According to the Virginia Code’s 46.2-301(B) prohibits driving when one’s license is revoked or suspended.
B. Except as provided in 46.2-304 and 46.2-357, no resident or nonresident I whose driver’s license, learner’s permit, or privilege to drive a motor vehicle has been suspended or revoked; (ii) who has been ordered not to drive by any court or by the Commissioner; or (iii) who has been prohibited from operating a motor vehicle in accordance with the provisions of any statute of the Commonwealth or a substantially similar ordinance of any county, For the purposes of upholding a conviction under this section, the clerk’s notice of license suspension due to unpaid penalties or fees delivered in accordance with 46.2-395 shall be sufficient notice. Mopeds are not considered to be “motor vehicle or other self-propelled machinery or equipment” for the purposes of this provision.
Virginia Penalties for Driving with a Suspended License
IF I DRIVE IN VIRGINIA WITH A SUSPENDED LICENSE, WILL I GO TO JAIL?
I speak with a lot of people who have been accused of driving while their license is suspended. If that describes you (or if you have a suspended license but continue to drive), take close attention:
Possibility of Going to Jail
Many people find this surprising, yet it’s true. I’m not attempting to terrify you into hiring me. When I believe someone won’t truly serve jail time, I am honest with them. For instance, many reckless driving instances don’t result in jail time.
Driving with a suspended license can, though.
Penalties in Virginia for Driving with a Suspended License
A class 1 misdemeanor is driving while your license is suspended or revoked. You could easily face a fine of up to $2,500 or a prison sentence of up to a year.
There’s a mandatory jail sentence of a minimum of 10 days, which could be in store for you if you are found guilty of breaking this law three times in a span of ten years.
Your license will be suspended again for the initial suspension period if you are found guilty under this law.
A first violation of driving with a suspended license often doesn’t result in active jail time in the majority of the areas where I conduct my practice . Sometimes the sentence for the defendant is suspended, which indicates that as long as you behave well for a while, you won’t go to jail.
Keep in mind that this is simply a general guideline. Depending on the circumstances and your criminal history, a first offense may result in actual jail time.
DEFENDING AGAINST VA DRIVING ON A SUSPENDED LICENSE CHARGES
To prove you guilty of driving while your license is suspended, the Commonwealth must establish three components. This tells us that the main three areas where we can search for potential defenses are. These components are
- A motor vehicle must be being driven.
- You must have your license cancelled or suspended.
- You need to be aware that your license may be cancelled or suspended.
- Let’s now examine each one in turn.
DID YOU DRIVE?
The Commonwealth must demonstrate that you were in fact operating a motor vehicle on a public road when the alleged violation was committed.
This component is frequently quite straightforward for the Commonwealth. When an officer conducts a traffic stop, requests a driver’s license, and discovers that it has been suspended or revoked, they will often charge the driver with driving while intoxicated.
The Commonwealth still faces two obstacles to overcome even if they can demonstrate that you were driving.
WAS YOUR LICENSE Revoked or suspended?
Was your license formally revoked or suspended? The Commonwealth must demonstrate that your license was legally suspended in order to establish this offense.
For the Commonwealth’s Attorney, this is often a standard component. They bring a certified copy of the DMV record that details your license’s suspension or revocation.
DID YOU KNOW THAT YOUR LICENSE WAS SUSPENDED OR REVERTED?
The Commonwealth may have the most difficulty establishing the last aspect of driving while your license is suspended or revoked. They need to demonstrate that you were driving when you were aware your license was suspended or revoked.
Sadly, this is where most individuals end up hurting themselves. Almost always, the police officer will inquire about your knowledge of your license’s suspension or revocation during the traffic stop. If you admit that you were aware, the Commonwealth already has this component.
The Commonwealth will attempt to show this factor using your DMV transcript if you refuse to confess that you were aware of the suspension or revocation. They attempt to prove that you were informed of the suspension using the transcript.
Failure to pay court fines and expenses is the main cause of license suspension in Virginia. When the clerk’s office informs you of the total amount of fines and charges you owe, the Virginia Code attempts to offer notice of suspension. However, the courts frequently demand that you be informed when your license is truly suspended.