Driving with a suspended or revoked license in the Commonwealth of Virginia is a serious offense. Your driver's license can be suspended for a variety of reasons, which can range from serious violations such as driving under the influence of alcohol, to more minor infractions such as simple as driving under expired insurance. Modern life can be hectic and with so many things to get done on a daily basis, sometimes little things on our to-do list can slip through the cracks.
Forgetting to perform simple tasks such as putting a child support payment in the mail, renewing your insurance, or paying your bills, can have large, unintended impacts, and a suspended or revoked driver's license could be one of them. Read on for more information on the consequences related to driving with a suspended or revoked license in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Nature of the Offense
Driving with a suspended license in the Commonwealth of Virginia is classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor. A Class 1 misdemeanor is a serious mark on your permanent record, and can have residual effects on your life long after it occurs. Some of these unwanted consequences could include having trouble when looking for a job, immigration consequences, or receiving a security clearance. Additionally, driving with a suspended license carries with it the potential to be sentenced to jail time, receiving heavy fines and penalties, and the continued suspension or denial of your driving privileges.
Suspension vs. Revocation
Though seemingly similar, the suspension or revocation of a driver's license in Virginia maintains a few notable and important differences. When your driver's license is suspended, you most likely will have to fulfill a certain list of requirements and wait for a predetermined period of time, generally ranging from 90 days to a year. During the suspension period, you must complete certain requirements and provide proof of completion of these requirements to the courts. Most often these requirements include some type of required course or training administered by the state. Once the suspension period is over, and all requirements have been satisfied, a small fee will be required and the courts will then restore your driving privileges.
If you are unsure of the requirements to have your license reinstated, you can contact the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles for more information. A License Reinstatement sheet detailing the list of requirements for getting the license back is available from the Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles in the form of a Compliance Summary.
In cases where revocation of your driver's license occurs, it is treated with more seriousness, and your driving privileges will not be reinstated for an indefinite period of time. License revocation is often court mandated for multiple DUI's or patterns of extreme unsafe driving habits. Restoring a revoked license will often be more expensive, and carry with it a number of requirements similar to restoring a suspended license. Another key difference between driver's license revocation and suspension is that you must reapply for a driver's license should your license be revoked, and you must pass the Virginia Driver's Safety Exam again.
Reasons for Suspension
The Commonwealth of Virginia can suspend your driver's license for a number of reasons, not all of which are criminal. Below is a brief list taken from the DMV website of reasons your driver's license may be suspended.
- Excessive points on your driver's license due to traffic violations.
- Driving without valid insurance.
- Not paying owed court fees, child support, or an uninsured motor vehicle fee.
- Being convicted of reckless driving.
- Being convicted of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, or after drinking alcohol while under the age of 21.
- Refusing the administration of a breathalyzer test.
Reasons for Revocation
The reasons your license may be revoked are similar to the reasons that your license may be suspended, however somewhat more severe. Below is a brief list provided by the Virginia DMV of reasons your driver's license may be revoked.
- Using false information on a government form.
- A conviction for a drug-related offense.
- A conviction of vehicular manslaughter (both voluntary and involuntary).
- Driving on a suspended license that was due from a DUI.
- Fleeing an accident.
- Having a severe medical condition that makes you unfit to drive.
- Being convicted of three or more DUIs.
- Being convicted of a felony in an incident involving a vehicle.
- Attempting to apply for a driver's license on behalf of someone else.
Defense Against Driving with a License Suspension or Revocation
The most common defense against being convicted of driving with a suspended or revoked license in Virginia is that you did not receive advanced notice that your license was suspended. If you can prove that you never received notice in the mail from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles of the suspension of your license, it is possible that you may not be convicted of the charge.
Another common defense against being convicted of driving with a suspended license is that the police did not have reasonable suspicion to pull you over when you were charged with this crime. Unless the police officer personally knows you and your driving history, he or she cannot tell that you have a suspended license just from watching you drive. The officer must have another valid reason for making the traffic stop. This can include Speeding, Littering, randomly running car tag information, or any violation of the traffic or criminal code. If their initial reason for stopping you is invalid or unreasonable, the case may be dismissed. This legal requirement is often referred to as the Terry doctrine of "reasonable articulable suspicion" for making a stop.
Experienced Traffic Defense Attorney in Fairfax County, Prince William County (Manassas), and other Locations in the State of Virginia
If you or someone you know is facing a court case for Driving Without a License or Driving With a Suspended or Revoked License in the Commonwealth of Virginia, call the Law Office today. Attorney Wilfred Yeargan offers a free initial consultation to discuss your case. He has 21 years of experience working with clients to protect and reinstate their driving privileges, and to avoid the penalties associated with a serious traffic conviction. The law office serves Fairfax County, Prince William County, Arlington County, Loudoun County, Town of Vienna, City of Falls Church, the City of Alexandria, Fredericksburg, Stafford County, Warren County, areas of Richmond and Henrico County, and the Northern Neck of Virginia. Contact the office today by phone or online to find out what The Law Office of Wilfred Ward Yeargan can do for you.