Penalties for Driving on a Suspended Virginia License  

Driving while suspended means driving on a highway in Virginia while being placed on suspension. This is a Class 1 Misdemeanor which is a criminal charge, As a result, the penalties for driving on a suspended Virginia license can be serious. In the case of a Class 1 Misdemeanor, the punishment is up to $2,500 in fines and up to 12 months in jail. If you face charges for driving on a suspended or revoked license in Virginia, consult an adept driving on a suspended license attorney who can help build a defense for you.

Elements of Driving With a Suspended License

The attorneys who prosecute suspended license driving offenses are the Commonwealth Attorneys in the specific jurisdiction. Each county has a General District Court where those trials are held, and the Commonwealth Attorneys or Assistant Commonwealth Attorneys prosecute these cases. If there is an appeal to be taken, it goes to the Circuit Court.The prosecutor must prove that the driver drove, despite their driver’s license or the privilege to drive having been revoked,  or the prosecutor must prove that the driver has been directed by a court not to drive. Falling into any of those categories and driving before their license has been reinstated will get them a driving while suspended charge. A mitigating circumstance for the punishment would be if a person has to drive because of an emergency. They would get convicted of driving while suspended or revoked, but the penalties for driving on a suspended Virginia license could be mitigated due to the emergency situation.

Expectations of Driving While Suspended Charges

This is a Traffic Misdemeanor; it is a serious traffic offense that hinges upon a criminal charge because it has criminal consequences and there was a possibility of damage or injury to a person or to property. There would be a court date to attend. That is when they need to consult a lawyer. There will be six demerit points from the Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”) that go on their driving record. There is also a possible suspension that would follow, depending on the level of offense. They could also be facing a mandatory 10 days in jail if this is their third or subsequent driving ticket within 10 years. Once a person’s automobile insurance company finds out about a driving without a license ticket, which is considered a serious offense, many insurance companies consider those people to be high-risk drivers and will charge an added premium to their insurance.

The DMV, in certain situations, will require what is called an SR-22 which is a Certificate of Insurance for high-risk drivers. Again, this comes with a higher premium. This is a very narrow sub-class of driving while suspended. There are certain specialized cases where that would apply; it would apply to somebody who was driving while suspended if they fit a certain category that the DMV has outlined. In short, a driver should expect DMV demerit points, insurance consequences, and perhaps an SR-22 that could be required by the DMV.

Mitigating Factors

Mitigating factors could be the emergency which caused the person to drive while suspended in the first place, but with a third or subsequent conviction of driving while suspended, there is a mandatory 10 days in jail if the conviction comes within 10 years of prior driving convictions. The court does not have to impose that penalty if there was an emergency, e.g., someone needs to go to the hospital and he was the only person who could drive. The court is certainly going to take that into account and mitigate the punishment.


Driving with a suspended license is a Class 1 Misdemeanor, a traffic misdemeanor with criminal penalties. Any third or subsequent conviction within 10 years comes with a mandatory 10 days in jail. The court has discretion in assigning penalties for driving on a suspended Virginia license, if there were mitigating circumstances, like an emergency situation, which caused the person to drive while being suspended.

A long-term implication of driving with a suspended license is the possibility for an SR-22 Certificate to be required for high-risk drivers. Driving while suspended is one of those situations where a person can get an SR-22. The SR-22 could be required for up to five years in some situations, which is a financial drain.The six demerit points and the conviction itself will stay on a person’s driving record for up to 11 years for such a charge. There are the court costs and a fine to pay if the person is convicted. If you have been charged with driving with a suspended license, seek the legal services of a traffic lawyer who can help mitigate the penalties that a person faces.