Driving on a Suspended License Virginia for a 4th Offense
If you are charged with driving on a suspended license in Virginia, the punishment can vary quite a bit depending upon how many prior offenses you may have had for driving suspended. If this is your 4th offense you may be in quite a bit of trouble.
The basic law for driving on a suspended in Virginia is pretty simple. The Commonwealth has to prove that your license was suspended or revoked on the day that you were driving. The Commonwealth also has to prove that you were indeed operating a motor vehicle on the highways of the Commonwealth. Then finally, they also need to prove that you knew you were suspended.
The basic way they are going to prove most of this is they are going to have an officer testify that they saw you behind the wheel, they pulled you over, and then they are going to use your driving transcript to prove your license status, and typically that will also help them prove whether or not you knew about the license suspension.
One obvious defense to driving on a suspended license fourth offense in Virginia is whether or not you actually were driving. It’s not that often the case, but in some cases there is a potential issue of whether or not the Commonwealth can prove that you were actually behind the wheel of the vehicle. For example, let’s say an office sees you at a store and assumes that you drove there. That might not be enough unless he can prove that he saw you get out of the vehicle, or maybe he can testify that you told him you drove there or something.
Another defense is whether or not your license is actually suspended on the date in question. There may be cases where there was a mix-up at the court or the driving records or one thing or another, and your license was not actually suspended. If your license wasn’t suspended, that could possibly be a defense to the charge of driving on a suspended license.
The next defense is one that comes up quite a bit: proving whether or not you had notice of the suspension. Virginia law is clear that you have to know you were actually suspended in order to be guilty of driving on a suspended. At the very least, the Commonwealth has to prove you had notice that you were probably suspended. The main way they do this is with the court’s Notice of Suspension for failure to pay fines and costs, since suspensions for fines / costs are the main problem for most people.
Punishments for driving on suspended 4th offense
The mandatory minimum jail time for driving on a suspended license for a 3rd time in Virginia is 10 days. The judge cannot give you less than 10 days for a 4th offense.
But some judges might give you more jail than that. Some judges think that if a 3rd offense gives you 10 days of jail, a 4th offense should give you 20 days. However, many factors go into determining how much jail you might or might not receive:
How long has it been since your last offense?
Were you driving for something critical like work or medical care?
Were you doing anything actually dangerous when you were pulled over?
If you get jail time, we can hopefully schedule it for a time that works better for your work / family requirements. And some judges will even consider weekend jail.
Fight your 4th offense driving suspended charge
If you’re charged with driving on a suspended license in Virginia, you should contact me right away so we can discuss what I can do to help.