Reinstating Your Driver's License in Virginia After a DUI

One of the most difficult penalties to deal with after a Virginia DUI conviction involves the loss of your Virginia driver's license or privilege to drive in Virginia. Even a first-time DUI will result in a mandatory driver's license suspension. Drivers can get restricted driving privileges after a drunk driving arrest. However, a driver generally has to wait out the full suspension period and take care of all the necessary requirements before full driving privileges are restored in Virginia.

License Suspensions After a DUI in Virginia

A DUI arrest in Virginia may involve an administrative license suspension by the DMV, as well as a further suspension after a DUI conviction. The license suspension period for a DUI arrest depends on the number of prior DUIs and when those prior DUIs occurred.

DUI Arrest/Conviction

Administrative License Suspension

Court License Suspension

Restricted License Available

1st DUI

7 days

12 months

After conviction

2nd DUI

60 days (or until trial, whichever is sooner)

3 Years

After 1 year (if prior DUI was within past 5 years, otherwise 4 months).

3rd DUI

License suspended until trial

Indefinite suspension

After 3 years

 

Reinstatement Requirements After a Virginia DUI

The requirements for reinstating your driver's license after a Virginia DUI depend on the specific criminal charges and penalties, including the number of prior DUI convictions. Reinstatement may also depend on whether the DUI involved drugs or alcohol and if the driver has any other outstanding criminal charges.

Reinstatement After a First DUI in Virginia

After a first DUI, a driver can immediately petition the court for a restricted license as soon as they are convicted. However, a restricted license limits the time and place the driver can go. This is generally limited to driving to and from places like work, school, childcare, and DUI classes.

If a restricted driver's license is granted, they will also be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID), which is generally required for all Virginia DUI convictions--including a first offense DUI. The ignition interlock device requires a clean breath sample in order to start the car and continue operating the vehicle. The driver is responsible for the costs of installing and maintaining the IID.

To get full driving privileges reinstated, the driver has to comply with all the terms of the suspension. The Virginia DMV allows drivers to check their compliance summary request online. These requirements may include:

  • Waiting the suspension period (12 months or more),
  • Proof of payment of all court fines and costs,
  • SR22 certificate of financial responsibility from the insurance company,
  • Completing a Driver Improvement (DI) Program,
  • Completing the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program,
  • Installing an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle (minimum 6 months), and
  • Paying all reinstatement fees.

In most cases, the DMV reinstatement fee after a DUI suspension will be approximately $220. The $220 reinstatement fee includes the following: $40 to the Alcohol Safety Action Program, $25 to the Neurotrauma Fund, and $100 to Virginia's Trauma Center Fund. Drivers with multiple suspension orders may be required to pay additional multiple fees.

Reinstatement After a 2nd DUI in Virginia

The requirements for reinstating your driver's license after a second Virginia DUI are similar to the requirements after a first DUI, including the following:

  • Waiting the suspension period (generally 3 years, but can vary),
  • Proof of payment of all court fines and costs,
  • SR22 certificate of financial responsibility from the insurance company,
  • Completing the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program,
  • Installing an IID on your vehicle (from 6 months to 3 years), regardless as to whether a restricted driver's license is granted, and
  • Paying all reinstatement fees.

Reinstatement After a 3rd or Subsequent DUI in Virginia

After a 3rd DUI, a driver's license is suspended indefinitely. However, the driver may be able to petition to have driving privileges reinstated after 5 years. This is called a license restoration and is substantially more involved and difficult to successfully complete than a normal license reinstatement. The court may require the following before the driver can restore their driving privileges:

  • Waiting 5 years to petition for reinstatement,
  • Proof of payment of all court fines and costs,
  • SR22 certificate of financial responsibility from the insurance company,
  • Completing all driver improvement or alcohol education programs,
  • Completing all driving knowledge and road skills tests,
  • Installing an IID on your vehicle (from 6 months to 3 years), regardless as to whether a restricted driver's license is granted, and
  • Paying all reinstatement fees.

Reinstating a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) After a Virginia DUI

A commercial driver who is convicted of a DUI with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.04% or higher while driving a commercial vehicle will be disqualified or suspended from driving commercial vehicles. After a first CDL DUI, the driver's license will be suspended for one year. If a CDL driver has a second violation, they will face a lifetime loss of their CDL driving privileges.

Reinstatement of your CDL after a first-time CDL DUI requires complying with all the suspension and probationary requirements, which may include:

  • Waiting until the end of the suspension period (12 months or more),
  • Proof of payment of all court fines and costs,
  • Completing the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program,
  • Completing CDL driving skills and knowledge tests, and
  • Paying all reinstatement fees.

Can I Reinstate My License in Virginia After an Out-of-State DUI?

Some students may get a DUI while on vacation and return to Virginia with a suspended license. However, if your driving privileges are suspended or revoked in another state, you may have to complete the other states reinstatement requirements before you can get a Virginia driver's license.

Most states, including Virginia, are part of the Driver's License Compact (DLC), which shares information on driver's license suspensions with other member states. In most cases, the Virginia DMV will be aware of your out-of-state license suspension when you apply for a Virginia driver's license.

Virginia DUI Defense Lawyer

Driving may be necessary for some people to get to work or school or take their kids to daycare. After losing your driving privileges for a DUI, it is important for most people to get their license back as soon as possible. Fighting against a DUI conviction in Virginia can help you keep your license and avoid a criminal record. If you or a loved one is facing DUI charges in the Charlottesville, Virginia area, contact attorney Thomas M. Wilson today for a free consultation.

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