Driving on a Suspended License Defense – Get the Priors!
If you’re charged with a second or subsequent offense for driving on a suspended license, your attorney should get certified copies of all prior convictions. This could be a critical defense in your case.
Hello, my name is Andrew Flusche. I’m a Virginia traffic attorney. If you’re charged with driving on suspended, for any subsequent offense (so a second or third or fourth offense of driving on suspended) one of the very critical things that needs to happen with your attorney, is we need to find those prior offenses and get certified copies of them. That way we can investigate to see if the prior offenses should actually count against you.
Virginia law, under section 46.2-301(B), says that if you’re convicted of a third or subsequent offense of that statute, or of a substantially similar law, then it would count as a subsequent offense and you would have to have 10 days of mandatory jail time. So if you’re facing that 10 days of mandatory jail time, shouldn’t we do everything in our power to see if we can prevent you from having to go to jail at all? The Commonwealth would have to prove at least two prior offenses for driving on suspended.
Getting that paperwork from the court is so critical. Even if the courts are around the Commonwealth, we need to get that paperwork. Sometimes, it’s not possible, due to the time that we have; there is just not enough time before court sometimes. When at all possible
though, we need to get those certified copies.
Every case depends on the facts and circumstances of your case, but sometimes what happens is maybe the conviction was not actually for driving on suspended. Maybe the conviction was amended to a different offense where it wouldn’t count as a prior offense, or maybe the judge forgot to check to box that says “I find you guilty,” or the judge forgot to sign the paperwork. There are a lot of little issues that seem miniscule, but an issue like those can be enough to keep that prior offense from counting against you.
If you only have two prior offenses and just one of them can be knocked out and not count, then you would not be facing the 10 days of mandatory jail time. Some courts wouldn’t even impose any jail time for just a second offense of driving on suspended.
As you can see, getting those prior offenses is very critical task. It’s very important that we do that, and that’s one reason you need to talk with an attorney ASAP and get somebody on board so we have time to do that before court. That can be one of our most important defenses in a driving on suspended case where you’re alleged to have prior offenses.