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It’s essential that a person, who has driven with a suspended license, hires a Newport News criminal attorney because driving while suspended is a Class 1 misdemeanor. This is one of the most serious driving violations which is actually the same level as a DUI. There is a strong possibility that someone convicted would see some jail time and this is a criminal violation that will be on their criminal record for the rest of their life. All of these things are very avoidable, or at least the consequences are able to be mitigated if you have a robust defense on your side.
Unlicensed driving in Newport News simply means a person was driving without a valid driver’s license. The reason that a person would be charged with this includes not having a driver’s license because they do not meet the legal residency requirements to obtain a driver’s license. This also can occur when a person has moved from out-of-state and has not gotten a valid Virginia license within sixty days of their move.
There are a variety of reasons that someone could have their driver’s license suspended. Some of these reasons include an accumulation of too many demerit points, a DUI conviction, unpaid fines or costs, not paying child support, conviction of certain drug crimes, driving without insurance, providing false information to the DMV, and driving on a suspended license.
If someone is pulled over and charged with driving with a suspended license in Newport News, they face being charged with a new Class 1 misdemeanor offense. The potential penalties associated with the charge include an imposition of a jail sentence, a fine, and additional suspension of your privilege to drive in Virginia. Many people may think that driving with a suspended license is not a serious charge. However, the potential penalties and consequences associated with a conviction can have a long-term impact on a person’s life.
Driving without a valid license is a Class 2 misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail, a $1,000 fine, and a ninety-day license suspension. A second or subsequent violation is a Class 1 misdemeanor which is punishable by twelve months in jail, up to $2,500 in fine, and a ninety-day license suspension. Driving without a valid license also carries 3 DMV demerit points and stays on the driver’s record for three year, and their criminal record forever.
Long term consequences include a criminal record and demerit points on the driving record. It can also cause an extended period of time that the driver is not allowed to drive. Each conviction adds more time to this, so continuing to violate this law can create a cycle of never ending consequences. An attorney in Newport News can help you break the cycle and help you get your license back quickly with as minimal consequences as possible.
Sometimes people are unaware of that their driver’s license has been suspended because they missed a notice or it was an automatic suspension that they didn’t know about. The court often will take this ignorance into account because someone needs to be aware that their license was suspended in order to be found guilty of driving on a suspended license. This is one of the only circumstances where ignorance will actually work in the defendant’s favor.
A person can expect that judges will be fairly understanding of first offense driving without a license charges. If someone has received a valid license by the time they appear in court, often the judges will be more lenient on the defendant. For a second and subsequent offense, however, judges will be a lot less understanding and there is a decent likelihood that a conviction will result in some jail time. Usually, the jail time imposed is short and nowhere close to the maximum, but it can generally be avoided by preparing and hiring a good attorney.
When facing a misdemeanor charge for driving on a suspended license or driving without a license, it is important to hire an attorney with local Newport News experience because it does make a difference, especially for criminal offenses.
For example, Newport News has different ways of getting evidence than other nearby jurisdictions. A lawyer who is not familiar with the Newport News area may make the mistake of thinking that it has a similar system as neighboring regions, when in fact, it has an open policy that requires a person’s defense attorney to go actively to the Commonwealth Attorney’s office to get any evidence.
Local experience matters, and local attorneys know the ins and outs of the Newport News courthouse; they know the local rules and they know the best thing to do for success in front of particular judges.
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