Driving on a Suspended License Lawyer

Driving on a suspended license is taken very seriously in Virginia and as such carries very significant penalties.  This offense is a class 1 misdemeanor which is the most severe classification.  Therefore, a conviction carries very real possibilities of a jail sentence, high fine, and long license suspensions.  In fact, the driving on a suspended license statute, Va Code § 46.2-301 requires an additional period of license suspension in addition to mandatory jail after multiple convictions. 

Driving on a suspended or revoked license appears in Virginia Code § 46.2-301(B):

"B. Except as provided in §§ 46.2-304 and 46.2-357, no resident or nonresident (i) whose driver's license, learner's permit, or privilege to drive a motor vehicle has been suspended or revoked or (ii) who has been directed not to drive by any court or by the Commissioner, or (iii) who has been forbidden, as prescribed by operation of any statute of the Commonwealth or a substantially similar ordinance of any county, city or town, to operate a motor vehicle in the Commonwealth shall thereafter drive any motor vehicle or any self-propelled machinery or equipment on any highway in the Commonwealth until the period of such suspension or revocation has terminated or the privilege has been reinstated or a restricted license is issued pursuant to subsection E. A clerk's notice of suspension of license for failure to pay fines or costs given in accordance with § 46.2-395 shall be sufficient notice for the purpose of maintaining a conviction under this section. For the purposes of this section, the phrase "motor vehicle or any self-propelled machinery or equipment" shall not include mopeds."

There are three primary elements for the Commonwealth must prove for a conviction under this statute.  First the Commonwealth must prove that you were driving a motor vehicle.  The second element the Commonwealth is required to show is that your license was in fact suspended.  Finally, the third and most important element is that you had knowledge of the suspension.

The first two elements are pretty straightforward and usually very easy for the Commonwealth to prove.  However, the third element can often be more problematic for the Commonwealth.  The prosecutor must prove that you had actual knowledge that your license was suspended.  At times this can be difficult for the Commonwealth to prove affirmatively.  I have seen many attorneys concede this point without forcing the prosecutor to prove it resulting in unnecessary convictions for their clients.

Each driving suspended case is different and it is vitally important to speak with an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced handling these cases.  I offer free consultations and invite you to contact me at your earliest convenience.