Virginia DUI Without a License
Driving without a license is an independent crime in Virginia and how serious that is will depend on the reason that a person does not have a license. If a person does not have a license because they are unable to get a license, they are simply going to be charged with driving without a valid license, which is a class two misdemeanor.
If, however, the license is suspended because of a previous DUI that is a serious independent crime in Virginia and in most cases is going to result in jail time if the person is convicted of it. If you find yourself facing charges for a Virginia DUI without a license, the most important step you can take is to hire a skilled DUI lawyer.
How the Offense is Charged
A Virginia DUI without a license can be charged as part of the overarching DUI, or as its own individual traffic charge in addition to the impairment offense. In cases where a license is suspended because of a prior DUI, it is actually a separate DUI-related offense, that is driving on suspended after a DUI. If a person is driving on a suspended license of failure to pay costs and fines or because their license was suspended as a result of a drug conviction, then it is a separate offense but it is not a DUI-related offense.
Regardless of the details of how the Virginia DUI without a license is charged, both cases are heard at the same time. Any charges that a person has, which they get during the course of a DUI stops, are going to be heard at the same time that their DUI case is heard.
Driving without a license can pose an aggravating element to the original charge in the sense that it is a separate criminal offense. Certainly, the courts do not want people to be driving under the influence who should not be driving at all.
For the accused, it creates the risk that, in addition to whatever normal penalties a person would get under a DUI as well as the normal penalties that a person would get for driving without a license, they might get something more on those two together. In other words, the court is going to treat the two things more seriously in conjunction than it would treat either of them independently.
Approach to Suspended License vs Unlicensed Drivers
If a person is driving on a suspended license, that is going to be treated more seriously than if a person is simply unlicensed. When someone is suspended, that means that they had a license at some point and, due to reckless behavior, the courts determined that it was appropriate to take that license away.
Usually, that is going to be because they person committed a crime of some kind. Therefore, driving after being told not to by a court as part of a punishment that a person received is going to be much more serious than a person who is driving simply without a license because they never took the steps to acquire one.
Effect of Prior License Suspension Due to DUI
Driving without a license that has been suspended because of a DUI charge is probably the worst combination of facts that a person can have when it comes to having a DUI and driving on a suspended license. If a license has been taken away because of a DUI, that is the court saying that as part of the prescribed punishment the court does not want the defendant driving for the safety of the public.
If the person then goes and does exactly what the court was trying to prevent and commits some DUI in the course of it, it is reasonable to imagine, in most cases, that the penalties are going to be severe and will include jail time.
How an Attorney Can Help Mitigate Damages
Being convicted of a Virginia DUI without a license can have long lasting repercussion on a criminal record. Therefore, it is important to contact a local lawyer with experience in this particular kind of case at the soonest possible time. Such an attorney will be well equipped to guide and advise you throughout the process, as well as work to mitigate the damages.