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Driving Without a License in Fairfax County

Driving Without a License

Virginia takes the position that driving is a privilege and not a right.  As a result, everyone must have a valid driver's license to operate a motor vehicle when on a highway unless an exception applies.  Many people end up in Court with this misdemeanor charge because they must get to work or have other obligations where getting a ride from a friend or family member is not realistic.  Accordingly, all it takes is to be driving without a driver's license and get stopped for speeding, going through a red light, be involved in an accident, or any other number of incidents where a police officer will ask to see your driver's license.  This is because when the officer asks for the driver's license and vehicle registration, the person's license status comes up pretty quick.  However, there are things that can be done to avoid a conviction for this misdemeanor offense and contacting a traffic lawyer can really help your case.  We routinely handle driving without a license charges in all of the localities in Fairfax County including the Fairfax County General District Court, Fairfax City General District Court, Town of Vienna Court, and Town of Herndon Court.  Give us a call for a free consultation and would be happy to discuss what we can do for your case.  Give us a call at 703-273-4100 or use the contact form below.


What will happen if you drive without a license will depend on whether you have ever been convicted of the offense before and your license status by the time court arrives.  In many cases the Judge in Fairfax County will have to decide the gravity of the offense as well.  There is a major difference between someone who is driving without a license and is involved in an accident, was reckless driving, or driving under the influence  versus someone who was stopped for a minor traffic violation.  In any case Virginia Code §46.2-300 requires that you have a valid driver's license.

A first offense driving without a license is a Class 2 Misdemeanor which means you face up to six months in jail and a $1000 fine.  In addition, the Judge can suspend your privilege to drive for 90 days.  It should be noted that most Judges do not sentence people to jail for a first offense driving without a license charge.  However, it will still result in a Misdemeanor conviction that should be avoided if possible.

A second offense driving without a license is a Class 1 Misdemeanor which means you can face up to 12 months in jail and a $2500 fine.  The Judge can suspend your privilege to drive for 90 days.  It should be noted that a second offense driving without a license is more likely to result in jail time.  Judges know that the person was already caught driving at least once and, yet, drove again so Judges are more likely to punish more severely in this case.

Allowing Unlicensed Driver to Drive Your Vehicle

It is illegal under Virginia Code §46.2-349 to allow an unlicensed driver to drive your vehicle and it is prosecuted in Fairfax County.  Specifically, a person cannot knowingly allow an unlicensed person to drive their vehicle.  Doing so is a Class 2 Misdemeanor pursuant to Virginia Code §46.2-350.  Most Judges do not put people in jail for this.  But it is a Misdemeanor charge that should be avoided if possible.  We can usually at least get this charge lowered if not dismissed depending on the facts of the case.

Driving Without a License in Possession

Driving without a license in possession is a $10 fine pursuant to Virginia Code §46.2-104.  Driving without a license in possession is a traffic infraction and carries no DMV points.  This statute is for those situations in which the person is validly licensed but did not have their physical driver's license with them when stopped by the police officer.

In Fairfax County we will sometimes negotiate a reduction from the misdemeanor offense of driving without a license down to driving without a license in possession.  We like to use this statute when our client has a bad driving record or has had prior driving without a license convictions and outright dismissal is unlikely.  In this situation a reduction of the original misdemeanor charge to the infraction of driving without a license in possession is a win.



While it is illegal to drive without a license in Virginia, the law requires that the driving occur on a highway of the State.  Not every road is considered a highway.  Virginia Code §46.2-100 defines a highway as a road open to the public for vehicular travel.  This means that a parking lot is not a highway.  In addition, certain throughways in apartment complexes and townhouse communities are not necessarily considered highways under the statute so the "highway" provision may be a real defense in your case.  Of course, if you are stopped while driving on an interstate, this would be considered a highway for purposes of this statute.

Under Virginia Code §46.2-306 you do not need a Virginia driver's license if you are in the military, are the spouse of a person in the military, or are their dependent.  Provided you have a driver's license from your home state you do not need a Virginia driver's license even if the vehicle driven is registered in Virginia.

In addition, under Virginia Code §46.2-307, people licensed in another State or Country can drive in Virginia.  However, once the person becomes a resident of Virginia, they have 60 days in which they can drive in Virginia with their old State or Country license pursuant to Virginia Code §46.2-308.  Before the expiration of 60 days the resident must obtain a Virginia driver's license.


In many cases, if you are able to get a valid driver's license prior to your court date, we can generally get a Judge or Prosecutor in Fairfax to dismiss the charge.  Sometimes this means we will have to request a lengthy continuance at the outset in order to give our client time to apply for and obtain a Virginia driver's license.  This is ultimately what the court wants to see anyway so they're pretty flexible in this regard. 


If you have been charged with driving without a license in Fairfax County feel free to reach out to us.  We offer a free consultation to discuss your case.  In many cases, we will work towards getting you validly licensed prior to court so that the charge can be dismissed.  If you are unable to get licensed, we'll work out an agreement with the Prosecutor or Judge for a simple fine.  If jail time is an issue, we will work closely with you to obtain mitigating evidence for presentation to the Court to minimize your risk of going to jail.  In any case we would be happy to help.

The truth about your case

We will not “sugar coat.” We will tell you exactly what you are facing and will give you the best and worst case scenarios. We are not here to scare you or to pull the wool over your eyes. We find many people calling us for a simple case where they have spoken to other lawyers and are now afraid. However, after speaking with those people and getting the facts, many times there is nothing to fear. We will tell you how things look and we will tell you the truth because we want happy clients. That’s you!

Letnick Law Office
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