Section 46.2- 300 of the Code of Virginia provides that no person shall drive any motor vehicle on any highway until the person has obtained a valid driver’s license. There are certain exemptions to this rule such as non-residents driving on a license from their state, but generally, a resident must have a license before driving in Virginia.
A first offense of this provision is a Class 2 misdemeanor and second or subsequent offenses are charged as Class 1 misdemeanors. As such, a first offense carries a potential punishment of confinement in jail for not more than six months and a fine of not more than $1,000. A second or subsequent offense carries a potential punishment of confinement in jail for not more than twelve months and a fine of not more than $2,500. The judge may suspended a persons driving privileges for up to 90 days upon the conviction of any offense under section 46.2-300.
In reality, judges rarely impose the maximum punishment and “standard” punishments differ from one jurisdiction to another. While it is theoretically possible to receive a jail upon conviction of a first offense, this outcome would be unusual in most jurisdictions. Judges do occasionally impose jail on a second offense and regularly impose jail on third and subsequent offenses.
Please contact Weiland Upton (804-355-8037) if you have been charged with driving without a license in Virginia.