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I Did not know drivers license was suspended?
Operating a vehicle after suspension or revocation in the District of Columbia is still a strict liability offense. What does that mean? If you were arrested for driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license in the District of Columbia, there is no knowledge requirement (mens rea) meaning that it does not matter whether you knew that your license was suspended. However, a recent 2017 case has made an exception to the rule. Essentially, if you make an affirmative defense (stating you did not have notice), the prosecutor must show that notice was given to you by Department of Motor Vehicle. If you do not raise this affirmative than you will be guilty of the offense. THE DISTRICT IS REQUIRED TO SEND NOTICE WHEN A DRIVER’S LICENSE IS REVOKED. The Court in Osborne v. District of Columbia, 169 A.3d 876 (D.C. 2017) held that “when a defendant claims that he or she did not receive notice of revocation and the evidence fairly raises the issue, the District bears the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that sufficient notice of revocation was given.”
When the person arrested for driving on suspended or revoked license claims he did not receive notice of revocation, and the evidence at trial “fairly raises the issue,” the prosecutor bears the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that sufficient notice was given
If you have been arrested for driving on a suspended or revoked license in DC please give us a call and we can tell you whether this case law applies to you.