Driving on Suspended – Three Options

If you’re facing a Virginia driving on suspended charge, you have options. Here are three of them:

1. Ignore it.

You can certainly ignore your charge and hope that it will go away. However, it’s not going to happen.

If you simply don’t go to court and ignore the fact that you’re charged with driving on suspended, the court will most likely issue a capias warrant (a bench warrant) for your arrest. What that means is you’ll be facing an additional charge for failure to appear in court. Even if you weren’t facing jail for the original charge, you may really be facing jail due to failing to appear.

2. Go to court by yourself.

For your driving on suspended case, you will typically have two hearings. The first hearing that you typically have is usually an arraignment. Arraignment is a time when the court is going tell you that you’re entitled to an attorney, and it is 100% safe to go to the arraignment yourself without a lawyer.

The important thing to understand, though, is that when it comes time for a trial, you could be facing a risk of jail time. Going to trial without an attorney could be a very risky proposition.

I’ve seen lots of different people come in with driving on suspended cases without attorneys, and the results can be quite varied. One thing that concerns me is I’ve seen prosecutors put on a driving on suspended case and argue that the person should be convicted when there is a clear lack of notice that the person was suspended. In other words, the defendant had no legal notice that they were actually suspended, and it was up to the judge to dismiss the case.

Without an attorney, you’re putting something very important in one man’s hands. If those defendants had an attorney I would hope that the prosecutor would be convinced by the defense attorney that they had a bad case. But when there is no attorney involved on your side, you have no one to lobby for you and to try to push the legal issues.

Also, a local, experienced, defense attorney will know the key players and can hopefully help negotiate a much better outcome in your case than you were otherwise facing. For example, on a first offense of driving on suspended, if you get your license fixed before we go to court, sometimes we can get the prosecutor to amend the charge to something simple like not having a license in your possession, which is just a $10 traffic ticket. That’s a much better outcome than a misdemeanor, and unfortunately, if you don’t have an attorney, a lot of prosecutors aren’t willing to do that. They have to be pushed in that direction.

3. Hire an attorney.

While I’m not saving that every driving on suspended case requires an attorney, it makes sense to hire one when possible. The main disadvantage of hiring an attorney is the cost. It certainly does cost some money out of your pocket to hire someone to represent you; however, there are great advantages that far outweigh the small monetary cost.

As I mentioned above, an attorney will hopefully be able to navigate your case to get the best outcome possible, and in many cases that might be amending the charge to a lesser offense. Or if you’re charged with driving on suspended third or subsequent offense, an attorney may be able to help keep you out of jail.

Andrew Flusche

My name is Andrew Flusche. I am a traffic and misdemeanor defense lawyer in Virginia. I limit my practice to traffic tickets and misdemeanor defense, so I know the ins and outs of these offenses. I literally wrote the book on reckless driving in Virginia which you can get on Amazon here or download for free here. I opened my practice in 2008 after earning my Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Since then, I have earned over 600 5-star reviews from happy clients on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Virginia, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your initial consultation is always free, and you'll talk directly with me about the details of your case.

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