Driving on a suspended license is considered a misdemeanor offense in Virginia. The penalties can include a suspended license, jail sentence, and an expensive fine. However, if you cause a car accident, the charge can increase to a felony crime.
Virginia Law Regarding Driving on a Suspended License
According to Virginia statute § 46.2-301, a resident or nonresident is prohibited from driving a motor vehicle or self-propelled equipment or machinery on any highway in the state if:
- The individual has a revoked or suspended learner’s permit, driver’s license, or privilege to operate a motor vehicle
- The Commissioner or any court directed the person not to drive
- Any statute of the Commonwealth or a similar county, city, or town ordinance has forbidden the operation of a vehicle
Operating a motor vehicle or any self-propelled machinery or equipment is only allowed when:
- The revocation or suspension period has ended
- Driving privileges have been reinstated
- A restricted license has been issued
Proving a Driving on a Suspended License Offense
The prosecutor and Commonwealth of Virginia must show three major elements existed to prove you drove on a suspended license:
- You were the person operating the motor vehicle
- You were driving with a suspended license
- You knew your license had been suspended
Virginia Penalties for Driving on a Suspended License
The penalty you can face for driving with a suspended license depends on multiple factors. If it’s only the first offense, you might be able to avoid spending time in jail. Many judges will issue alternative penalties.
However, some judges consider a jail sentence a fair punishment. Causing a car accident with a suspended license can result in enhanced sentencing, especially if there’s an injury or death.
If you face a first offense of driving on a suspended license, it will be a class 1 misdemeanor charge. Sentencing can include:
- A maximum of one year in jail
- Up to a $2,500 fine
- Suspended license for the same period of the previous suspension
A second offense of driving with a suspended license carries a harsher penalty than the first offense. Most judges determine a jail sentence is necessary unless mitigating circumstances exist.
The penalty for a second offense will likely include a mandatory minimum sentence of ten days in jail and:
- Up to a maximum of a one-year jail sentence
- A fine of up to $2,500
- Additional license suspension up to the same period as the original offense
Sentencing for a third offense of driving with a suspended license is similar to a second offense if convicted within ten years of a second offense. Penalties can include:
- A maximum of a $2,500 fine
- Up to one year in jail
- Revoked driver’s license or disqualification of driving privileges
If convicted, the court must issue a mandatory minimum ten-day jail sentence. However, the judge could require a minimum of a month or multiple months up to the maximum one-year sentencing. Sentencing depends on various factors and what they believe you deserve for the offense committed.
Contact a Virginia Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you were arrested or charged with driving on a suspended license, do not hesitate to contact an experienced and trusted Virginia criminal defense attorney from Whitestone Young, PC in Fairfax.
Our legal team has fought for our clients for more than 40 years in Virginia. You can depend on us to advocate for your rights and work hard to defend you against the charges you face. We will provide the representation and guidance you need to get through this overwhelming time in your life.
Contact Whitestone Young, PC today for your free consultation.