I got a ticket for driving with a suspended license. I honestly wasn't aware that my license had been suspend. What should I do?

Asked over 2 years ago - Blacksburg, VA

I took an illegal left turn in an area that I wasn't really used to...It was the first time I had ever been pulled over and I ended up getting a ticket. I payed the ticket and months went on before I got a letter from the VA dmv that said I had to take a DIP class. Since I was 18 at the time Virginia state law requires you to take the class. I had until 06/19/11 to take it and if I hadn't by that date they would suspend my license. I took the class on 5/28/11 and was told by the VA dmv approved instructor that the driver improvement school would notify the dmv but it turns out they didn't and I was pulled over last night for a tag light out and ticketed for driving with a suspended license. I wasn't notified by the dmv and they have already lifted the suspension. What do I need for court?

Additional information

*reason why license suspension has already been lifted is because I showed the dmv I had proof of completion of the driving school before the 06/19/11 date.
* I was NEVER notified by the dmv that my license had in fact been suspended.
Thanks for the help everyone.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Luke Joseph Nichols

    Pro

    Contributor Level 12

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . It is required that you be notified of your suspension before you can be convicted. The prosecution will attempt to prove this through admissions of guilt to the police officer, by official notifications sent by mail from the DMV to the address on your license, and by documents signed by the defendant at court.

    In your case, official notifications sound like the most likely possibility. Get a copy of your DMV record and look for the suspension paragraph and look for notification.

    I would also consult a local attorney about your specific jurisdiction because the outcome of your case will be very dependent on the judge you draw. I would also highly recommend hiring an attorney.

    Luke J Nichols
    Spectrum Legal Defense
    (703) 383-9222
    lnichols@spectrum-legal.com

  2. Carly Anne Jehlen

    Pro

    Contributor Level 9

    Answered . Driving on a suspended license is a Class 1 misdemeanor, but failure to have proper notification is a defense to the charge. Bring an updated copy of the DMV record, and anything else from the DMV that notes the issue. The judge will ask both you and the officer about the notification and you can explain to him your issue, specifically pointing out the discrepancy of when you took the class and when it showed up on your record.

  3. Todd Jason Allen

    Contributor Level 10

    Answered . You should hire an attorney and provide copies of all the relevant paperwork that you have (receipt for the fine, taking the class, etc.). Given the circumstances, your lawyer might be able to convince the prosecutor and/or judge to dismiss the case. That is not guaranteed, however, but you at least have a shot.

    If you cannot afford an attorney, and if it is a criminal charge of driving on a suspended license (rather than just a traffic infraction), you are entitled to legal representation and the court will appoint a lawyer to represent you. But unfortunately, you are not entitled to a lawyer for traffic infractions that are not criminal.

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