenience of having our own automobile as a means of transportation. Additionally, daily obligations may serve as further motivation to get behind the wheel, such as work, doctor’s appointments, or friendly gatherings. However, if you are an unlicensed driver in the state of Virginia, and are caught driving without a license by the police, the penalties can far outweigh the convenience you initially thought about when you decided to put the keys into the ignition.
Letter of the Law
If you are caught driving without a license in Virginia, the state can impose harsh fines or even jail time. Virginia Code section 46.2-300 clearly states that it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle on any road or highway within the Commonwealth unless the vehicle operator has applied for a license, passed all relevant examinations, and has been issued a driver’s license. Additionally, the license must be valid. Many drivers convicted of driving without a license aren’t even aware they are committing a crime until they are pulled over for an unrelated offense, such as failing to signal a turn, or not wearing their seat belt.
Penalties for Driving Without a License in Virginia
Virginia maintains relatively more harsh penalties for those who are caught operating a motor vehicle without a license when compared to other states. In Virginia, driving without a license is seen as a serious offense, and is classified as a Class 2 Misdemeanor if it is the individual’s first time being charged. A Class 2 Misdemeanor conviction carries with it the potential for a variety of unwanted penalties, such as a suspension of a person’s license up to 90 days (in cases where the license is invalid), as well as fines of up to $1,000.
As with most misdemeanors, repeat offenses carry more severe penalties. A second conviction of driving without a license is viewed as a Class 1 misdemeanor, which can carry with it the suspension of a person’s right to operate a motor vehicle for an entire year, as well as more expensive fines and potentially jail time.
In some cases, there are exceptions to the requirement that all drivers must maintain a Virginia driver’s license in order to operate a motor vehicle on the roadways of the Commonwealth. Some of these exceptions are listed below:
- When operating a military vehicle as a member of the armed forces.
- When operating a vehicle classified as farm equipment, or “for farm use only”.
- New residents of Virginia who have yet to receive a valid Virginia driver’s license.
- Residents of other states passing through the Commonwealth.
Benefits of a Reputable Traffic Defense Lawyer
If you or someone you know has been charged with operating a motor vehicle without a license in the Commonwealth of Virginia, it is foolish to continue with court proceedings, or to proceed with sub-par legal counsel. When considering Fairfax traffic defense lawyers, The Law Office of Wilfred W. Yeargan should be at the top of your list.
By pursuing professional representation for the violation of driving without a license, you can be assured that you won’t risk harsher penalties due to any unfamiliarity with the legal system. Having a misdemeanor conviction on your record can also affect your livelihood and may make it more difficult to get a job in the future. A qualified attorney can work with the courts to pursue alternative forms of punishment, the dropping of all charges, or the lessening of charges in order to receive a less severe penalty. This will help keep your record clean, and help to avoid steep fines.
Get the Best Defense
If you are facing an upcoming case for driving without a license in Virginia, turn to the Law Office of Wilfred W. Yeargan. Attorney Yeargan has a history of vigorously defending clients charged with traffic offenses in the General District, Circuit and Juvenile and Domestic Relations courts, and has fought effectively countless times to have charges dismissed or reduced, delivering the best outcomes for his clients. If you are looking for a traffic defense lawyer in Fairfax, Alexandria, or Arlington, look no further than Wilfred W. Yeargan. Contact our office today by phone or online for a free initial consultation.