Obeying the laws of the road means more than simply abiding by traffic signs and lights. If you have previously been charged with a traffic violation and had your license suspended, you must abide by additional rules governing the operation of a motor vehicle. This includes not driving during the suspension. For many people, this poses a challenge with tasks such as getting to work or dropping children off at school; some choose to drive anyway, despite their license suspension, which is never recommended.
What Does A Suspended License Mean?
A license suspension is a punishment for certain types of traffic violations that forbids a driver from operating a motor vehicle for the duration of the suspension. While the driver’s license is not taken and destroyed such that the driver must reapply and retake a driving test, it is forbidden to operate a vehicle for the period of time that the license is suspended. Some suspensions last for a few weeks to a year, and others are indefinite depending upon the reason for the suspension.
Penalties For Driving With A Suspended License In Virginia
In Virginia, expect to face numerous penalties if you choose to drive with a suspended license. Driving when your license has been suspended is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which means that anyone found driving during the suspension could go to jail for up to one year. You may also be required to pay a fine of up to $2,500; doing one does not preclude the other, and you may be required to do both. Additionally, you will be eligible for a restricted driver’s license once your license is suspended.
In addition to these penalties, being convicted of driving with a suspended license will further extend the suspension period, for an additional duration equal to the original suspension period. If you continue to drive on a suspended license and are convicted three times, you will automatically spend a minimum of 10 days in jail.
If you work with a skilled traffic attorney to present a compelling case to the judge, you may be able to avoid jail time on your first offense by agreeing to suspended jail time. This means that you may stay out of jail as long as you are not convicted of any further violations.
What To Do If Charged With Driving With A Suspended License
If you have been charged with driving with a suspended license in Virginia, the best thing to do is to reach out to an experienced traffic attorney. Seeking legal counsel offers a number of benefits and provides the best chance of a positive outcome in your case. In defending you, your lawyer will analyze each of the factors that the Commonwealth must prove in order to determine your guilt.
The first is that you must have been operating a vehicle. This is typically simple to prove, since most charges of a suspended license occur when an officer pulls someone over and it becomes clear that they are driving.
The second element of the charge is slightly more flexible. The Commonwealth must prove that your license was suspended while you were driving. A certified copy of the DMV transcript proving that your license had been suspended is typically easily available; however, your attorney may be able to call into question the legality of that suspension.
Finally, the most important element of the case: proving that you were aware that your license was suspended. If the officer who pulled you over asked if you knew that your driving privileges were suspended and you admitted that you did, your case will become more challenging. However, if you did not admit knowledge of the suspension, your attorney may be able to cast doubt on whether you received proper documentation informing you that your license had been suspended. Without proof that you were aware of the suspension, the court may not be able to convict you. Making this challenge in court is a complex process that requires a careful argument and familiarity with traffic law, which is why an attorney should attempt this on your behalf rather than trying it on your own.
Reach Out To Experienced Traffic Lawyers In Virginia
If you have been charged with driving with a suspended license in Virginia and you would like to reduce the penalties as much as possible, you will be best served by working with an attorney with years of experience in Virginia traffic law. The Law Offices of Kermit A. Monge would be happy to evaluate your case and represent you in court to advocate on your behalf. Reach out to schedule a consultation to speak about your situation and collect any necessary evidence before your court date.