No Permit/Operating on a Suspended License
It is illegal in Washington, D.C. to operate a motor vehicle after your driver’s license has been suspended or if you do not have a valid driver’s license at all. Whether you are charged with driving without a valid license, or Operating after your license has been suspended or revoked, depends on the facts of your case. If your license is suspended in Virginia or Maryland, you will be charged with No Permit if stopped in Washington, D.C. If you have a D.C. license that is suspended, or has been revoked, you will be charged with Operating after Suspension or Revocation.
There is a significant difference between the penalties of No Permit and Operating after Suspension/Revocation. The charge of No Permit carries a maximum penalty of up to 90 days in jail and/or a $500 fine. If you are charged with Operating after Suspension or Revocation, you face up to one year in jail and/or a $2500 fine. In addition, your license will be suspended for six months.
You may be convicted of Driving after Suspension/Revocation even if you were not aware that your license was suspended. Simply being aware that you failed to pay a traffic ticket which led to your license being suspended is enough to sustain a conviction. Never having received notice of the violation may be a defense in front of some judges, but usually only if you still have the same address that is reflected on your driver’s license, or properly notified the DMV of your new address if you have moved.
Your Washington, D.C. traffic lawyer will advise you of any other possible defenses you may have to either No Permit or Driving after Suspension or Revocation.