In VA a person can have their driver’s license suspended for many reasons, but the Court may, in its discretion, grant a provisional license. Provisional licenses are controlled in part by the VA DMV, and in part by the court suspending the license. Generally a court may grant a provisional or restricted license to allow the person to drive to and from work only, with exceptions for emergency situations on a case-by-case basis.

As a defense attorney I often see people have their license suspended for failure or inability to pay insurance. This is reasonable, but unfortunate, because that means they are getting a criminal charge for failure to carry proper insurance. But I recently saw a case that illustrated a flaw in the system: there is no provision for a person driving to the DMV on a restricted license. This means a person driving to the DMV to pay the fines that suspended their license in the first place is violating the law, or to put it another way: to pay the fines for violating the law, they must further violate the law; the remedy incurs another potential penalty.

This is especially concerning because a third Driving under suspension (DUS) carries a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 10 days.

My political fix-it would be to mandate that restricted licenses include an exception for driving to or from the DMV, in addition to driving to and from work.



Political Fixit: VA

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