Virginia takes the offense of driving while under the influence very seriously. You may not realize, until you have already been convicted, just how serious the penalties can be for this offense. Fees and potential jail time are not the only consequences you may face, though they are often the most commonly associated; loss of your driver’s license and ability to drive are just some of the multiple consequences you may face if you are found guilty of a DUI in Virginia.
It is important to understand what happens to your driving privileges after a DUI, what to expect during the process and what options you may have, including seeking help from a legal professional with experience in DUI convictions.
Will I Lose My License After a DUI Conviction?
You will temporarily lose your driving privileges after being convicted of driving while under the influence; even a first conviction carries a mandatory license suspension. You may be able to qualify for a restricted license after your standard license is suspended.
This may depend on how many DUIs you have been found guilty of in the past, how recently those convictions have occurred, specifically those within the past 10 years and your ability to meet all of the requirements for a restricted license. Suspension in this instance is not permanent, and provides options to regain some driving privileges, allowing you to maintain important responsibilities including employment, education or childcare.
First Offense DUI Consequences for Driver’s License
Your first offense for a DUI is the most lenient. Upon being charged, your license will be suspended for 7 days after arrest. Following a conviction, your driver’s license is suspended for a period of up to 12 months. You may then begin the process of securing a restricted license. Due to its restricted nature, this type of license can only be used to drive to “mandatory” locations such as work, medical appointments or DUI classes.
You will also be ordered to install an ignition interlock device in your car which will require you to provide your breath sample to initiate the ignition. These readings will be recorded and read by the interlock provider. Any alcohol detected on your breath will prevent your car from being operable and result in a failure to comply with the court.
In order to reinstate a standard driver’s license, you must wait for the duration of the suspension period. During this time, you can complete other requirements, such as successfully completing a driver improvement program or VASAP (Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program), paying any outstanding fines and fees and turning in a certificate of financial responsibility from your insurance company.
Second DUI License Suspension
If you have already been convicted of a DUI in the past and this is your second arrest, your license will be suspended for 60 days, or until your trial occurs, whichever first occurs. If you are found guilty, you will be subject to suspension for a period of up to 3 years. You may still petition for a restricted license, but since this is not your first offense, you will need to wait 4 months if your previous DUI was more than 5 years ago, or 1 year if your last DUI conviction was within the last 5 years.
Driver’s License Suspension After a Third DUI
After you have been arrested for a third DUI charge, which is a felony, your license will be suspended immediately following arrest and until your trial occurs. If you are convicted, your license will be suspended indefinitely; this means that you will be unable to drive again unless you acquire a restricted license or move to have it reinstated.
These processes are separate and must be done independently of one another. The restricted license can be pursued after 3 years, with full reinstatement possible after 5 years. However, full license restoration is significantly more difficult to achieve than acquiring a restricted license.
Trust a Defense Attorney to Improve Your Chances of Success in Your Case
Whether this is your first DUI or your third, it is important to contact a legal professional as soon as possible after your arrest. A skilled attorney will work with you to achieve the best possible outcome, by adequately preparing you for your court date, and helping you to reinstate your license as soon as possible.
The lawyers at The Law Offices of Kermit A. Monge will gladly explain your available options and outline a plan to present your case to achieve the most favorable outcome.