New Virginia Law on Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License – Effective July 1, 2020
Under existing law, a person can have his driver’s license suspended for many different reasons. A Traffic Lawyer Fairfax Virginia would probably list the most common reasons as failure to pay a fine, excessive moving violation convictions resulting in a DMV suspension for too many points, or a suspension issued by a Judge for a conviction of a serious offense such as Reckless or DUI.
A person who has had their license suspended and ends up driving is usually charged under one of two types to offenses: (1) Driving on Revoked 18.2-272, which is a Class 1 Misdemeanor (up to one year in jail and up to $2500 fine) and results in an automatic one year loss of license where a person cannot drive for any reason, or (2) Driving on Suspended 46.2-301, which is a Class 1 Misdemeanor and will result in the license being suspended for the same period of time that the original suspension was OR if the original suspension was not for a specific period, then for 90 days. A person can petition the Court for a restricted license for this new period of suspension.
If you are charged with a Driving on Suspended, bring your DMV record to a Traffic Lawyer Fairfax Virginia for review. To explain this above, maybe an example will help. If a person’s license was suspended by a Court for 6 months because of a Reckless Driving and he is caught driving again, then a conviction of Driving on Suspended will result in ANOTHER 6 moth loss of license because the original suspension was for 6 months. On the other had, if a person had his license suspended indefinitely because of failure to pay fines (e.g. it is suspended until the driver pays), then that is an “indefinite” suspension. Thus, if convicted of Driving on Suspended, the license is suspended for 90 days and is effective AFTER the original suspension is resolved.
A new law effective July 1, 2020 is banning suspensions for failure to pay a fine. This was deemed by the majority in the General Assembly as not being fair to poor people. (As an aside, we will have to wait and see how long this law stays on the books. Without a license suspension, the driver has little to no incentive to ever pay his fine. Thus, the state will be losing millions and there will be little incentive for drivers to follow the law. If you are reading this many years after July 1, 2020, be sure to consult a Traffic Lawyer Fairfax Virginia to see if the law is still in place. My bet is that it will be repealed.)
Another new law effective July 1, 2020 will eliminate mandatory jail for third offense Driving on Suspended licenses. Here is the new law. Italics is new language in the Code of Virginia and strike throughs take out existing law.
§ 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 90 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, 18.2-272, 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 or by the Commissioner, or (iii) who has been forbidden, as prescribed by operation of any statute of the Commonwealth or a substantially similar ordinance of any county, city or town, 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 or the privilege has been reinstated or a restricted license is issued pursuant to subsection E. 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 violation of subsection B is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
It does not take a Traffic Lawyer Fairfax Virginia to understand this. Prior law gave mandatory jail for anyone convicted of three Driving on Suspended charges. This new law eliminates this 10-day requirement in jail. Can the Judge still give 10 days? Sure, he/she can give up to one year. But the law no longer requires the Judge to do it.
For more information contact the office of Dave Albo – Attorney today.