Driving on a Suspended License Could Mean JAIL
I talk with a lot of people who are charged with driving on a suspended license. If that’s you (or if your license is suspended and you’re driving anyway), pay close attention:
You might go to jail
This surprises a lot of people, but it’s true. I’m not trying to use scare tactics to get you to hire me. I tell people straight up when I don’t think they’re actually facing jail time. For example, a lot of reckless driving cases don’t end up with jail.
But driving on suspended can.
For starters, it’s a class 1 misdemeanor. That means the potential range of punishment is up to 12 months in jail and/or a $2,500 fine. Your license also has to be suspended for an additional period of time, but that’s a subject for another post.
In most of the jurisdictions where I focus my practice (typically Spotsylvania, Stafford, Fredericksburg, and King George), a first offense of driving on a suspended license doesn’t usually get punished with active jail time. Sometimes the defendant does get suspended jail time, which means that you wouldn’t go to jail as long as you keep your nose clean for a period of time. And keep in mind that this is only a general rule of thumb. A first offense could get actual jail time, depending upon your record and the facts.
Here’s the real kicker: a second offense typically DOES get active jail time.
Yes, you read that right. If you’re charged with driving on a suspended license and you’ve been convicted of the same offense within the past 10 years, you may be going to jail.
We’re not talking months here for a second offense. Usually more like a few days.
If this is your third offense, you’re facing a state-wide mandatory minimum of 10 days in jail. And for offenses beyond that, you may be looking at a longer stretch of jail time.
As you can see, this isn’t a “fix it ticket.” This is a serious offense that could land you behind bars. Fortunately, there may be defenses to your driving on suspended charge.
Hello, my name is Andrew Flusche. I’m your Virginia traffic attorney. One of the questions that comes up a lot when I talk with clients or potential clients is whether or not you’re facing jail for driving on a suspended license in Virginia. The fact of the matter is, is that driving on a suspended license could be jail time in Virginia. The first thing you have to look at to know if you’re looking at jail in your case is how many prior offenses you’ve had for driving on suspended. If this is your first offense for driving on a suspended license, then the likelihood that you’ll get jail is much lower.
However, the next thing you have to look at is why you’re license was suspended in the first place. There are lots of different versions of driving on a suspended license and lots of different reasons why you could have been suspended and then some are more serious than others. For example, if your license was suspended for a DUI or DWI in Virginia and you’re caught driving on a suspended license and you have nothing else on your record except that DUI, you still would be facing the strong likelihood of some real jail time in this case.
However, if you only had traffic tickets and your license is currently suspended just for forgetting to pay a fine for a traffic ticket and you get charged with driving on a suspended and it’s your first offense for driving on suspended, in that scenario the odds are much greater that you would not be facing actual jail depending up on the court or the city where your case is pending.
This is definitely why you need to talk with me about your case so I can help advise you based on all the facts of your unique case, whether or not you’re actually looking at jail time because it does differ a lot depending upon the record, the actual charge you’re facing, the reason for the suspension and the county or the city where your case is pending. If you’re charged with driving on a suspended license, you definitely should contact me right away so we can begin analyzing your case together.