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.