Depending on the state, the particular traffic offense on which the suspension or revocation will be based, or both, the decision to suspend or revoke a driver’s license may be required or within the discretion of the person or entity authorized to suspend or revoke the license. In all states, driver’s license revocation or suspension can have a serious impact on one’s life and should not be taken lightly. Contact Weiland Upton in Richmond to schedule an appointment with an attorney who can explain the laws and regulations governing license revocation or suspension in Virginia.
License Revocation versus Suspension
License revocation is ordered to both discipline the driver and to protect the public. Revocation is usually permanent; that means the driver’s license cannot be reinstate and after the term of revocation required by law has passed, a new license must be issued before driving privileges can be restored. Additionally, revocation typically requires a reinstatement hearing and an examination before a new license will be issued.
Suspension, on the other, is usually temporary, and a new license is not required to reinstate driving privileges. A suspended driver’s license can be reinstated by correcting the violation that caused the suspension (by obtaining proper insurance coverage, for example) or by paying a fine and waiting for the term of suspension required by law to pass.
Grounds for Revocation or Suspension
In general, a license may be properly revoked or suspended to prevent harm to the public or for any reason that would have justified that state’s refusal to issue the license in the first place. For example, because the state may refuse to issue a diver’s license to a person whose physical disability or mental incapacity impair his or her ability to operate a motor vehicle, the state may also revoke a person’s driver’s license because of a similar physical disability or mental incapacity that develops after his or her license was issued.
Driving-related traffic violations as grounds for revocation or suspension. With respect to driving-related offenses, revocation or suspension is usually authorized by the state’s points system whereby a driver who accumulates a certain number of points within period of time may have his or her driver’s license revoked or suspended. Driving-related offenses that might result in driver’s license suspension or revocation include:
- Serious traffic offenses such as drunk driving
- Less serious traffic offense such as speeding
- Reckless driving
- Failure to pay fines
- Failure to attend a hearing
- Allowing a vehicle under your control to be operated in violation of a traffic law
Other violations as grounds for revocation or suspension Other offenses, although not directly related to the operation of a motor vehicle, may also be grounds for license revocation or suspension. For example:
- Violating laws related to motor vehicles, even if public safety not a concern, such as making false or fraudulent statement to the DMV, can be grounds for license revocation or suspension
- Pending the determination of a charge for which revocation or suspension is authorized, the court my order revocation or suspension if it believes the defendant’s continued operation would poses a substantial danger to the public
- Using the driver’s license of another to buy alcohol can be grounds for license revocation or suspension
- In the case of minors, alcohol related offenses such as a minor in possession, can be grounds for license suspension or revocation
- Using a motor vehicle to commit a crime not related to the operation of a motor vehicle can be grounds for license revocation or suspension
Out-of-state Suspension or Revocation
If your right to drive is suspended in a state other than the state in which you reside, the state in which you reside may also elect to revoke or suspend your license within its borders as well. In such cases, the suspension in your state of residence must be concurrent with the foreign state’s suspension or revocation. That is, the suspension or revocation ordered by your home state cannot be imposed after the foreign state reinstates your driving privileges or last longer than the suspension ordered by the foreign state.
Operating a Vehicle During Suspension or Revocation
Driving while your license is suspended or revoked is always a serious offense. Some states treat driving on a suspended or revoked license as a misdemeanor, imposing a hefty fine and possibly jail time. Other states treat driving on a suspended or revoked license as a felony and impose even more severe penalties such as time in a state penitentiary, community service or both.
Additionally, the underlying reason for the suspension or revocation may affect the severity of the penalty imposed. For example, if the underlying reason for the suspension or revocation was a serious traffic offense such as drunk driving, the length of the prison sentence or the number of community service hours may be greater than if the underlying reason was for a less serious offense such as driving without the required insurance coverage.
Another potential penalty for driving during suspension or revocation is an additional period of suspension or revocation.
If you are facing license revocation or suspension, don’t delay. Contact Weiland Upton in Richmond to schedule an appointment with an attorney who can explain the laws and regulations governing license revocation or suspension in Virginia.
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