Some people just have bad luck while driving. While others might get breaks and the police officer simply lets them go, others seem to take full punishment when the cop pulls them over. This can be just a slight nuisance if it happens once in a blue moon but if it happens more it can be a real problem. If the state of Virginia has labeled you a habitual offender, you will find that suddenly this slight nuisance can have serious implications. While this law was repealed in 1999, those who were previously adjudicated as “habitual offenders” still have this status.
Under previous laws, if you received three major violations or twelve minor violations within a ten year period, the state would label you a habitual offender. The major offenses can include:
- Driving under the influence
- Refusing a blood/breath test
- Speeding in excess of 80 MPH
Minor offenses would include the rest of things like minor speeding tickets, following too closely, etc. If you have the status of habitual offender, the stakes for driving penalties go up significantly and suddenly you can find your freedom threatened.
First, you will be unable to drive if you have been labeled a habitual offender. If you are caught driving as a habitual offender and this violation did not endanger another person or property, you can be sentenced to up to 90 days in jail and receive a $2,500 fine. If your accident did cause injury or damage to property, it will be treated as a felony. You can then be sentenced to up to five years in prison. Subsequent offenses only carry more serious penalties, so it is wise to contact a an attorney if you have been pulled over for even the most minor of offenses.
Even if you haven’t been convicted of driving while being a habitual offender, it is important to contact a lawyer to help you get your driving privileges back. In order to do this, you must petition the circuit court where you live or the court that declared you a habitual offender. The court will hold the petition for 30 days before hearing your appeal. They will then review your file to ensure you have done all necessary steps in order to receive your driving privileges again. If the court finds that you have, you will be eligible to retake the driving test.
Before you can appeal for your license back, you have to make sure that enough time has passed before the circuit court will hear your appeal. That length of time depends on the specific reason you were declared a habitual offender. For most cases, it generally requires between three to five years, but a lawyer will have to review the specifics of your case before you will know when exactly you will be eligible to appeal.
At the Law Offices of Patrick N. Anderson and Associates, we understand how important driving is to a person’s freedom. We also understand that good people can make mistakes while driving and deserve a second chance to show that they can be a responsible driver. Our defense attorneys will work with you to help you get your license back. Because these hearings can be complicated and require many forms, these attorneys can help you get your information in line to get your license back as soon as you are eligible.
If you are ready to show the state of Virginia that you can be a responsible driver again, our attorneys can help. Our law firm spans across the Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, and Northern Virginia regions.