Virginia Driving On Suspended License

Virginia Driving with a Suspended or Revoked License, Driving Without License, and other License Related Offenses

In Virginia, Driving on a Revoked or Suspended License is classified as a class 1 misdemeanor carrying a potential maximum of one year in jail, $2,500.00 in fines, civil remedial fees, and driver’s license suspension.  A conviction of driving without a license is a class 2 misdemeanor carries a maximum of 6 months in jail and $1,000 in fines.

Some of the issues we handle include:

In Virginia, Driving on a Revoked or Suspended License is a serious traffic charge.  These charges frequently arise when somebody’s driver’s license is suspended for failure to pay fines resulting from a traffic infraction or from a DMV administrative suspension. To support a conviction for driving on a revoked or suspended license in Virginia, the Commonwealth must also show that the Defendant had notice of the suspension.

A conviction of driving on a suspended license may carry with it an additional period of suspension, maybe up to an additional year.  This may in turn become another charge of driving on a suspended license if you need to drive at any time during that year… the third time a mandatory minimum jail sentence applies.

A competent Virginia lawyer can provide you with assistance if you are accused of driving on a suspended license.  Our firm will analyze your particular case, talk to the police officer who gave you the driving on a suspended license ticket, discuss your case with the prosecuting attorney…. then advise you to enter into a negotiated resolution or go through with trial.

The Virginia Driving on a suspended license statute states:

§ 46.2-301. Driving while license, permit, or privilege to drive suspended or revoked A. In addition to any other penalty provided by this section, any motor vehicle administratively impounded or immobilized under the provisions of § 46.2-301.1 may, in the discretion of the court, be impounded or immobilized for an additional period of up to ninety days upon conviction of an offender for driving while his driver’s license, learner’s permit, or privilege to drive a motor vehicle has been suspended or revoked for (i) a violation of §§ 18.2-36.1, 18.2-51.4, 18.2-266 or § 46.2-341.24 or a substantially similar ordinance or law in any other jurisdiction or (ii) driving after adjudication as an habitual offender, where such adjudication was based in whole or in part on an alcohol-related offense, or where such person’s license has been administratively suspended under the provisions of § 46.2-391.2. However, if, at the time of the violation, the offender was driving a motor vehicle owned by another person, the court shall have no jurisdiction over such motor vehicle but may order the impoundment or immobilization of a motor vehicle owned solely by the offender at the time of arrest. All costs of impoundment or immobilization, including removal or storage expenses, shall be paid by the offender prior to the release of his motor vehicle.

B. Except as provided in §§ 46.2-304 and 46.2-357, no resident or nonresident (i) whose driver’s license, learner’s permit, or privilege to drive a motor vehicle has been suspended or revoked or (ii) who has been directed not to drive by any court, by the Commissioner, or by operation of law pursuant to this title or (iii) who has been forbidden, as prescribed by law, by the Commissioner, the State Corporation Commission, the Commonwealth Transportation Commissioner, any court, or the Superintendent of State Police, to operate a motor vehicle in the Commonwealth shall thereafter drive any motor vehicle or any self-propelled machinery or equipment on any highway in the Commonwealth until the period of such suspension or revocation has terminated. A clerk’s notice of suspension of license for failure to pay fines or costs given in accordance with § 46.2-395 shall be sufficient notice for the purpose of maintaining a conviction under this section. For the purposes of this section, the phrase “motor vehicle or any self-propelled machinery or equipment” shall not include mopeds.

C. A first or second offense of violating this section shall constitute a Class 1 misdemeanor. A third or subsequent offense shall constitute a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by a minimum, mandatory term of confinement in jail of ten days which shall not be suspended in whole or in part. However, the court shall not be required to impose a minimum, mandatory term of confinement in any case where a motor vehicle is operated in violation of this section in a situation of apparent extreme emergency which requires such operation to save life or limb.

In addition, the court shall suspend the person’s driver’s license for the same period for which it had been previously suspended or revoked when the person violated this section.

D. In the event the person has violated this section by driving during a period of suspension or revocation which was not for a definite period of time, the court shall suspend the person’s license, permit or privilege to drive for an additional period not to exceed ninety days. Any additional suspension ordered under the provisions of this section shall commence upon the expiration of the previous suspension or revocation unless the previous suspension or revocation has expired prior to the ordering of an additional suspension or revocation.

Additionally, if you are caught driving with a suspended license in Virginia or allow someone else to drive your vehicle with a suspended license in Virginia, your vehicle may be impounded.  The statute reads:

§ 46.2-301.1. Administrative impoundment of motor vehicle for certain driving while license suspended or revoked offenses; judicial impoundment upon conviction; penalty for permitting violation with one’s vehicle.

A. The motor vehicle being driven by any person (i) whose driver’s license, learner’s permit or privilege to drive a motor vehicle has been suspended or revoked for a violation of § 18.2-51.4 or driving while under the influence in violation of § 18.2-266, 46.2-341.24 or a substantially similar ordinance or law in any other jurisdiction; (ii) driving after adjudication as an habitual offender, where such adjudication was based in whole or in part on an alcohol-related offense, or where such person’s license has been administratively suspended under the provisions of § 46.2-391.2; or (iii) driving after such person’s driver’s license, learner’s permit or privilege to drive a motor vehicle has been suspended or revoked for unreasonable refusal of tests in violation of § 18.2-268.3, 46.2-341.26:3 or a substantially similar ordinance or law in any other jurisdiction, shall be impounded or immobilized by the arresting law-enforcement officer at the time the person is arrested for driving after his driver’s license, learner’s permit or privilege to drive has been so revoked or suspended. The impoundment or immobilization shall be for a period of 30 days.

The arresting officer, acting on behalf of the Commonwealth, shall serve notice of the impoundment upon the arrested person. The notice shall include information on the person’s right to petition for review of the impoundment pursuant to subsection B. A copy of the notice of impoundment shall be delivered to the magistrate and thereafter promptly forwarded to the clerk of the general district court of the jurisdiction where the arrest was made. Transmission of the notice may be by electronic means.

At least five days prior to the expiration of the period of impoundment imposed pursuant to this section or § 46.2-301, the clerk shall provide the offender with information on the location of the motor vehicle and how and when the vehicle will be released.

All reasonable costs of impoundment or immobilization, including removal and storage expenses, shall be paid by the offender prior to the release of his motor vehicle. Notwithstanding the above, where the arresting law-enforcement officer discovers that the vehicle was being rented or leased from a vehicle renting or leasing company, the officer shall not impound the vehicle or continue the impoundment but shall notify the rental or leasing company that the vehicle is available for pickup and shall notify the clerk if the clerk has previously been notified of the impoundment.

B. Any driver who is the owner of the motor vehicle that is impounded or immobilized under subsection A may, during the period of the impoundment, petition the general district court of the jurisdiction in which the arrest was made to review that impoundment. The court shall review the impoundment within the same time period as the court hears an appeal from an order denying bail or fixing terms of bail or terms of recognizance, giving this matter precedence over all other matters on its docket. If the person proves to the court by a preponderance of the evidence that the arresting law-enforcement officer did not have probable cause for the arrest, or that the magistrate did not have probable cause to issue the warrant, the court shall rescind the impoundment. Upon rescission, the motor vehicle shall be released and the Commonwealth shall pay or reimburse the person for all reasonable costs of impoundment or immobilization, including removal or storage costs paid or incurred by him. Otherwise, the court shall affirm the impoundment. If the person requesting the review fails to appear without just cause, his right to review shall be waived.

The court’s findings are without prejudice to the person contesting the impoundment or to any other potential party as to any proceedings, civil or criminal, and shall not be evidence in any proceedings, civil or criminal.

C. The owner or co-owner of any motor vehicle impounded or immobilized under subsection A who was not the driver at the time of the violation, may petition the general district court in the jurisdiction where the violation occurred for the release of his motor vehicle. The motor vehicle shall be released if the owner or co-owner proves by a preponderance of the evidence that he (i) did not know that the offender’s driver’s license was suspended or revoked when he authorized the offender to drive such motor vehicle or (ii) did not consent to the operation of the motor vehicle by the offender. If the owner proves by a preponderance of the evidence that his immediate family has only one motor vehicle and will suffer a substantial hardship if that motor vehicle is impounded or immobilized for 30 days, the court, in its discretion, may release the vehicle after some period of less than 30 days.

D. Notwithstanding any provision of this section, a subsequent dismissal or acquittal of the charge of driving on a suspended or revoked license shall result in an immediate rescission of the impoundment or immobilization provided in subsection A. Upon rescission, the motor vehicle shall be released and the Commonwealth shall pay or reimburse the person for all reasonable costs of impoundment or immobilization, including removal or storage costs, incurred or paid by him.

E. Any person who knowingly authorizes the operation of a motor vehicle by a person he knows has had his driver’s license, learner’s permit or privilege to drive a motor vehicle suspended or revoked for any of the reasons set forth in subsection A, shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

F. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section or § 46.2-301, nothing in this section shall impede or infringe upon a valid lienholder’s rights to cure a default under an existing security agreement. Furthermore, such lienholder shall not be liable for any cost of impoundment or immobilization, including removal or storage expenses which may accrue pursuant to the provisions of this section or § 46.2-301. In the event a lienholder repossesses or removes a vehicle from storage pursuant to an existing security agreement, the Commonwealth shall pay all reasonable costs of impoundment or immobilization, including removal and storage expenses, to any person or entity providing such services to the Commonwealth, except to the extent such costs or expenses have already been paid by the offender to such person or entity. Such payment shall be made within seven calendar days after a request is made by such person or entity to the Commonwealth for payment. Nothing herein, however, shall relieve the offender from liability to the Commonwealth for reimbursement or payment of all such reasonable costs and expenses.

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Driving without a driver’s license in Virginia is also a serious crime.  Although the first conviction is a class 2 misdemeanor, a second or subsequent conviction of driving without a license in Virginia is a class one misdemeanor.  The message is clear. Drive without a license and you may go to jail regardless of the quality of your driving!  The statute prohibiting driving without a license in Virginia states:

§ 46.2-300. Driving without license prohibited; penalties.

No person, except those expressly exempted in §§ 46.2-303 through 46.2-308, shall drive any motor vehicle on any highway in the Commonwealth until such person has applied for a driver’s license, as provided in this article, satisfactorily passed the examination required by § 46.2-325, and obtained a driver’s license, nor unless the license is valid.

A violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor. A second or subsequent violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

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Many people get pulled over and charged with driving without a license.  However, Virginia law provides protection to people who have a valid foreign diver’s license.  However, asserting the protection provided under the law may be tricky at times.  Our attorneys can assist you in sorting out this mess.  Some of the statutes addressing driving with a foreign driver’s license in Virginia state:

§ 46.2-307. Nonresidents licensed under laws of home state or country; extension of reciprocal privileges.

A. A nonresident over the age of sixteen years and three months who has been duly licensed as a driver under a law requiring the licensing of drivers in his home state or country and who has in his immediate possession a driver’s license issued to him in his home state or country shall be permitted, without a Virginia license, to drive a motor vehicle on the highways of the Commonwealth.

B. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, the Commissioner, with the consent of the Governor, may extend to nonresidents from foreign countries the same driver’s licensing privileges which are granted by the foreign country, or political subdivision wherein such nonresidents are residents, to residents of this Commonwealth residing in such foreign country or political subdivision.

C. Driver’s license privileges may be extended to nonresidents from foreign countries or political subdivisions who are over the age of sixteen years and three months, have been duly licensed as drivers under a law requiring the licensing of drivers in their home country or political subdivision, and have in their immediate possession a driver’s license issued to them in their home country or political subdivision.

§ 46.2-308. Temporary exemption for new resident licensed under laws of another state; privately owned vehicle driver’s licenses.

A resident over the age of sixteen years and three months who has been duly licensed as a driver under a law of another state or country requiring the licensing of drivers shall, for the first sixty days of his residency in the Commonwealth, be permitted, without a Virginia license, to drive a motor vehicle on the highways of the Commonwealth.

Persons to whom military privately-owned vehicle driver’s licenses have been issued by the Department of Defense shall, for the first sixty days of their residency in the Commonwealth, be permitted, without a Virginia license, to drive motor vehicles on the highways of the Commonwealth.

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Our Virginia driving on revoked or suspended license defense lawyers will provide you with a defense if you are accused of driving on a suspended or revoked license in Virginia.

Contact a driving on suspended or revoked license Virginia lawyer.


Virginia (VA) criminal defense, divorce, child custody, reckless driving, dui and federal court attorneyrepresenting clients throughout Virginia. Some of the jurisdictions served include:Henrico County VA, Richmond City, Chesterfield County VA, Hanover County VA, Petersburg County VA, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Hopewell, Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Quantico, Virginia Beach VA, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania VA, Hampton Roads, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, Amelia, Powhatan, Goochland, Louisa, Manassas VA, Woodbridge, Charles City, James City, Gloucester, Tidewater, Portsmouth, Shenandoah, Prince George, Sussex, New Kent, West End of Richmond, Glen Allen, Federal Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond, Alexandria, Norfolk, and Newport News Divisions).

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