Driving on a Suspended License in Virginia
Virginia DUI Attorney Fighting Your Charges
Driving on a suspended license in Virginia puts you at risk for a significant fine—up to $2,500—and up to a year in jail. Upon conviction, you will also face further suspension of your driver license. In some cases, you could even face license revocation and the impounding of your car. Upon conviction for this offense, you will have a permanent criminal record.
Although you can have your license suspended for a variety of reasons, most Virginia drivers who incur this penalty do so as the result of getting a DUI. After a DUI arrest—or if you refuse a breath test—the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) automatically suspends your license. Upon conviction for drunk driving, you could face additional restrictions on your driving privileges.
Talk to an experienced suspended license lawyer in Virginia as quickly as possible. To learn more, contact The Law Office of Michael Pignone now.
Penalties for Driving with a Suspended License in Virginia
In Virginia, driving with a suspended license is a Class 1 misdemeanor offense, the most serious type of misdemeanor. The penalties you could face will depend on the circumstances of your arrest and your criminal history. For example, you face up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine for a first or second offense. For a third offense within 10 years, you face mandatory jail time.
Upon conviction for driving with a suspended license, you will also face additional license suspension, typically the duration of the original suspension. So if your original license suspension was 60 days, your license will be suspended for an additional 60 days.
If your license was suspended due to a DUI, the Commonwealth will impound your vehicle immediately if you are arrested for driving on a suspended license, for a period of 30 days. Upon conviction, the court could impose an additional 90 days of impound. You will also be responsible for all impound, towing, and storage fees.
Reasons for Virginia Driver License Suspension
In Virginia, the DMV can suspend your license for reasons that include the following.
- Failure to maintain insurance on your car;
- Failure to complete a required driver improvement clinic;
- Failure to pay jail fees;
- Failure to pay child support;
- Providing alcohol to a minor;
- Excessive demerit points; and
- Failure to pay a judgement related to a car accident.
If you are arrested for first-time DUI with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or above, or if you refuse a breath test when requested by an officer, the DMV will suspend your license automatically for seven days.
For a second offense DUI or a second breath test refusal, the suspension duration increases to 60 days (or until you go to trial, whichever is first). For a third offense or refusal, DMV will suspend your license until your trial.
Because license suspension by the DMV is an administrative process (as opposed to a criminal action overseen by the courts), this is known as administrative license suspension or ALS. If you are convicted of DUI, the court could impose further suspension or revocation.
Suspension vs. Revocation in Virginia
In the Commonwealth, the term suspension refers to the temporary withdrawal of driving privileges. Once the imposed suspension period concludes, you can get your license reinstated; however, you must meet all reinstatement requirements that apply to your suspension.
The term revocation refers to the permanent withdrawal of your rights to drive in Virginia. The DMV revokes driving privileges for violations that include the following.
- Obtaining a driver license with false information;
- Taking a driver license test for someone else;
- Felony motor vehicle offenses;
- Making a bomb threat; and
- Vehicular manslaughter.
You can also face revocation after multiple DUI conviction and repeat offenses of driving with a suspended license.
Having your license revoked does not necessarily mean that you can never drive again, however. Once you have satisfied the terms and conditions of the revocation, you can reapply for a Virginia driver license; however, you must take (and pass) both the written and practical tests and pay for a new license.
Fighting a Driving on a Suspended License Charge
Typically, the first step in building a suspended license defense is to determine whether the police had a valid legal reason to pull you over. Officers cannot make a traffic stop unless they have a reasonable suspicion that you broke the law somehow. If your attorney can prove that the traffic stop was illegal, the court could rescind your suspension.
Another potential option for fighting this charge involves deficiencies in the suspension notification. Under Virginia law, the DMV must notify you of a license suspension in writing. If the DMV cannot prove that it notified you, the court may dismiss the charges. An experienced attorney might also build a defense around the date of your suspension and the date you were pulled over if they conflict or fail to overlap.
The best legal strategies for your case will depend on the circumstances involved. An experienced suspended license attorney from The Law Office of Michael Pignone can review the facts of your case and recommend the right approach for you.
Getting Restricted Driving Privileges
If you cannot provide sufficient evidence to have your suspension reduced or rescinded, you can petition the court for restricted driving privileges. If the court agrees, you will be permitted to drive for specific purposes, including the following.
- To get to or from work,
- To get to or from school,
- To transport your child,
- To attend church, and
- To attend medical appointments.
A restricted license also allows you to handle personal matters such as grocery shopping, paying bills, going to the bank, etc. You also have permission to drive to your court hearings and to Alcohol Safety Action Program meetings.
Having an experienced restricted license attorney on your side can provide significant benefits. Your attorney can prepare your petition and build the most persuasive argument possible on your behalf to help you get your driving privileges back.
Contact a Virginia Suspended License Attorney Now
If you were arrested for driving on a suspended license, contact a Virginia DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Attorney Michael Pignone, of The Law Offices of Michael Pignone, has more than two decades of experience as a Virginia DUI defense attorney. We understand the serious situation you’re facing. We will work tirelessly to protect your legal rights and fight to help you retain your driving privileges.
Our office assists clients throughout northern Virginia, including Fairfax, Farquier, and Prince William Counties. Contact us now to learn more about how we can help you fight a Virginia driving with a suspended license charge.