Fairfax DUI Attorney and Criminal Lawyer Explains:
Driving After Forfeiture
In Virginia, one of the many consequences to a DWI conviction is loss of driving privileges. As you can probably imagine, driving while one’s license is revoked as a result of a DWI conviction is a serious offense.i
Trying to Get Your License Back?
Sometimes, it makes sense to provide clients with legal advice by the hour, with a complimentary hard-copy “guide.” We offer this service to those who have a revoked license and who would like a plan for how to get their driving privileges restored. If you have a pending charge and hire our Fairfax criminal defense attorney, there is no extra fee to apply for a restricted license (if it is allowed by the court).
Depending upon the facts and a person’s prior record, a conviction (always a criminal offense), may be a Class 1 misdemeanor or a Class 6 felony. A conviction could also include mandatory jail time in the case of a habitual offender. On this page, our Fairfax DUI attorney covers this offense in some detail, though not in-full. This is due to the complex nature of this offense. We encourage you to speak with a local Fairfax DUI lawyer.
As a preliminary matter, one should not confuse the offense, “Driving without a license,” ii with “Driving after forfeiture” under § 18.2-272. While both are criminal offenses, driving after forfeiture is more serious, but less common. Our Fairfax DUI attorney revealed 12% of all publicly reported Fairfax County arrests during a given period were for driving without a license, compared to less than 1% of total arrests during the same time period for driving after forfeiture. iii
Similarly, do not confuse this offense with “Driving with a suspended or revoked license,” (46.2-301).
In Virginia, there are numerous ways by which a person’s license may be suspended or revoked. iv One of the most common ways follows a DWI conviction or conviction of a violation related to DWI.
Fairfax DUI Attorney:
Penalties & Offense Number
The seriousness of the charge or conviction depends upon the nature of the offense:
- a first or second offense is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor;
- a third violation within a 10 year period is punishable as a Class 6 felony; and,
- a habitual offender may be punished by a felony carrying an enhanced mandatory minimum jail term.
An additional penalty is vehicle impoundment.vi
First or Second Offense:
Non Habitual Offender Status
A first or second conviction for violation of this law ii is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor. The penalties authorized by statute are as follows:
- Up to 12 months in jail; and/or
- A fine up to $2,500.
Additionally, the law ii punishes persons convicted of this violation by administrative revocation (the individual’s license will be revoked upon arrest, even before trial, in the event of administrative revocation).
Third or Subsequent Offense within 10 years
If a person is convicted of a third violation of this offense ii within the same 10 year period, he or she faces a Class 6 felony, which could lead to:
- 5 years in jail; and/or
- a $2,500 fine.
This law also states,
[I]t shall be a violation . . . for any person whose privilege to drive or operate a motor vehicle has been restricted, suspended or revoked because of a violation of [5 Code sections listed], or a similar ordinance or law of another state or the United States to drive or operate a motor vehicle while he has a blood alcohol content of 0.02 percent or more.
For your convenience, the above referenced 5 Code sections are listed below:
- § 18.2-36.1. Certain conduct punishable as involuntary manslaughter.
- § 18.2-51.4. Maiming, etc., of another resulting from driving while intoxicated.
- § 18.2-266. Driving motor vehicle, engine, etc., while intoxicated, etc.
- § 18.2-268.3. Refusal of tests; penalties; procedures.
- § 46.2-341.24. Driving a commercial motor vehicle while intoxicated, etc.
Fairfax DUI Attorney Explains
Possible Mandatory Jail Time
The punishment provisions contained in this law ii are enhanced (amplified) for a convicted habitual offender. v If deemed a habitual offender, there could be mandatory jail time. Mandatory time is jail time to be actively served.
If alleged to be a habitual offender, and the driving is not alleged to have been reckless (or, so dangerous so as to endanger life, limb, or property), then the offense includes a mandatory 10 day jail sentence.
The habitual offender may be punished by a felony carrying a mandatory one year minimum sentence if the driving did endanger life, limb, or property, or if it was a subsequent violation of one of the following offenses:
- Involuntary manslaughter
- Injuring another as a result of driving while intoxicated
An exception may apply allowing for the mandatory minimum sentence to be possibly suspended, but only if the accused is found to have been driving in an emergency situation, “to save life or limb.”
Penalty for Driving without an Ignition Interlock System
If a person has been convicted of a violation requiring an ignition interlock device, it is itself a Class 1 misdemeanor. Additionally, he or she faces administrative license revocation.
As you can probably tell, the laws in Virginia which specify the punishments for drivers convicted of violations of driving while their privileges do not exist or are suspended are very complex and severe. If you are facing a charge in Northern Virginia, speak with our Fairfax criminal lawyer for a case evaluation.
Although the Vincenzes Law Firm is located in Fairfax, Virginia, our criminal defense attorney may be able to help defend your case not just in Fairfax County, but also in other areas, including – but not limited to – Prince William County, Spotsylvania County, Arlington County, Loudoun County, and the Cities and Towns of Manassas, Fredericksburg, Leesburg, Fairfax, Herndon, Vienna, and Alexandria.
Virginia Code References
[i] § 46.2-300. Driving without license prohibited; penalties.
[ii] § 18.2-272. Driving after forfeiture of license.
[iii] To analyze the frequency of specific offenses based on arrest records in Fairfax County, the number of arrests was divided by total arrests during a weekly period in 2013.
[iv] See the offenses listed in § 18.2-272
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