Driving on a Suspended License in Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia may suspend or revoke your license for many reasons. You may be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor if your drive while your license is suspended or revoked.
Reasons for Suspension or Revocation
Your license may be suspended or revoked for alcohol or other driving offenses, certain criminal convictions, or other reasons.
Your license may be suspended or revoked for:
- certain alcohol offenses, including driving while intoxicated.
- reckless driving or aggressive driving, and
- providing false information in an application for a license or permit. (Va. Code § 46.2-391, § 46.2-392, § 46.2-318.)
A license may be suspended or revoked if you are convicted of certain crimes, including:
- voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, if a vehicle was used
- a felony relating to motor vehicle laws, or any other felony if a vehicle was used
- failing to stop if you are involved in an accident that kills or injures someone
- certain conduct punishable as involuntary manslaughter that results from driving while intoxicated, and
- theft or unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. (Va. Code § 46.2-389(A), § 46.2-390.)
It may also be suspended or revoked for other reasons, including if you:
- are more than 90 days delinquent in child support payments
- fail or refuse to pay certain fines, court costs, restitution or other penalties
- refuse or fail to pay certain taxes owed to Virginia, and
- are incompetent to drive because of mental illness, alcoholism or other conditions. (Va. Code § 46.2-320(B), § 46.2-395(A), § 46.2-399, § 46.2-400.)
Your license may be suspended or revoked in other circumstances as well.
Reinstating Your License
The length of your suspension or revocation may depend on the reason for the suspension or revocation and other factors. Before your license may be reinstated, you may have to pay a reinstatement fee, pay other fees, or fulfill other conditions.
Your reinstatement fee may be $30 in some circumstances. (Va. Code § 46.2-411(C).) In some circumstances, including suspensions or revocations relating to certain alcohol offenses, you may have to pay an additional $30 fee. (Va. Code § 46.2-411(C).)
In addition to the reinstatement fee, you may be required to pay an additional $40 fee. (Va. Code § 46.2-411(F).) In some cases an additional $5 fee may also apply. (Va. Code § 46.2-411(G).)
You may not have to pay a reinstatement fee in certain cases if your license was suspended or revoked because you were in competent to drive for certain reasons. (Va. Code § 46.2-411(D).)
In certain circumstances, you may be required to show proof of insurance before your license will be reinstated. (Va. Code § 46.2-411(B).)
Criminal Charges for Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License
You may be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor if you drive while your license is suspended or revoked. (Va. Code § 46.2-301(C).) The maximum penalty for a Class 1 misdemeanor is:
- up to 12 months in jail, and
- a $2,500 fine. (Va. Code § 18.2-11(a).)
If you have two prior convictions for driving while your license is suspended or revoked, you may be subject to a minimum sentence of 10 days in jail. (Va. Code § 46.2-301(C).)
A conviction may also result in your license being suspended or revoked for an additional period. (Va. Code § 46.2-301(D).)
In certain circumstances, including suspensions or revocations due to driving while intoxicated, your license may be immobilized. (Va. Code § 46.2-301.1(A).)
Legal Help for Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License in Virginia
As you have learned, a conviction for driving on a suspended or revoked license can result in fines or jail time. A conviction can bring serious consequences to many areas of your life, including obtaining or retaining insurance. While the law provides specific penalties for driving on a suspended or revoked license, in reality your sentence will depend on your circumstances and the attitude of local judges and prosecutors toward the crime. An attorney who is familiar with these charges in your area is best able to provide you with information about your case.