Being without a valid driver’s license in one of the Commonwealth’s busiest areas is a burden no one welcomes. Unfortunately, the Virginia DMV spends copious amounts of time suspending the licenses of drivers believed to be a hazard and of people who fail to pay court fines.
You might not think that driving with a suspended license is serious enough to warrant a criminal record, especially if your license was suspended due to a technicality, but it could be. Talk to a knowledgeable driving while license suspended (DWLS) lawyer in Petersburg, VA, from the Pendleton Law Group if you face a criminal charge.
What Is a Driver’s License Suspension?
A license suspension is a temporary period in which you may not legally operate a motor vehicle
on Virginia’s public roads. Usually, you must first fulfill a requirement by the court for them to reinstate your license.
This might include paying a fine or proving to the DMV that you have the necessary insurance coverage for your vehicle. In any case, if you drive with a suspended license, you could risk losing your license for a longer period, and other consequences.
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What Is a Driver’s License Revocation?
While a suspension is a temporary removal of your driving privileges, a license revocation permanently removes them. This is done for more serious crimes, like multiple DUIs. If you are caught driving on a revoked license, you could face serious criminal penalties that need the help of a DLWS attorney to resolve.
Another difference is that if you get permission to get a license again, it will be like starting fresh. You will have to reapply for a brand new license, and likely provide evidence that your revocation was removed to the DMV.
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Common Reasons for License Suspensions in Petersburg
There may be a dozen reasons why your license was suspended in Petersburg. Regardless, if you drive with a suspended license and get caught, you could face criminal penalties. The sooner a traffic attorney can get involved, the better your chances will be of obtaining a successful result in court.
Often, the Virginia DMV suspends driver’s licenses for a multitude of reasons that don’t relate to operating a vehicle. If you miss a child support payment or forget about a traffic ticket, you could suddenly be in line for a suspension. Other common reasons for a license suspension include:
- Failing to make any necessary payments to the court
- A reckless driving conviction
- Accumulating too many points on your license
- Failing to keep car insurance
- Not paying the state’s uninsured motor vehicle fee
- Having a judgment against you
- Having a health condition that may make it dangerous to operate a motor vehicle
If you’re unsure about whether your license is suspended, check the DMV Online Services Page and click Compliance Summary Request. If your license is suspended and you’ve been charged with driving while it’s suspended, contact a DWLS lawyer in Petersburg, VA, who dedicates a significant portion of his practice to traffic crimes.
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What Are the Penalties for Driving While License Suspended in Virginia?
If it seems like there are plenty of traffic violations more severe than driving with a suspended license, don’t be misled. Driving with a suspended license is in its own right one of the most harmful traffic charges a person can face.
DWLS in Virginia is a class 1 misdemeanor offense, meaning that it’s just one step below a felony. A conviction of a misdemeanor of this intensity could lead to harsh penalties, including:
- A fine of up to $2,500 plus court fees is possible upon a DWLS conviction
- As a class 1 misdemeanor, you might face up to 12 months of jail time
- An additional criminal license suspension that extends your original suspension
- The establishment of a criminal record for a traffic offense
Drivers who have been charged with DWLS more than once may face an even harsher justice system. Judges in Virginia are required to sentence individuals convicted of a third or subsequent DWLS charge to a mandatory 10-day active jail period.
Ten days is the minimum possible jail sentence for a third DWLS conviction. As a class 1 misdemeanor crime, judges may issue up to 12 months. You’re urged to contact a decisive DWLS lawyer to mitigate the charges or potential penalties.
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How a Petersburg DWLS Lawyer Can Defend Against Your DWLS Charge?
Believe it or not, many people with a suspended license in Petersburg don’t even know their licenses are suspended. This alone could be a potentially effective defense to a DWLS charge and may even lead to a dismissal of your case.
A sharp lawyer will look at all the facts of your case to find the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case against you. An attorney will put your interests first and protect your rights through this complex ordeal. Ultimately, working with a DWLS attorney in Petersburg, VA, can work to your benefit.
Getting Your License Reinstated in Virginia
Getting your license reinstated in Virginia is a separate matter from defeating a DWLS charge. The way to get your license back depends on the reason for the suspension. In the course of working on your DWLS charge, we will likely learn the reason.
You may need to pay court fines or wait a certain amount of time before you’re allowed to drive again. You may also be able to apply for a restricted license that allows you to go to work or to a doctor. We may be able to negotiate with the court to help you get one of these.
Let Pendleton Law Help You
At Pendleton Law, our team of criminal traffic lawyers fights driving while license suspended charges throughout the Commonwealth. Our Petersburg DWLS lawyers will gladly review your case and provide sound legal counsel that can help you navigate this difficult time.
We have represented thousands of people in Virginia who have faced charges similar to yours. Our founder, Christina Pendleton, has been designated a Super Lawyers Rising Star and our firm has received Avvo’s Client’s Choice Award. Call our criminal traffic hotline or complete our contact form so that we may schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.
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