What Restrictions Come With a Suspended License?
A suspended driver’s license is a punishment the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can impose on a driver who commits a crime or traffic violation. Driver’s license suspension is the temporary removal of the person’s driving privileges. Having a suspended license significantly restricts your rights and abilities as a driver. If caught driving with a suspended license or causing an accident without a valid license, you could face significant penalties.
Suspended vs. Revoked Driver’s License
Two forms of punishment against a driver’s license are to suspend or revoke the driving privilege. A suspended license means the driver temporarily loses driving privileges. License revocation, on the other hand, permanently removes the driving privilege. A revoked license will be invalid until the driver can obtain a new one. A suspended license will only take away the person’s ability to drive temporarily, while that person fulfills the necessary tasks.
- The completion of a suspension period (for a definite license suspension)
- The completion of a required action (for an indefinite license suspension)
- Payment of a traffic ticket
- Payment of unpaid child support and/or taxes, if applicable
- Payment of the suspension termination fee
- Completion of a driver improvement clinic
These are some of the most common tasks a driver must complete to earn back the driving privilege with a suspended license. If you have a revoked license, you may never be able to get a new one. If you do qualify for a new license, you will have to wait a certain period and then reapply. You will have to pass the written, driving and visual tests again as if you were applying for a license for the first time. Whether or not the DMV will allow you to apply for a new license depends on your specific case.
What You Can and Cannot Do With a Suspended License
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles could suspend a driver’s license for several reasons. The most common are broken laws, such as driving while intoxicated, committing a hit-and-run, committing a moving violation, driving without insurance, or receiving multiple traffic tickets. License suspension could also be due to the driver’s court-ordered payments being in arrears. If the DMV suspends your license, you cannot lawfully operate your vehicle until the suspension period ends.
The main restriction that comes with a suspended license is the inability to drive. It is against the law for someone with a suspended or revoked license to operate a motor vehicle in Virginia. If caught driving with a suspended license, you could face even harsher penalties than you did for your original offense, such as driver’s license revocation. You may also have to pay hefty fines for breaking the suspension rules. In some states, driving on a suspended or revoked license is enough to lead to a few months in jail. In general, repeat offenders will face harsher penalties than first-timers in Virginia.
What If a Driver Causes an Accident With a Suspended License?
Driving with a suspended license is already a violation of the law in Virginia. If you negligently or recklessly cause a car accident while driving with a suspended license, the penalties can be severe. For example, what would have been a misdemeanor crime, such as a charge for reckless driving, could escalate to a felony if you had a suspended or revoked license at the time of causing the car accident. A felony traffic violation could lead to consequences such as fines and jail time.
As the driver that caused the accident, you could also face civil liability for the victim’s damages. You may have to pay the victim for his or her medical bills, vehicle damages, lost income and other losses for negligently or recklessly causing the wreck. If you were driving with a suspended license and also without insurance, you could face additional penalties, such as license revocation and having to pay the victim’s damages out of pocket. It is important to work with a criminal traffic attorney in Virginia if you face charges for driving on a suspended license.