Driving while your driving privileges are suspended or revoked is a serious offense in Virginia that can have far reaching consquences. If you have received a summons for driving with no license, a revoked license, or a suspended license, you have options to minimize the potentially serious consequences—which include a misdemeanor conviction, further suspension of your driving privileges, and jail time—if you fight the charges. An experienced traffic law attorney can help you reach the best possible outcome.
Virginia Offenses Related to Driving Without a Valid License
Driving without a valid license is a misdemeanor offense, which means that you may end up with a permanent criminal record. You may be convicted of these offenses:
- Driving without a license. Virginia Code §46.2-300 makes it illegal to drive without a valid license. Although the law makes it illegal to drive on a highway, this has been interpreted to apply to all roads in Virginia. A first conviction is a Class 2 misdemeanor, and a subsequent one is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
- Driving with a revoked or suspended license. Virginia Code §46.2-301 prohibits drivers from driving when their privilege to drive is revoked or suspended. Your driver’s license may be revoked or suspended for many reasons, such as driving while under the influence, a hit and run conviction, reckless driving, failure to pay fines, or delinquent child support payments. Driving on a revoked or suspended license is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
- Driving when restoration requires proof of insurance. Virginia Code §46.2-302 provides that it is against the law to drive when a person’s driver’s license is suspended or revoked for lack of proof of insurance. A first offense is a Class 2 misdemeanor, and a second or subsequent offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
- Impoundment of vehicle. Virginia Code §46.2-301.1 allows law enforcement to impound or immobilize a person's vehicle for up to 30 days if a person is charged with certain offenses, such as driving on a suspended or revoked license, or driving while intoxicated or for unreasonable refusal of a breath or blood test after being arrested for driving while intoxicated.
What Are the Penalties for Driving Without a Valid License?
Besides the harsh criminal consequences you face for driving with no license or a suspended or revoked one, you may also have the time that your license is suspended or revoked increased—sometimes as much as the original suspension or revocation time period. If you are convicted of a Class 2 misdemeanor for driving while your license is suspended or revoked due to lack of proof of insurance as a first offense, or for driving without a valid license as a first offense, you may face these penalties:
- Up to six months in jail; and/or
- Up to a $1,000 fine.
If you are charged with driving on a suspended or revoked license, or dirving without a valid license or without proof of insurance as a second or subsequent offense, you may be convicted of a Class 1 misdemeanor. The sentence may include:
- Up to 12 months in jail; and/or
- A fine of up to $2,500.
In addition, if you have two or more convictions for driving with a suspended or revoked license, you may be sentenced to a mandatory minimum 10-day jail sentence, in addition to any other penalties.
Are Any Drivers Exempt From Having a Valid Driver’s License in Virginia?
In limited circumstances, a driver may not be required to have a valid Virginia driver’s license when driving on Virginia roads. These include the following situations:
- Workers operating a road roller or roach machinery under the supervision and control of the Department of Transportation for construction or maintenance purposes
- Nonresidents who have a valid license in their own state or country
- New residents who have a valid license in another state
- Operators of farm equipment, backhoes, tractors, other agricultural-related vehicles, and vehicles used by commercial fishermen
Have you been charged with driving with no license or one that has been suspended or revoked? Our experienced traffic law attorneys are here to investigate the circumstances surrounding your charges, to build a strong defense, and to fight to get the charges dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense. To learn more about your legal options and how we can assist you, call our office or start an online chat today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.