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Driver had actual notice of prior license suspensions

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//December 24, 2019

Driver had actual notice of prior license suspensions

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//December 24, 2019

Where appellant was convicted of driving after forfeiture of her license, third offense in 10 years, the Court of Appeals correctly concluded that there was sufficient evidence that she knew her license was revoked on the date of the offense.

Relevant law

“Code § 18.2-272(A) states, in relevant part, that ‘[a]ny person who drives or operates any motor vehicle … during the time for which he was deprived of the right to do so’ for various specified offenses, ‘after his license has been revoked pursuant to’ various specified statutes, or ‘in violation of the terms of a restricted license … is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor,’ while ‘[a]ny person convicted of three violations of this section committed within a 10-year period is guilty of a Class 6 felony.’

“A conviction under this statute requires a showing ‘that the defendant had actual notice that he no longer had the privilege to drive in the Commonwealth when the offense occurred,’ … but the statute does not require any particular form of notice and does not mandate any degree of specificity for such notice.

“The requisite notice can be inferred from the circumstances and need only be enough to show that the driver knew he was driving without any legal ‘right to do so,’ Code § 18.2-272(A).

Actual notice

“The Court of Appeals correctly found the evidence sufficient to conclude that Yoder had had actual notice on the date of the instant offense that she was driving ‘during the time for which [s]he was deprived of the right to do so[.]’ …

“She had been previously convicted twice (in 2010 and in 2014) of driving on a revoked license and had served 10 days in jail on the second conviction. She was present in the courtroom on both occasions and pleaded guilty each time. If Yoder had possessed a driver’s license on either occasion, she would have been required to physically surrender it to the court. …

“When the deputy stopped Yoder in this case, he confirmed that Yoder’s license remained in revoked status.1 The record contains no indication that when the deputy asked for her identification, Yoder looked in her purse for her license or attempted to explain why she did not have it.

“Instead, she merely handed the deputy an ID card, which clearly stated that it did not authorize Yoder to drive – a tacit admission that she knew she did not have a valid driver’s license. In order to have been issued such an ID card, Yoder could not have possessed a valid driver’s license. …

“Based upon this evidence, a rational factfinder could reasonably infer that Yoder knew she had no legal right to drive a vehicle and, thus, the facts amply support her conviction for driving after forfeiture of her license, third offense in ten years.”


Yoder v. Commonwealth. Record No. 190047 (Published Order) Dec. 12, 2019 (COA). Eric McKendrey Anderson for Appellant, Rachel Lynsie Yates, Robert Homer Anderson III for Appellee. VLW 019-6-097, 7 pp.

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