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What Constitutes Unlicensed Driving in Loudoun County?

    • The following is taken from an interview with a

Loudoun County traffic lawyer

    as he discusses what is considered unlicensed driving in Virginia. If you have been accused of this crime schedule a free consultation today to discuss your legal options.

In Loudoun County, as with the rest of the Commonwealth of Virginia, there are a few primary code sections that involve unlicensed drivers. Virginia Code Section 46.2-300 makes it a misdemeanor offense to operate a motor vehicle in the Commonwealth of Virginia without being properly licensed, which means the person that is accused of driving an unlicensed vehicle has never had a license that was appropriate or their license has expired and they knew of this expiration and they’re driving in violation of this.

A first violation for driving without a license is a class 2 misdemeanor. The second or subsequent violation of this code section is a class 1 misdemeanor, meaning the penalties get more serious for repeat offenses. Additionally, you may be subject to a court-ordered suspension of your privilege to obtain a license; if you already got your license back, you may be subject to having your license suspended by the court moving forward or up to 90 days. The second most common driving-without-a-license charge in Loudoun County is the violation of Virginia Code Section 46.2-301, which is driving while your license or learning permit is suspended or revoked This is the most serious of these two licensing violations. It’s a class 1 misdemeanor. It often results in jail time and for a third offense there’s a mandatory minimum jail term of ten days. In addition, the court shall suspend the person’s license privileges for the same amount of time that it was previously suspended or revoked for, according to Virginia Code Section 46.2-301(b).

What Should One Expect From Driving While Suspended or Revoked Charges?

If you’re charged with driving with no license, under 46.2-300, you should expect that the court may have sympathy on you if you are not able to be licensed. However, if you’re simply driving without a license and have not made an effort to procure a license or if you have had prior convictions for the same offense, you should expect the court to take this matter very seriously. The reason why this is taken so seriously is that unlicensed drivers do not generally carry auto insurance, meaning that if they’re in an accident there will be less liability coverage for themselves and for injured parties as a result of their unlicensed and uninsured act. In addition, there is another code section for driving without a license in your possession. This code section applies when someone has a license and is otherwise properly licensed but does not have their license with them. Maybe they left it at home, maybe they left it at work, maybe they don’t have it. If you’re driving without a license in your possession, it’s simply a $10 fine under Virginia Code section 46.2-104.

Are There Any Aggravating or Mitigating Factors?

Sure. The most common aggravating factor for driving without a license or driving on a suspended or revoked license is prior similar offenses. This means that the person charged is on notice—they should have gotten their license cleared up and they simply refused to do so. The court and the prosecutors look upon this very severely since they want to make sure that people are abiding by these basic safety rules. The most common aggravating factor is prior offenses. The most common mitigating factor is not knowing of your suspension at the time of your stop and then being eligible to receive your driving papers just prior to your court date and taking the effort to do so. Another mitigating factor is legal status, if someone is not able to obtain a license in Virginia due to their legal status, but they’re otherwise eligible to obtain their license from another state from which they previously resided that also can sometimes mitigate their offense. However, the court will very commonly tell the people in this situation that they need to make every effort to get a driver’s license or they cannot drive in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Why Is It Important to Contact a Loudoun County Traffic Lawyer in These Cases?

It’s important to contact a Loudoun County traffic attorney because each one of these cases is truly unique. The court hears a lot of similar cases pro se (without attorneys) on a daily basis and oftentimes would not be able to give your case the attention it deserves. By having an attorney, you then will be able to have an experienced legal mind look over your driving license, understand the elements of the offense with which you’ve been charged, speak with the officer on your behalf, and then negotiate the best possible outcome with the Commonwealth attorney.

What Are Long Term Implications of a Driving While Suspended Conviction?

Long-term implications of a driving while suspended conviction are, first of all, that it’s a class 1 misdemeanor and it remains on your record forever. Second, it carries six demerit points. Third, it adds a prior conviction for future matters. For subsequent offenses after the third offense, you should expect that the period of incarceration will continue to rise. Oftentimes the court is quite strict with people that have four, six, seven convictions for driving on a suspended or revoked license and significant jail sentences start coming into play.

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