Is driving on a suspended license in Virginia a serious offense?
Yes, driving on a suspended driver’s license is a very serious offense in Virginia. Under Virginia law, driving on a suspended driver’s license is a Class 1 Misdemeanor. A Class 1 Misdemeanor is the most serious type of misdemeanor offense in Virginia, and is just one classification short of being a felony offense.
Since a conviction for driving on a suspended license is a Class 1 Misdemeanor it can result in a very serious fine up to $2,500.00. Although it is rare to receive the maximum fine, it is not uncommon for Virginia judges to issue a fine of several hundred dollars upon finding someone guilty of driving on a suspended license. This only serves to place a person in a much more serious financial crisis considering that most people charged and convicted of driving on a suspended license are suspended due to their failure to pay fines and court costs they already owe to the courts for prior traffic or criminal convictions.
In addition, a conviction for driving on a suspended license often comes with an additional license suspension that is separate and apart from the underlying suspension that is the basis of the driving suspended charge. Virginia law requires the judge who convicts a defendant of driving on a suspended driver’s license to suspend that person’s license for the same period of time for which the person’s license was originally suspended. For example, if the person’s license was originally suspended for six months due to a Reckless Driving conviction, and that person is then later convicted on a driving suspended charge, the judge must resuspend the person’s license for an additional six months. If that person’s original license suspension was for an indefinite period of time, then Virginia law allows a judge to resuspend that person’s license for up to an additional ninety days if they are convicted for driving on a suspended license. And to make matters worse, these new and separate license suspensions do not begin to “run” until the underlying suspension is completely resolved.
Finally, a conviction for driving on a suspended license often results in an active jail sentence. In fact, Virginia judges are required by law to sentence individuals convicted of a third or subsequent offense of driving on a suspended license to a mandatory minimum ten day active jail sentence. Many Virginia judges give significantly more jail time in cases involving a fourth or subsequent offense. And by virtue of being a Class 1 Misdemeanor a judge can sentence a person convicted of driving on a suspended driver’s license up to twelve months in jail.
As you can see, a conviction for driving on a suspended driver’s license in Virginia is a very serious matter. If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of being charged with this offense you should contact an attorney who handles a large volume of traffic matters and regularly appears in the court your case is scheduled to be heard. A good traffic attorney can provide you with very sound advice on how to put yourself in a position to achieve the best possible result for your case.
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