Being able to drive is a necessity when you need to go to work, take your child to school and other activities, and take care of your day-to-day activities. However, like in other states, driving is a privilege and not a right in the Commonwealth of Virginia. There are a number of reasons why your driver’s license could be suspended. If you are caught driving when your license was suspended, you may face harsh consequences.
When Can Your Driver’s License Be Suspended?
When your driver’s license is suspended, you are not permitted to drive a motor vehicle, truck, motorcycle, or other motor-propelled vehicle on a road or highway. There are a variety of reasons that your driving privileges could be suspended, such as:
- Failing to maintain required insurance coverage on a motor vehicle or failing to pay the required uninsured motor vehicle fee
- Failing to complete a driver’s improvement class when required to take it
- Failing to pay child support
- Being convicted of reckless driving where part of the sentence includes suspension of your driver’s license
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol (DUI) or drugs
- Operating a motor vehicle without an ignition interlock device after being ordered to use one as part of a DUI sentence
- Injuring or killing someone while driving under the influence
- Failing to stop at a collision scene when someone is injured or killed—also referred to as a hit and run accident
- Committing voluntary or involuntary manslaughter while operating a motor vehicle or doing so while committing a DUI offense
- Providing alcohol to a minor or to a person who is already intoxicated
- Failing to pay a civil judgment in a motor vehicle accident case
- Accumulating too many points on your driving record for traffic offenses within a relatively short period of time
- Attempting to elude the police
- Failing to take a breath or blood test when being charged with DUI
- Having a mental or physical condition that prevents safe driving
Your Driver’s License Cannot Be Suspended for Failing to Pay Court Costs and Fines
Under prior Virginia law, your driver’s license could be suspended if you did not pay court costs and fines that you owed. Many people in our state had their driver’s license suspended for this reason. However, under a new law that went into effect on July 1, 2019, your driver’s license cannot be suspended for failure to pay these fees. If it was suspended for this reason, you have a right to have your driving privileges reinstated.
How Long Could Your Driver’s License Be Suspended?
The length of time that your driver’s license would be suspended depends on why you lost the right to drive. For example, if you were convicted of a first offense DUI, your driver’s license would be suspended for one year. If this was a subsequent DUI offense, the judge could suspend your driver’s license for much longer or even revoke your driving privileges.
You could also have your driver’s license suspended as part of the sentence for other traffic offenses, such as a hit and run or reckless driving. The judge may consider many factors in deciding how long you would be unable to drive, such as the seriousness of the offense and your prior driving record.
Penalties You Face for Driving When Your Driver’s License Is Suspended
You could be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor if you are arrested for driving without a valid driver’s license. A Class 1 misdemeanor is the most serious misdemeanor offense in Virginia. If convicted, you could face these punishments for a first or second offense:
- Jail sentence of up to 12 months
- Fine up to $2,500
- Suspension of your driver’s license for an additional period of time
- Impoundment of your vehicle
In addition, you would face the long-term consequences of having a permanent criminal record if you are convicted.
Contact an Experienced Lawyer Today
Was your driver’s license suspended? Our skilled legal team can help you get your driving privileges restored. To find out how we can assist you, call our Manassas office or start a live chat to schedule your free initial consultation.