Can I Avoid Jail Time for a Third Offense Driving on Suspended License in Virginia?

Can I Avoid Jail Time for a Third Offense Driving on Suspended License in Virginia?

The answer depends on the code section for which you are ultimately convicted. Virginia law enforcement generally rely on the computerized database of a defendant's driving record when electing the code section to charge. Where the record indicates that a license was suspended or revoked the charge will likely be written under Virginia Code § 46.2-301 Driving while license, permit, or privilege to drive suspended or revoked. This section is a class 1 misdemeanor carrying up twelve months in jail, an additional operator's license suspension equal to the previous period of suspension or revocation, and perhaps most troubling a mandatory 10 days in jail on a third or subsequent conviction. Absent driving based on a serious emergency, the trial court will impose 10 days on any third or subsequent offense. This can be a harsh sentence leading to the loss of employment and many other consequences.

Not every person charged under 46.2-301 is properly charged. For many defendants, their suspensions and revocations have lapsed, and fines have been paid. Often the only thing standing in the way of a valid driver's license is payment of a reinstatement fee to the Department of Motor Vehicles. These individuals are improperly charged under 46.2-301 and should instead be charged under 46.2-300 Driving without license. This offense is class 2 misdemeanor with a maximum of six month in jail and limit of up to 90 days of additional license suspension. Best of all there's absolutely no mandatory minimum under the latter code section even with multiple prior convictions under 46.2-301.

If you or someone you know is charged with a serious traffic or criminal charge an experienced trial attorney can help. Let us review the facts of your case and find ways to avoid or minimize the effects of your charge. Contact us today to discuss the specific facts or your case and put you talents to work for you.

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