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What happens after my driver’s license suspension?
Many people do not realize that driving on a suspended license is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia. It is punishable by up to 1 year in jail, a $2500 fine, and an additional license suspension. Moreover, on the third or subsequent conviction, the judge is required to sentence the defendant to a mandatory minimum of 10 days in jail! If a person is convicted of Driving While Intoxicated (“DWI” or “DUI”), Unreasonable Refusal of a Breath Test, Driving on a Suspended License, or Possession of a Controlled Substance, the judge is very, very likely to suspend the person’s driver’s license. Several other charges also carry the possibility of a suspended driver’s license. This is among the many reasons to make certain that a criminal defense is handled properly from the beginning. Whether a judge issues a temporary suspension of 30 days, or DMV issues an indefinite suspension for unpaid fines and court costs, having your driver’s license suspended or revoked is a huge inconvenience! In Virginia, a driver’s license can be suspended for several different reasons—too numerous to list here. For indefinite suspensions, most people work very hard to “fix” the reason for the suspension (e.g., paying the unpaid fines, submitting their proof of insurance to DMV, etc.). For the temporary suspensions, most people have no choice but to wait on the time to pass. But no matter what the reason for the suspension, most people are completely unaware of how to get their license reinstated. In almost all situations, a reinstatement fee must be paid to Virginia DMV before the suspension will be lifted! Without paying the reinstatement fee, the driver’s license will remain suspended, indefinitely! Example 1: Suppose that an individual’s license is suspended for unpaid fines and court costs. The notice of suspension arrives in the mail, and on the same day the individual pays the fines and costs. The license will remain suspended, indefinitely, until the individual contacts Virginia DMV and pays the reinstatement fee. Example 2: Suppose that a judge convicts someone of Driving While Intoxicated (“DWI” or “DUI”) and suspends their license for 12 months. After the 12 months, they do not contact the DMV to pay the reinstatement fee. This means that after 12 months and 1 day, their license is still suspended. After 10 years, their license will still suspended. Their license will stay suspended until they pay the reinstatement fee to Virginia DMV. Note: This applies equally to out-of-state drivers. Even if you have a driver’s license from another state, your driving privileges can and will be suspended in Virginia. It is not at all uncommon for someone (say, from New York) to have his or her driving privileges temporarily suspended in Virginia. Ten years later, they return to Virginia on vacation and find themselves charged with Driving on a Suspended License. Why? They never paid the reinstatement fee to Virginia DMV. If you are facing a charge which could result in a suspended license, please contact our office for a free consultation. Do not assume that it cannot happen to you. We can evaluate your case and help you understand all of your options. Likewise, if you are currently charged with driving on a suspended license because you never had your license reinstated, do not assume that all hope is lost. Each case is different, and it may be possible to avoid a conviction. Regardless, we can assist you in reaching the best possible outcome. Contact our office for a free consultation. During the consultation, we will evaluate your case and discuss all of your options. To set up a free consultation today, call (757) 301-3636, or call toll free (877) 214-9640. For more information about suspensions and reinstatement, visit: http://www.dmv.virginia.gov/webdoc/citizen/drivers/reinstate.asp