If you are convicted of DUI in Virginia, one of the likely consequences will be the suspension of your driver’s license and the loss of your driving privileges. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is considered a serious offense in Virginia. In 2019 alone, 18,648 people were convicted of DUI offenses in Virginia.
For that reason, even a first-time conviction will result in some period of driver’s license suspension. Of course, the loss of driving privileges can have a serious negative impact on your ability to work in gainful employment or to care for yourself or your family members. So how do you go about regaining your driving privileges after being convicted for DUI in Virginia?
License Suspensions After a DUI Conviction
A driver’s license and driving privileges may be suspended following a DUI conviction. A person can also have their driving privileges administratively suspended right after their arrest on DUI charges. The length of suspension will depend on how many prior DUI convictions a person has had in the last five or ten years.
For a first-time DUI, a person will receive a seven-day administrative suspension following their arrest. If they are convicted on their charge, the court will impose a suspension of driving privileges for 12 months.
On a second DUI, a person will receive a 60-day administrative suspension after their arrest (or until trial, if sooner). A conviction will result in the imposition of a three-year period of suspension of driving privileges.
For a third and subsequent DUI, a defendant’s license will be suspended until their trial. A conviction will result in the indefinite suspension of driving privileges.
Requirements to Reinstate a License Following a DUI Suspension
Even though a person’s driving privileges may be suspended after a DUI conviction, they may be entitled to petition the court to obtain a restricted license. A restricted license authorizes a person to operate a motor vehicle for limited purposes, such as driving to and from work or school, or driving to the store or healthcare appointments. Driving outside of those restrictions effectively means the driver is operating a vehicle without a license.
To obtain a restricted license, a person will be required to install an ignition interlock device on all their vehicles, which will prevent the vehicle’s engine from starting unless a clean breath sample is provided.
A restricted license may be applied for immediately after a first-time DUI conviction. For a second conviction, a person must wait four months after conviction (or one year if the prior DUI conviction occurred less than five years ago). For a third or subsequent DUI conviction, a person must wait for three years following their conviction to apply for a restricted license.
To reinstate a driver’s license after suspension following a first or second DUI conviction, a person will need to meet the following requirements:
- Comply with all the terms of their suspension
- Pay all fines and court costs
- Obtain a certificate of financial responsibility from the insurance company
- Complete driver improvement and alcohol safety action programs
- Install ignition interlock devices
- Pay the DMV license reinstatement fee
After a third or subsequent conviction, a person must wait at least five years before petitioning for the restoration of their driving privileges. In addition to meeting the requirements applicable to a first or second DUI conviction, an applicant must also retake the written knowledge and driving skills tests imposed by the DMV.
Contact a DUI Defense Attorney from Bain Sheldon
If you have been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Virginia, don’t wait to learn more about your legal options for regaining your driving privileges so that you can continue to get to work or school and care for yourself and your family.