Driver's License Suspension After First DUI in Virginia

DUI charges can be damaging to a person's reputation and have consequences that stay with an individual for months or even years after a conviction. A first-time DUI charge may be an individual's first experience with the criminal justice system and they are often unprepared for the multitude of consequences that accompany drunk driving charges.

If convicted of DUI, a person will receive a mandatory suspension of his or her license. License suspensions can be detrimental to a person's way of life. Things like going to work, going to the store, or just getting around in general, can become costly or next to impossible without one's ability to use their car. Talk to your Charlottesville DUI lawyer about what you can do to keep your Virginia driver's license after a drunk driving arrest.

Driver's License Suspension For First DUI In Virginia

When you are charged with a DUI in Virginia, there are consequences that extend beyond the criminal penalties. DUI charges can result in an administrative suspension and other penalties that exist beyond those that would typically accompany many criminal other convictions. Virginia has harsh consequences for drivers accused of DUI, and it can be difficult for a person who is accused to undo these consequences.

Length of Suspension for First DUI

Persons charged with a DUI for the first time will be subject to a standard administration suspension period of 7 days before the outcome of the case has been decided. Driving on a suspended license for this brief period can result in even further consequences, some of which may constitute other criminal or civil penalties.

If the DUI charges result in a conviction, the driver's license will be suspended for 12 months. To reinstate your license, you will need to go about a process to petition the court for reinstatement. An attorney can help you defend the charges, and if need be, advise you on the process for reinstatement.

Ignition Interlock Devices

Another potential consequence of a DUI charge is the requirement for an ignition interlock device (IID). These are devices that prevent a person from starting their car without providing an alcohol-free breath test. This breath test will measure a person's blood alcohol content (BAC), and if the sample BAC is above .02%, the vehicle will not start. The IID will also require regular samples while the vehicle is driving.

In addition, an electronic log is maintained which must be provided to VASAP quarterly during the court-ordered ignition interlock period. The log will also record any attempts to tamper with the device. Any failed breath tests or tampering may result in additional penalties or an extended license suspension.

Restricted Driving Privileges

Drivers with a suspended license for a first DUI may be able to apply for a restricted license. A restricted license may allow the driver to still move to and from work or school to fulfill the obligations of their day-to-day life. However, as the name implies, a restricted license carries with it certain limitations, including restrictions on where and when a person may drive.

Virginia law also allows, in some cases, for the Court to issue a restricted license where the only restriction is compliance with the ignition interlock requirement, but the interlock must be installed on the vehicle for 12 months, instead of 6 months. This is option is not available in all DUI cases. 

In order to obtain a restricted license, the defendant may petition for restricted driving privileges on or after the date of conviction. For a court-ordered suspension, the driver may need to provide the court with letters from an employer, school, work or other facility, and also provide any other documents the court requests.

Reinstating My Virginia License After A First DUI

In order to reinstate your license after a first DUI conviction, several steps must be taken. These steps include:

  1. Fulfilling any penalties and sentencing associated with the DUI conviction, including court-ordered fees;
  2. Proof of completion of any court-ordered rehabilitation programs (including VASAP);
  3. Proof of a certificate of financial responsibility from your insurance company; and
  4. Payment for any fees assigned by DMV.

Once these steps have been completed, a person should be able to reinstate their driving privileges in full as a licensed Virginia driver.

Charlottesville Virginia DUI Attorney

When you are charged with a DUI, the implications of these criminal charges can be far-reaching and damaging. License suspensions and administrative consequences will often precede any consequences that would stem from a conviction on DUI charges. An attorney will be able to walk you through your charges and examine your case. If you or a loved one has been charged with their first DUI in Virginia, Contact me today for a free consultation.

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Focused on Criminal and Traffic defense in Charlottesville and the surrounding area, including Albemarle, Orange, Greene, Louisa, Madison, Buckingham, Goochland, Nelson, and Augusta Counties.

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