Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License

More often than not there is an innocent and reasonable explanation as to why you may have been driving on a suspended or revoked license. In many cases, someone charged with driving on a suspended or revoked license does not even know that his or her license was suspended or revoked until they are actually pulled over by law enforcement and informed of that fact. It is entirely possible that you may have never received the suspension notification in the mail (e.g., new and/or wrong address). It is also a possibility that your license suspension or revocation was simply the result of a computer system or administrative error. Claiming not to have received the notice is a defense that can be used to keep your record clean and retain your privilege to drive in the Commonwealth.

What does it mean to have a suspended license? When your driver’s license is suspended, you are temporarily not allowed to operate a motor vehicle in Virginia. Once the suspension period is over, you can have your license reinstated by the DMV and you will need to comply with all of their reinstatement requirements, including payment of the reinstatement fee.

Some common reasons your license may be suspended:

  • Failing to pay traffic infraction fines and/or court costs
  • A reckless driving conviction
  • Too many demerit points on your DMV driving record in a short amount of time (Rapid Point Accumulation)
  • Failing to pay child support, jail fees, or a judgment against you (relating to a motor vehicle accident for which you were found guilty)
  •  Failing to maintain automobile insurance, or failing to pay Virginia’s uninsured motor vehicle fee
  •  A health condition that affects your ability to drive, such as seizures, impaired vision, or loss of motor functions

What does it mean to have a revoked license? When your driver’s license is revoked, you are prohibited from operating a motor vehicle (for any purpose and for any length of time) in the Commonwealth. Once the revocation period is over, you can seek to have your license reinstated after you have complied with the terms of reinstatement. However, you must re-apply for a new license and re-take the drivers test.

Some common reasons your license may be revoked:

  • A conviction for DUI/DWI
  • Getting caught driving while your license is suspended because of DUI/DWI
  • Being convicted of voluntary or involuntary vehicular manslaughter
  • Falsifying information when applying for a drivers license or taking someone else’s driving test
  • Drug convictions (even when driving was not a part of the crime)
  • Committing a felony using a motor vehicle
  • Driving away from the scene of a crash without stopping to provide your personal information (e.g., “hit and run”)
  • Accumulating too many demerit points on your DMV driving record resulting from multiple driving convictions while still under the age of 18

What are the penalties for driving on a suspended or revoked license? Typically the penalty for driving on a suspended or revoked license starts at an additional suspension of the same period from the original cause of the suspension. You may also be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor, pay additional fines and penalties, and possibly serve jail time (which can be a mandatory minimum time). Whether or not a judge will sentence a charged person to the maximum penalty depends on past driving history, and other factors.

First Offense Maximum Penalties:

  • Class 1 misdemeanor
  • 12 months in jail
  • $2500.00 fine
  • Same suspension period as the prior suspension, or up to 90 days suspension

Second Offense Maximum Penalties:

  • Class 1 misdemeanor
  • 12 months in jail
  • $2500.00 fine
  • Same suspension period as the prior suspension, or up to 90 days suspension

Third Offense Maximum Penalties: 

  • Class 1 misdemeanor
  • 10 days mandatory jail time, and up to 12 months in jail
  • $2500.00 fine
  • Same suspension period as the prior suspension, or up to 90 days suspension

Why should I contact an attorney? There are defense options that exist to fight a driving on a suspended or revoked license charge. It takes a skilled attorney to keep the most serious consequences and penalties off the table.
If you have been charged with Driving on a Suspended or Revoked license, contact The Paracha Firm immediately for a no-fee consultation.

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