In Washington, DC, it is a crime to drive with a suspended or revoked license. This is more serious than a standard moving violation, which may result in a citation and points on your license. Operating with a suspended or revoked license in the District of Columbia can result in your being arrested and charged with a misdemeanor in traffic court.
As a Washington, DC traffic violations defense lawyer who handles driving with a suspended license charges, I often speak with prospective clients who did not realize the seriousness of this offense until they were arrested. DC traffic court judges take this offense seriously because the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or the court has already revoked your rights to drive and informed you that it is illegal to drive. Another reason driving with a suspended license is a crime is because it generally means that you are driving without insurance, which can affect others if you are involved in an accident. Under the DC Code, if you have been charged with operating after suspension, the maximum penalty is a fine of up to $1,000 and a maximum of one year in jail.
It should be noted that driving after suspension is often treated more seriously than driving without ever having been issued a driver’s license. If you are otherwise eligible to obtain a DC license, the judge may dismiss the case if you obtain a permit and correct the situation. This is generally not the case with an operation after a suspended or revoked license.