Driving on a Suspended License. Va. Code § 46.2-301.
Undoubtedly one of the most common class 1 misdemeanors. If you have made it this far, be assured that you are not the first person to have gotten hit with this charge without knowing that your license was ever suspended.
What does the Code say? In relevant part, Code Section (B) is where you want to focus your attention:
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.
The big question at this point is, “I was driving and it was suspended…so I should take a deal, right?” NO!
Throughout all my time practicing law, I can be sure of one fact, it is extremely difficult for a prosecutor to get a conviction on matters that appear to be simple. The facts surrounding what happened are, by themselves, not enough to get a conviction.
In order for a prosecutor to prevail on a driving on suspended charge, the prosecutor MUST show that you had proper notice. If you did not have proper notice that your license was suspended, you cannot be found guilty of the offense.
Notice can be properly completed several ways: constructive notice, notice via a DC-225, notice via DSA-10, or notice via DC-210.
Constructive notice is simple. Some how, through the grape vine, you found out your license was suspended. How does the officer then learn of this information? Most often through an admission on your part (do not make admissions to law enforcement!)
DC-210 notice is, again, simple. This notice is completed in-person at court. When you go to court for any matter and have your license suspended, you are ordered to complete a DC-210 in court; you are, at that instant, put on notice that your license has been suspended/revoked. This is the toughest notice to work around when it comes to defending against a driving on suspended.
DSA-10 notice is a little more complicated. A DSA-10 notice is one that is provided to you by a police officer often after you have been pulled over. A DSA-10 is identifiable because it is a yellow piece of paper that, in short, says that you are put on notice that your license has been suspended. If you are subsequently caught driving after a DSA-10 notice has been provided and you have not reinstated your license, you have somewhat of an uphill battle to climb. Having said that, in practice, DSA-10 notice is just as easy to defend in court as a DC-225 notice (below).
DC-225 notice is the most common way that you are put on “notice” that your license has been suspended. A DC-225 notice is issued if you have failed to pay court fines and costs. The notice, if sent out properly by the court to the correct address, there is a presumption that you have been put on notice; HOWEVER, notice via DC-225 is often easily defeated in court by establishing that the notification process was flawed under the Virginia Code.
Why Waste a FREE Consult?
Hiring an attorney for a driving in suspended is absolutely critical in defending it. Though the charge may seem simple, the ramifications of the offense are drastic and severe. Our firm provides free consultations with no hidden obligations, be sure to schedule an appointment today!