Driving on Suspended or Driving on Revoked can be charged by Police when someone is driving a car after their license has been suspended. There are three statutes under which a person may be charged for driving on suspended license:
- Section 18.2-272 of the Virginia Code, Driving after Forfeiture of License. Each violation is a Class 1 Misdemeanor, but the third conviction within a 10 year period is a a Class 6 Felony (punishable by up to 5 years in prison). This statute includes driving on a restricted license with a Blood Alcohol level in excess of 0.02, and driving a vehicle without ignition interlock after the ignition interlock is ordered by the Court;
- Section 46.2-300 of the Virginia Code, Driving without License Prohibited. This license makes it an offense to drive without a valid license, and includes people who have had their license suspended as well as those that do not have a valid driver license at all. A first conviction for violation of this statute is a Class 2 misdemeanor, subsequent convictions are Class 1 misdemeanors. If a person is convicted of violation of this statute, the judge can give them an additional license suspension of up to 90 days;
- Section 46.2-301 of the Virginia Code, Driving while License, Permit, or Privilege to Drive Suspended or Revoked. This statute makes it illegal to drive a vehicle after the person’s license to drive has been suspended by the Court or by operation of statute. A violation of this statute is aClass 1 Misdemeanor but a third or subsequent conviction within a 10 year period carries a minimum mandatory jail sentence of 10 days. Additionally, a conviction of this statute requires the court to impose an additional suspension of the driver’s license for the same amount of time as the original suspension, or 90 days if there was no defined duration of the original suspension.
Defenses to Driving on Suspended or Revoked License often focus on whether or not notice was received by the Defendant that the license was suspended. In cases where the license was suspended for failure to pay court costs or fines most judges will not require proof of notice given to the Defendant since the person is informed that their license will be suspended if the fines or costs are not paid.
DMV sends a letter to advise people that their license has been suspended, and that letter will be recorded as part of the DMV driver record. This record will show the address where the notice was sent, and can help a defendant prove that notice was not given or was sent to a wrong address.
Another defense to a charge of Driving on Suspended or Revoked License is that the person was driving due to a medical emergency, however it is possible that any emergency situation could provide a defense to this charge.