One of the happiest occasions in our lifetime is obtaining a driver's license. Driving is freedom and can be a lot of fun. Prince William County is a large jurisdiction so driving is also a necessity. However, the courts consider driving as a privilege and not a right. There are certain expectations that must be met and having a valid driver's license is arguably the most important. If you are caught driving without a valid driver's license, it is important to enlist the help of a traffic attorney. We have handled thousands of traffic cases and are extremely knowledgeable in driving without a license charges. Give us a call at 703-273-4100 for a free consultation or use the contact form below and we would be happy to speak.
Consequences of Driving Without a Valid Driver's License in Prince William County
For a first offense driving without a license charge, it is a Class 2 Misdemeanor which means there is a possible jail sentence of up to 6 months and $1000 fine under Virginia Code §46.2-300. In addition, there is a possible license suspension of up to 90 days. However, jail time is unlikely for a first offense driving without a license charge in Prince William County. In most cases, the Judge will simply issue a fine on the charge and enter a conviction.
For a second offense driving without a license charge, it is a Class 1 Misdemeanor which means the possibility of a jail sentence of up to 12 months and $2500 fine with a 90 day license suspension. It should be noted that the court rarely imposes such a strict punishment. However, a second offense does bring in the strong possibility of a jail sentence and a lawyer is strongly recommended.
A third offense of driving without a license charge is even more troublesome and a lawyer is strongly encouraged. There are lenient Judges but even they have a limit in these cases and will likely impose jail time. In some cases we have convinced Judges to suspend the jail sentence to keep our clients out of jail which is why preparation is key.
Defending Driving Without a License Charges
In some cases, our clients never had a driver's license and got caught driving because they were stopped for speeding , made a wrong turn, or some other minor offense. In other cases, they were previously licensed but their driver's license had simply expired or perhaps had moved to Virginia but their license remains from another state. We have also had cases where our client got caught driving and their license was suspended but the officer wrote them for the lesser charge. In any of these cases, our first move is for our clients to get a valid driver's license in time for court. Sometimes we will need to continue their court date to give them time to take a driver's test or fulfill other DMV requirements which we are happy to do. When the Prince William County Court sees the person is now properly licensed at the court date the penalties can be substantially reduced.
For the Commonwealth to prove their case, they must show that the person got caught driving on a highway. Not every road is considered a highway which is why many unlicensed young drivers learn to drive (with an adult) in a parking lot. In addition, driving around a shopping center or apartment complex may not be considered a highway depending on how open they are for vehicular travel. It should be noted that, in many cases, driving through a neighborhood road is considered a highway because it is entirely open for vehicular travel without restrictions.
For people that have valid driver's licenses from other states, Virginia law requires that a Virginia license be obtained within 60 days of moving to Virginia. You can be charged with driving without a valid driver's license if it is beyond 60 days from moving to Virginia and you are still operating under the old license. There is an exception for those in the military who are properly licensed in their home state but are stationed in Virginia.
What You Can Expect in Your Driving Without a License Case in Prince William County
When we represent our clients we are seeking the best result possible for their case. Every case is different and will depend on our client's driving record, interaction with the officer, and if they have fixed the issue. There are some additional considerations if our client was driving unlicensed due to an emergency or other urgent circumstances. In Prince William County, we will start our client's court proceedings by speaking first with the prosecutor. We will be seeking to have the charge dismissed or reduced depending on the case. An example of a reduction of the charge would be to driving without a license in possession under Virginia Code §46.2-104. Under this code section, it is a $10 fine and is a no-point traffic infraction.
If we can work out a favorable plea agreement then no trial is needed and we can simply hand up our agreement to the Judge. In those cases in which we cannot reach an agreement, we may have a trial before the Judge or continue the case for our client to pursue additional mitigation and return to court at a later date. All objectives are discussed with our client prior to the court date.
If you wish to speak with us about your case, do not hesitate to reach out for a free consultation. We handle driving without a license charges in all Prince William County Localities, including: City of Manassas, Manassas Park, Town of Haymarket, Town of Dumfries, and Town of Occoquan. We recommend calling us as soon as you get the ticket so we can get to work helping you address this charge and ultimately put it behind you following a favorable outcome.