Driving on a Suspended License
If your license has been suspended, legally, you are required (and expected) not to drive until that suspension has been lifted. Still, as most of us know, just because an individual’s license is suspended, it does not physically prevent him or her from driving if the individual chooses to ignore the suspension period. Keep in mind though -- when you ignore a license suspension, you risk increased penalties that could aggravate existing traffic or criminal charges against you. What Happens When Your License Gets Suspended? Typically, a person’s license is suspended because he or she has been caught engaging in unsafe driving practices or breaking the state’s traffic laws. Common reasons for having your North Carolina driver’s license revoked include: • Unpaid court fees and costs • Failure to show up for a scheduled court date in any county within the state • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol • Accumulating 2 speeding tickets over 55 mph in the same year • Accumulating 12 DMV points in 3 years • Accumulating three DMV points in three years with a license suspension on your record As you can see from the list above, points on your license can be stacked over a lengthy period to create a more severe penalty. You may be thinking that one or two speeding tickets and a minor traffic violation, like running a red light, may be small transgressions, but when the points start adding up, your license could be revoked for up to a year as a result. What Happens When You Get Caught? If your license has been suspended and you are still driving, you are risking heavy fines and penalties, not to mention an even longer suspension period. Pleading guilty to driving on a suspended license will earn you an extra year of suspension. Thanks to changes in North Carolina legislature in December of 2013, driving on a suspended license is now considered a Class 3 misdemeanor and can be penalized with up to 20 days in jail, as per N.C.G.S. 20-28(a). Prior to December 2013, this was considered a Class 1 misdemeanor, so the laws have been bent a little to reduce sentencing. However, this change occurred in conjunction with the introduction of a new offense — driving while your license is revoked or suspended due to a DUI/DWI charge. This is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor and you could be penalized with up to 120 days in jail, extended revocation or suspension periods, and it could be extremely difficult to obtain a valid license once your suspension period has expired. Similar to the complications of a combination DUI/suspended license charge are any situations where you have a pending criminal charge and you have been caught with a suspended license. Depending on the type of charges you are facing, you could be looking at increased penalties, additional suspension timeframes or more. At the North Carolina law firm of Cheshire, Parker, Schneider & Bryan, we represent anyone who has been charged with criminal activity, including driving on a suspended license. If you are facing license suspension, or if you have been caught driving with an invalid license, you may be able to have your charges reduced or dismissed depending on the circumstances of your case. For more information, contact a Raleigh traffic offense lawyer at the firm for a consultation today.