Driving with a Suspended License Is Not Worth the Risk
The State of Nevada requires every driver to have a valid driving license in their possession. Driving after a license suspension, cancellation, or revocation is a misdemeanor criminal charge with severe potential penalties that include an additional consecutive suspension period. A conviction has other significant consequences as well.
Nevada Laws on Driving with a Suspended License
Nevada statutes include numerous reasons for suspension of a driver’s license, including a DUI conviction or failure to submit to testing. Some other offenses with penalties that include license suspension are:
- Too many points on your driving record
- Vehicular homicide
- Collision with a bicyclist or pedestrian
- Certain juvenile offenses
- Defacing property
- Failure to appear in court
- Certain firearm offenses
- Failure to pay child support
- Possession of drugs or alcohol by minors
- Failure to have the required liability insurance
Penalties for driving on a suspended or revoked license are more severe if the original suspension was for a DUI conviction. The violation of driving on a suspended license applies even if the suspension occurred in another state. Additional suspensions are also likely to be honored by your state of residence as well.
In addition to having a misdemeanor on your record, penalties for a conviction of driving on a suspended, canceled, or revoked license include up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and an additional equal, consecutive license suspension. The additional period is as follows:
- For driving with a suspended license, the additional suspension is for the same period as the original suspension.
- For a revoked license, the period is extended for an additional year.
- For a restricted license, the license is revoked and ineligibility is extended by an additional year.
- If a license was suspended or canceled for an indefinite period, the license is suspended for an additional six month on the first violation and an additional year for each subsequent violation.
If the original suspension, revocation, or restriction was due to a DUI violation, the penalties include:
- Mandatory jail sentence of at least 30 days or and up to six months or at least 60 days and up to six months residential confinement
- Fine of at least $500 and up to $1,000
- A one-year additional license revocation
Prosecutors are not permitted to plea bargain a charge of driving with a suspended license if the original suspension was for a DUI violation in Nevada or another state, except when the charge is not supported by probable cause or cannot be proven at trial. In addition, a judge cannot grant probation in those cases.
Defending Against a Suspended License Charge
To prove a charge, the prosecutor must demonstrate that the defendant was driving while their license was suspended, canceled, or revoked, and that the defendant knew of the license status. A criminal defense attorney has strategies that may be effective against a charge of driving with a suspended license. The circumstances of the charge also may provide reasons for a defense.
If the driver was unaware of the license suspension, revocation, or cancellation and the lack of knowledge can be demonstrated, that fact may constitute a defense to the charge. An invalid license suspension also may constitute a defense. In addition, if the suspension period had ended, but the driver mistakenly believed no action was necessary to reinstate it, your lawyer may be able to argue that a different charge (driving without a license) applies.
In cases other than those involving an original suspension due to a DUI violation, the prosecutor may be inclined to negotiate a plea bargain with your lawyer. Pleading guilty to a lesser charge may avoid some of the severe consequences of a conviction on driving on a suspended license.
Why You Need a Lawyer
Navigating a charge of driving on a suspended license without legal representation is never a good idea. In addition to the fact that the penalties can be severe and affect your ability to drive for an extended period, not having a license can have wide-ranging, long-term negative effects on your life. It affects your ability to get to and from a job, as well as what kinds of jobs you can do. Any job that requires driving will be out of the question, which substantially limits your employment opportunities. You will have a misdemeanor conviction on your record, which can affect not only employment, but housing and financial matters as well.
If you’re charged with driving with a suspended license, you should contact an experienced attorney at the earliest opportunity. Doing so will help you minimize the potential consequences of the charge.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney
As a Las Vegas criminal defense attorney, Joseph Gersten has the right combination of experience, knowledge, and skill to aggressively defend against a charge of driving with a suspended license. If you face any state or federal criminal charge in Las Vegas, Henderson, and elsewhere in Clark County, The Gersten Law Firm is here to help.
There is no charge for your initial consultation and case evaluation. Call 702.857.8777 or complete our online form to schedule an appointment.