When your license is suspended in the Commonwealth of Virginia, it is your responsibility to honor the suspension period and avoid driving until it is over. Major consequences result from driving with a suspended license, including a longer wait before you can legally drive again, or worse consequences depending on the number of previous offenses.
In addition, driving without auto insurance is considered to result in the same legal ramifications as driving with a suspended or revoked license. Do not let these issues slip your mind as they hold dire consequences.
Driving On A Suspended/Revoked License In Virginia
In Virginia, driving on a suspended or revoked license is classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor. If someone is convicted of a Class 1 misdemeanor, it stays on their criminal record permanently. This will affect their ability to find housing, employment, and a security clearance. Driving on a suspended license can lead to an even longer license suspension, expensive fines, and even jail time. If you have been charged with driving on a suspended or revoked license, it is highly advised to seek legal counsel from a traffic defense attorney. These attorneys have the necessary knowledge to help with your case and possibly even avoid conviction.
Difference Between License Suspension And Revocation
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, the main difference between license suspension and revocation relies on the necessary action needed to get privileges returned.
Driver’s License Suspension
If your driver’s license has been suspended, then you are not allowed to drive in Virginia for a certain period of time. While this time period may vary, it usually falls in the range of six months to one year. Once the suspension has been lifted, you must pay a fee and complete all other requirements to get driving privileges returned. Every circumstance has unique elements, and can be found by contacting your nearest Virginia DMV location.
Revocation Of A Driver’s License
The revocation of a license is a much more severe matter. It can last for a set amount of time, or indefinite, and is common among those that are convicted of multiple DUIs. When attempting to reinstate driving privileges, a fee must be paid as well as other requirements. Differing from a suspended license, when reinstating driving privileges from a revocation, a driver must acquire a new license completely. A driver must retake, and successfully pass, a Virginia driver’s test.
Causes Of A License Suspension Or Revocation In Virginia
There are several reasons that cause a driver’s license to be revoked or suspended. In Virginia, a revocation or suspension may occur due to driving under the influence, reckless driving, or other criminal charge. However, these consequences can happen when you have a medical condition that makes it too dangerous for you to drive or do not pay a fine.
When you a reach a certain number of points on your driver’s license, you can also face a revocation or suspension. As listed by the DMV, there are certain circumstances that can result in a license suspension or revocation. Once a driver receives a certain number of points on their license, they can also face suspension or revocation of their license.
Common Causes Of License Suspension
The DMV provides information on common causes of license suspension. The information is shown below:
- Exceeding limit of license demerit points due to traffic violations
- Driving without automobile insurance
- Failing to pay any necessary fines or fees
- Receiving a reckless driving conviction
- Operating a motor vehicle with a BAC over the legal limit
- Refusing a breathalyzer test when stopped for a DUI
Common Causes Of License Revocation
Similar to license suspension, the DMV provides information on license revocation. Shown below are the reasons a license can be revoked:
- Exceeding limit of license demerit points due to juvenile traffic violations
- Applying for a driver’s license with false information
- Being convicted of a traffic, or non-traffic offense
- Being convicted of voluntary/involuntary vehicular manslaughter
- Driving on a suspended license due to a DUI
- Fleeing the scene of a vehicular accident
- Having a medical condition that hinders your ability to safely drive
- Holding three or more DUI convictions
- Being convicted of a felony regarding a motor vehicle incident
- Renewing a license on behalf on someone else
- Taking another person’s driver’s license test
Driving a vehicle with a suspended license is a Class 1 misdemeanor. According to the Virginia Code §46.2-30, anyone who is convicted of this charge may face a fine up to $2,500, as well as up to a year in jail. They will also have to face the cost of reinstating the driver’s license. If someone accumulates three convictions of driving with a suspended license within a ten-year time period, they may face anywhere between a 10-day or year jail sentence. They will also have to pay a fee up to $2,500.
In the same Virginia Code §46.2-30, it also includes a section that states that drivers who are convicted of driving on a suspended/revoked license will face an extended period of suspension/revocation equal to the initial time period. Meaning, if your license was suspended for a year, and you were caught out driving with said license, you will receive an additional year with suspended driving privileges. Your car could also potentially be impounded if you are convicted of driving on a suspended/revoked license. In order to get your vehicle released, you must pay all storage and impound fees.
Defenses Against Driving On A Suspended Or Revoked License
Not receiving proper notice of a license suspension is one of the most common defenses used in a driving with a suspended or revoked license charge. If your suspension is due to unpaid fines, it is possible that the suspension was made without you being aware before being pulled over by an officer. When using this defense, the prosecutor must be able to prove that you were aware of license suspension when you were pulled over. Proof of this can be found by submitting the DMV’s letter for the case. If this letter was sent to your old address, and not forwarded to the new one, this may be a viable defense.
Another defense option to use is if the police officer who stopped you did not have “reasonable articulable suspicion.” This means that the police officer is only able to stop you when you are in violation of another traffic law. If the officer did not have a valid reason for pulling you over, the case has potential to be dismissed.
Reinstating A Driver’s License
If a person charged with driving with a revoked or suspended license begins to work on reinstating their license before their case is heard, this can help in reducing the charge. The charge also has the opportunity to be dismissed completely depending on the judge’s verdict. Those with licenses that are suspended due to unpaid costs or child support payments must show proof of payment to the Virginia DMV in order to get their license reinstated. When demerit points are the cause of suspension, completing a driver improvement class will be the solution to lifting your suspension.
A restricted license may be eligible for use by a driver as they wait for revocation or suspension to be lifted. This restricted license will allow them to pick up children, as well as drive to church, school, and work. When a person is given restricted driving privileges, they are required to fulfill all necessary conditions. These include specifications by the court and DMV reinstatement fees, all needing to happen before a restricted license is granted.
Looking For A Qualified Traffic Defense Attorney?
The traffic defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Kermit A. Monge, PLLC are ready and willing to assist you in any traffic violation cases necessary. We strive to provide you with the best possible outcome in a driving with a suspended or revoked license case.