Driving on a suspended license is one of the most common misdemeanor traffic violations in Virginia. It is significant to note that driving on a suspended license is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which is the same as a DUI, so it's a serious offense! Many people don't take this charge seriously until after they are convicted, when they find themselves paying hefty fines, or perhaps even sitting in a jail cell. The time to address a driving on suspended charge is before trial, not after.
Driving on suspended license in Virginia is government by Code Section 46.2-301. It establishes that the maximum punishment for a first offense is 12 months in jail, a fine of $2,500, along with a driver's license suspension of an additional 90 days. A third or subsequent offense results in a mandatory minimum of 10 days in jail.
Many people do not hire a lawyer for a driving on suspended charge because they think to themselves that (a) I was driving, and (b) my license was suspended, so there's nothing a lawyer can do for me. That is not true, because there is a third thing that the Commonwealth's Attorney must prove for you to be convicted of this offense, and that is that you knew that your license was suspended! Since nobody can look into your mind, this is where good defense lawyers beat these charges.
There are many ways to prove that you knew your license was suspended. The most obvious way is if you told the officer at the time of driving that you knew your license was suspended. Sometimes an aggressive lawyer can get this statement thrown out, but that is a tall order. Other ways to prove knowledge are a signed DC Form 210 from the court wherein the suspension originated. If you signed the form (and the officer bothered to bring a copy of it to court), then it is tough to beat. Often times, however, the Commonwealth will try to prove its case using nothing more than your DMV transcript. If you hire an aggressive lawyer, this simply will not work. The fact that your DMV transcript shows that your license was suspended doesn't mean that you knew it was suspended. How many of us look at our DMV transcripts? I haven't seen mine, and you likely haven't seen yours.
The bottom line is that driving on suspended cases are winnable. But you must hire a lawyer who knows how to handle this charge. Too many people plead guilty to this serious traffic misdemeanor simply because they do not know any better. Don't let that happen to you. Call us today!