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Old 10-03-2013, 09:06 AM
 
8 posts, read 12,987 times
Reputation: 10

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Hi Bigfoot,

A couple of days ago I was pulled over just outside of University Mall theaters because I took a right hand turn at a red light (the glare of the red light itself obscured the "No turn on red" sign). I was pulled over and received a ticket for that, and I was caught driving without a valid license. Not only wasn't I carrying my expired license on me, but my license had been expired for 1.5 years. I moved from another state, take public transportation, and used my license as ID. When it expired, I didn't bother to renew it, because the only time I needed ID was when I travel, so I just use my passport. Anyway, wife sick, four months living in VA. No other tickets, clean criminal record and clean driving record (car registered and titled in wife's name only, metro receipts to prove that I'm a commuter, and pulled my clean driving record to show the judge). Ticket was this past Sunday and this past Tuesday I took my written and road test and passed, so I'm now licensed in VA. I plan to take a traffic school course this weekend so I can attempt to have + points on driving record before I show up to court at the end of this month.

Questions:

1. I've spent since Sunday reading threads trying to get an idea of what I'm in for. I understand this is a Misdemeanor 2. I don't understand whether or not I'll have a criminal record from this, as I've read in other post of yours that you have to be *arrested*, not just *ticketed*? I wasn't arrested - the officer and I were cordial to each other, he wrote the tickets and released me. (Bigfoot424: "For the one hundeth time it is punishable as a misdemeanor and does not go on your criminal record if you were released on a ticket.") I've spoken to two lawyers, both who say that if I don't use a lawyer, I have no chance of getting the misdemeanor reduced and I will have a criminal record (the best I can hope for is the judge giving me a lower fine because it's a 1st time offense). Both lawyers said they can possibly cut a deal with the prosecutor to get my ticket reduced to non-misdemeanor - only a lawyer can do that - (but would still end up with the points on my license). There are two tickets in play here and they'd go for guilty on the failure to obey sign and try to get the driving without a valid license dropped or reduced, so that I won't have a criminal record (the criminal record is my primary concern here and insurance is my secondary).

2. First lawyer is $750 and the second lawyer is $900. In this situation, would you hire a lawyer? If I wouldn't have a criminal record as a result of this (because I wasn't arrested?), then I would not consider paying for a lawyer and I'd go to court and take my lumps and learn from it.

3. With 1st offense, I'm reading that the judge does not usually sentence jail time or sentence with the maximum 1K fine. Both lawyers told me that I'm looking at a minor fine in Fairfax county court if I don't use them (about $100 for the fine, then court costs) for the driving without a license.

4. I'm concerned about the points on my driving record because of insurance (my wife is the primary holder of insurance and I'm a secondary person on it, only because insurance requires anyone over driving age to be included on the policy). This is 6 points that I can reduce to 5 with traffic school, but you mentioned in another post somewhere that DMV points are not the same as insurance points -- that insurance is going to find out about both of these tickets. The only way insurance won't find out about the Driving Without A License is if I can get a lawyer to get that charged reduced or dismissed. It comes down to a $900 crapshoot for me, because even if the lawyer can't get the charged dismissed, but can get it reduced, he likely will get it reduced to some other charge that leaves me with the 3 extra points on my license anyway. So I just paid $900 for what? To have the misdemeanor dismissed, which doesn't go on my criminal record anyway because I wasn't arrested? Am I thinking about this correctly?

If you get around to reading this, thank you in advance. I'll keep checking back (frantically checking) to see if you've shared thoughts.
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Old 10-03-2013, 12:06 PM
 
8 posts, read 12,987 times
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Me gain. Digging, digging, digging to find out about Bigfoot424 and MessageBoardName (you can search their threads) claim regarding whether or not driving without a license is a misdemeanor offense that is reported to the CCRE (VA criminal database). Search statutes in Fairfax county for anyone who doubts Bigfoot424 and MessageBoardName's claim (they seem to be the only two posters who're emphatic about this -- and on the opposite spectrum, we all come here scared ****less that we'll have a criminal record b/c our lawyers (and their websites) claim we need them to avoid a permanent criminal record for reckless driving (and driving without a valid license). Anyway, read for yourselves:

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/police/...d/pdf/6011.pdf

And, thank you Bigfoot and MessageBoardName for all of your posts.
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Old 10-03-2013, 03:04 PM
 
1,279 posts, read 2,067,862 times
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Given that you passed your exam and now have a valid license there is a very good chance that the judge will simply drop that offense (even without a lawyer). They do give breaks on fix it type tickets (like expired registration).

You won't be able to beat the right on red so I would simply plead no contest to that offense and present your now valid license to the judge. There's a big difference between no license because it was suspended and simply forgetting to renew.
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Old 10-03-2013, 03:46 PM
 
8 posts, read 12,987 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boyd888 View Post
Given that you passed your exam and now have a valid license there is a very good chance that the judge will simply drop that offense (even without a lawyer). They do give breaks on fix it type tickets (like expired registration).

You won't be able to beat the right on red so I would simply plead no contest to that offense and present your now valid license to the judge. There's a big difference between no license because it was suspended and simply forgetting to renew.
Boyd888, thank you very much for responding. I'm hoping to demonstrate that I'm a good citizen, despite driving without a valid license (which sounds laughable in writing and I expect to be flamed). I hear that judges in Fairfax County are very strict when it comes to class 1 and 2 misdemeanors and are much more lenient on fix-it-tickets. The problem in my case is that it wasn't a matter of forgetting to renew. My New York license had been expired for 1.5 years, meanwhile, I'd moved from VA to MD, then back to VA again (and did attempt to get a VA license two months ago, but the DMV clerk told me I can only switch out a license if it was expired for 12 months or less. Since I don't drive (I commute), I've procrastinated. I think the 1.5 year lapse in a valid driver's license will be a complication with a strict judge, given he/she has to assume I've been driving for 1.5 years illegally (even though, Scouts honor, in reality it was a couple of times).

I know I can't beat the red and would plead no contest to that. I'm weighing out whether or not at this point I should hire a lawyer just to get the driving without a license thrown out. $750 crapshoot - if it gets reduced to something with points, I'm back to the same insurance problem (or, my wife is, rather).

Thanks for responding!
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Old 10-03-2013, 04:40 PM
 
Location: Virginia-Shenandoah Valley
7,275 posts, read 12,053,793 times
Reputation: 6728
The lawyer decision is your call. If you can afford it I would seriously consider it. I don't agree with Boyd that the judge will likely drop the OL charge. It's a serious enough charge and is not something judges typically allow a Complied With Law finding. Very few people have their privilege to drive suspended with this charge but the possibility exists. If you cannot afford an attorney I would go to court and plead No Contest with an explanation. Hopefully the judge will listen and show a little mercy. Tell them you'd like to plead guilty to the red light and you've obtained a new OL after this event and you typically did not need one. Hopefully my advice is in line with what you did/need as I skimmed over this quickly as I don't have but a minute.

LIS > Code of Virginia > 46.2-300

Last edited by Bigfoot424; 10-03-2013 at 04:49 PM..
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Old 10-03-2013, 05:06 PM
 
8 posts, read 12,987 times
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Bigfoot, thanks for your response. I appreciate you squeezing in a thought when you didn't have much time to respond.
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Old 10-03-2013, 07:47 PM
 
2,730 posts, read 7,651,649 times
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buy a scooter
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:28 PM
 
Location: Metro Washington DC
14,083 posts, read 21,792,214 times
Reputation: 8854
When you get your new license, keep it renewed. It's a heckuva a lot cheaper than what you're going to pay now.
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:09 PM
 
8 posts, read 12,987 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkf747 View Post
When you get your new license, keep it renewed. It's a heckuva a lot cheaper than what you're going to pay now.
I did get my VA license, as I'd mentioned in my OP. And yeah.... so I gather.
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:14 PM
 
8 posts, read 12,987 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VRE332 View Post
buy a scooter
You mean a bicycle. Scooter laws require a valid license (which, incidentally, I now have). And as of July 2014, they will be required to be titled and registered. I know this because I have a Vespa ET2 and a Ruckus.
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