This depends on a number of factors; most important among them are the reason the license was suspended in the first place, and whether there are any prior offenses of Driving on Suspended/Revoked.
In my 18+ years of practice here in Fairfax County, I have handled many of these cases. I developed the following explanation to help folks understand why many Judges in Virginia take Driving after Suspension or Revocation so very seriously:
- For traffic offenses, there are three basic penalties:
- Suspension of Drivers License; and
- Jail Time.
- Fines are appropriate for most simple, minor traffic offenses.
- For more serious offenses, or for failure to pay fines, the Court will move on to the next level, and Suspend the Driver's License.
- If somebody Drives after Suspension, the Court has limited options:
- The Court can “give another chance” on fines or suspension; or
- The Court may impose Jail Time.
- A Driver who fails to pay fines, and/or continues to drive, after suspension of license, is effectively challenging the Court to “do something about it.” Under those circumstances, it is understandable that a Court would impose Jail Time.
I don't mean to suggest that every conviction of Driving on Suspended License results in jail. In fact, many first offense cases will not result in active jail time. Very often, we will be able to see the charge reduce or dismissed, or a Court might only impose “suspended jail time” and inactive probation, In any event, it is certainly an offense which you would rather not have on your driving record, if it can be avoided.
Attorneys handling a Serious Traffic or Misdemeanor case will utilize a wide variety of strategies to seek a reduction in charges and seek to minimize penalties, depending on circumstances of each case.