Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License
Virginia Code 46.2-301
I got a driving on suspended charge. What will happen to me?
That depends on what type of driving suspended you got. Were you charged with:
- 46.2-301, or
There is a lot of overlap between these two criminal offenses so the prosecutor can pretty much charge whichever he wants.
There is one difference though: Did you have a restricted driver’s license when you were charged on driving on a suspended license?
IF no, you did not have a restricted license (the green sheets that only let you drive to work or school), then you may have been charged with a violation of 46.2-301. We’ll deal with that charge on this page.
IF yes, then you should have been charged with a violation of Virginia Code 18.2-272. Law section 46.2-301(F) specifically says that this law does not apply to driving outside the terms of a restricted license, but 18.2-272 does. But again, there is a lot of overlap between the two. Click here for Virginia Code violation 18.2-272.
What type of driving suspension or revocation leads to a 46.2-301 charge?
Any driving suspension or revocation, by a court or the DMV except if you have a restricted license.
What are the penalties?
The penalties can include jail time, fines, further license restriction or revocation, and impoundment of your vehicle.
Subsection (C) declares that a conviction is a Class 1 misdemeanor. That means up to a year in jail and up to a $2,500 fine. If it is a first or second violation within a ten year time period there is no mandatory jail time. However, a third conviction within 10 years carries a mandatory 10 day jail sentence. Of course, judges can and do give more jail time. It’s not uncommon to hear a judge say, “You’ve driven 3 times against a court’s order. What does this court have to do to get you not to drive? OK, I sentence you to ___ days in jail with ___ days suspended.”
At least a third offense stays a misdemeanor unlike a third conviction of 18.2-272 that becomes a FELONY.
How long will my license be suspended for?
Subsection (D) says that the suspension time must be the same amount of time that your license was suspended or revoked for before: 90 days for a 90 day suspension, a year for a year …
If a DUI 1st led to your one year revocation that you drove for, you will not be able to drive for an additional year. A DUI 2nd results in a 3 year suspension.
Can I get a restricted license?
Possibly. Subsection (E) says that you are not blocked from getting a restricted license – you just have to wait until you are eligible. For example, you are eligible for a restricted license after 4 months for a DUI 2nd within 5 to 10 years. A judge can grant you the ability to drive for any purpose authorized under the restricted license law.
Any other penalties?
Subsection (A) allows a judge to impound your vehicle for another 90 days if it was impounded by the officer.
What the law says:
§ 46.2-301. Driving while license, permit, or privilege to drive suspended or revoked
A. In addition to any other penalty provided by this section, any motor vehicle administratively impounded or immobilized under the provisions of § 46.2-301.1 may, in the discretion of the court, be impounded or immobilized for an additional period of up to 90 days upon conviction of an offender for driving while his driver’s license, learner’s permit, or privilege to drive a motor vehicle has been suspended or revoked for (i) a violation of § 18.2-36.1, 18.2-51.4, 18.2-266, 18.2-272, or 46.2-341.24 or a substantially similar ordinance or law in any other jurisdiction or (ii) driving after adjudication as an habitual offender, where such adjudication was based in whole or in part on an alcohol-related offense, or where such person’s license has been administratively suspended under the provisions of § 46.2-391.2. However, if, at the time of the violation, the offender was driving a motor vehicle owned by another person, the court shall have no jurisdiction over such motor vehicle but may order the impoundment or immobilization of a motor vehicle owned solely by the offender at the time of arrest. All costs of impoundment or immobilization, including removal or storage expenses, shall be paid by the offender prior to the release of his motor vehicle.
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.
C. A violation of subsection B is a Class 1 misdemeanor. A third or subsequent offense occurring within a 10-year period shall include a mandatory minimum term of confinement in jail of 10 days. However, the court shall not be required to impose a mandatory minimum term of confinement in any case where a motor vehicle is operated in violation of this section in a situation of apparent extreme emergency which requires such operation to save life or limb.
D. Upon a violation of subsection B, the court shall suspend the person’s license or privilege to drive a motor vehicle for the same period for which it had been previously suspended or revoked. In the event the person violated subsection B by driving during a period of suspension or revocation which was not for a definite period of time, the court shall suspend the person’s license, permit or privilege to drive for an additional period not to exceed 90 days, to commence upon the expiration of the previous suspension or revocation or to commence immediately if the previous suspension or revocation has expired.
E. Any person who is otherwise eligible for a restricted license may petition each court that suspended his license pursuant to subsection D for authorization for a restricted license, provided that the period of time for which the license was suspended by the court pursuant to subsection D, if measured from the date of conviction, has expired, even though the suspension itself has not expired. A court may, for good cause shown, authorize the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue a restricted license for any of the purposes set forth in subsection E of § 18.2-271.1. No restricted license shall be issued unless each court that issued a suspension of the person’s license pursuant to subsection D authorizes the Department to issue a restricted license. Any restricted license issued pursuant to this subsection shall be in effect until the expiration of any and all suspensions issued pursuant to subsection D, except that it shall automatically terminate upon the expiration, cancellation, suspension, or revocation of the person’s license or privilege to drive for any other cause. No restricted license issued pursuant to this subsection shall permit a person to operate a commercial motor vehicle as defined in the Commercial Driver’s License Act (§ 46.2-341.1 et seq.). The court shall forward to the Commissioner a copy of its authorization entered pursuant to this subsection, which shall specifically enumerate the restrictions imposed and contain such information regarding the person to whom such a license is issued as is reasonably necessary to identify the person. The court shall also provide a copy of its authorization to the person, who may not operate a motor vehicle until receipt from the Commissioner of a restricted license. A copy of the restricted license issued by the Commissioner shall be carried at all times while operating a motor vehicle.
F. Any person who operates a motor vehicle or any self-propelled machinery or equipment in violation of the terms of a restricted license issued pursuant to subsection E of § 18.2-271.1 is not guilty of a violation of this section but is guilty of a violation of § 18.2-272.