Protecting Your Rights
Consequences and Punishments
To understand any given license offense you have to understand all of its consequences: jail time, fines, license suspensions, DMV demerit points, effects on one’s DMV and criminal records, effects on probation, effects on employment, effects on auto insurance, effects on immigration, etc.
There are two types of probation in Virginia: “active probation” and “inactive probation”. Active probation is when you have a probation officer and are required to do things to stay out of jail (e.g. take drug tests, check in with your probation officer, etc.). Inactive probation has only one requirement: do not break any laws during your probation. Many of the people who are on inactive probation do not realize it. If you were convicted of a minor criminal offense within the last year or two then you could be on inactive probation.
Being convicted of a criminal license offense or even some traffic infractions may violate the terms of your probation. People who violate their probation can receive severe jail sentences. For example: if you are convicted of DUI and receive 60 days of suspended jail time and then are convicted of driving on a suspended license within the next year, a judge may order you to serve all 60 days of your suspended sentence in addition to whatever jail sentence you receive for driving on a suspended license.
If you are charged with any criminal or traffic offense while on active probation, inactive probation, parole, or on bond , contact a criminal defense attorney immediately.
Criminal Records and DMV Records
Each person has a criminal record and DMV record. In Virginia, a criminal conviction remains on your permanent criminal record forever. There is no process for expunging criminal convictions in Virginia. Any traffic crime or infraction will remain on your DMV record for three to eleven years depending on the offense. For more information about expunging an infraction, contact a local criminal defense attorney.
Most traffic offenses in Virginia include DMV demerit points. If you accumulate more than 12 points in 12 months or 18 points in 24 months, the DMV will order you to take a driver improvement course and place you on driving probation for six months with a subsequent 18-month control period. Accruing 18 points in 12 months or 24 points in 24 months will result in an automatic suspension. Receiving any demerit points while on DMV probation will also result in a DMV license suspension. If the DMV suspends a driver’s license while the driver has a court-issued restricted license, the driver will lose all restricted driving privileges.
For minors, a single demerit point violation will result in a driver improvement course and probation. Two demerit-point violations will result in a suspension followed by probation.
If you are charged with any type of traffic infraction, traffic ticket, or traffic crime, contact a local Virginia traffic attorney and get a copy of your DMV record. A traffic attorney may be able to alert and protect you from a possible DMV license suspension.
Deportation may become a legitimate concern for aliens convicted of criminal driving license offenses (particularly driving without a valid license). If you are in the country on Temporary Protective Status (TPS) you may lose your legal status in this country if you are convicted of any two criminal offenses. If you are an undocumented alien then there is a possibility of deportation anytime if you serve even a very minor amount of jail time. If you have been charged with a traffic offense and are an undocumented alien or are here legally under TPS status, contact a local traffic attorney immediately.
If you are charge with a traffic offense, there is a possibility that your insurance company may dramatically increase your insurance premiums. Contact your insurance provider and consult with a local traffic attorney to determine whether the charges you are facing may affect your insurance.
If you drive for a living, need security clearance, or require a background check for your profession then a Virginia license offense may affect your employment.
Additionally, being without a driver’s license and going to jail will cost most professional drivers their jobs. A local traffic attorney can both defend you against a conviction and help you try get a restricted license to drive to and for work. A local traffic attorney may also be able to arrange for you to serve jail time on the weekends or sign you up for diversion programs or jail work release programs. Your attorney can also counsel you on how to arrange payment plans with the court in order to prevent a fine-related suspension. If you are concerned about how a conviction may affect your employment, contact a local traffic attorney immediately.