Client avoided 10-days mandatory jail time for 4th offense driving on suspended license

My client came to me after she was convicted in Virginia Beach General District Court of driving on a suspended license (Va. Code 46.2-301). She noted an appeal so her case was pending in Virginia Beach Circuit Court. Unfortunately, this was her 4th offense since 2001 and it was her third offense within the last five years. A third or subsequent offense carries a mandatory minimum jail sentence of ten days. My client had no criminal record, and had only been convicted in the past of minor moving traffic violations, such as speeding. She received notice in June 2010 from the DMV that her license was suspended for lack of insurance verification. At the time of this offense, she was en route to the DMV. After being ticketed on June 14, 2010, she provided proof of insurance and got her license reinstated the following date, June 15th. Prior to my involvement, she went to General District Court and showed the judge her valid license. Still, the General District Court judge found her guilty and imposed a total of 20 days in jail, ten-days more than the mandatory minimum (15-active days to serve). The difficulty with today’s appeal in Circuit Court was that if the judge found her to be guilty of driving while knowing her license was suspended, the judge’s hand’s would be tied insofar as the judge would be required to give her at least 10-days in jail, as required under Va. Code 46.2-301. Fortuntately for my client, there is another statute for driving on a suspended license where license resinstatement is conditioned upon proof of insurance. This code section is Va. Code 46.2-302. The officer probably could have originally written this code section on the summons, but perhaps just didn’t think to do so. Unlike the statute for driving on a suspended license, Va. Code 46.2-301, a conviction under 46.2-302 does not carry any mandatory minimum jail time. The prosecutor was willing to amend my client’s charge to Va. Code 46.2-302 and agreed to recommend a sentence of 1-day of active jail time. The judge approved the agreement.

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2 Responses to “Client avoided 10-days mandatory jail time for 4th offense driving on suspended license”

  1. Kelly says:

    My husband just got his 4th driving.on suspended how much time is he looking at

  2. nate says:

    i find it odd that attorneys have a slight misunderstanding about how the mandatory minimums relate to sentencing probably because they’re a little removed from the incarceration aspect once they’re done trying to service your case. If you’re sentenced to 20 days on a misdemeanor you’ll serve 10 days, not 15. the “active days” are not calculated after the minimum it is a totality. In order to ensure the mandatory minimum of 10 the judge ordered 20 days. If the judge really wanted your client to serve 15 he or rather the DA would have asked for 30 days. Just hand your money over to the best attorney you can get. also the one day in jail is bs i think the fines, legal fees, and hassle were punishment enough.

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