How Long Does it Take to Get a Restricted License?

One of the most common issues after being convicted of a DWI in Virginia is getting a restricted license so you can drive to work, to school, to a doctor’s appointment, etc. The problem is, it can take a little while to get the restricted license in order, so one common question clients have is: how long will it take?

In most courts which I practice in, if you get convicted of DWI, to get a restricted license you have to do a couple things. First of all, you have to be sure all your fines and costs are paid. For a DUI conviction, you’re probably going to owe anywhere from $500 or more to the court, so you need that money available as soon as possible to pay your fines and costs. The next thing is, you have to surrender your current license to the court. And finally, you have to get the proper documents filed with the court to get them to issue a restricted license, assuming the judge has marked you as eligible for one.

With most of the courts I practice in, if you’re prepared to pay your fines and costs on the day of court and turn in your Virginia license, we can apply for a restricted license immediately (assuming your case is one where you’re eligible).

The courts differ about how long it takes to get that license issued, and it typically takes anywhere from one to three business days to get the license prepared. That’s the time for the clerks to review your paperwork, prepare the form, and have you come in to sign it, since you have to pick it up in person.

The one difference in this procedure is the Fredericksburg court where they only accept restricted license applications on Mondays and Wednesdays. However, they normally prepare them while you wait. But the problem can be that if you have court on Thursday, and you’re convicted of DWI, you will not get a restricted license in Fredericksburg until the following Monday. It can be a several-day wait if your case is on a Thursday.

As you can see, it can take, as little as a few hours in some cases when the clerks are not as busy. But I’d say on average it takes a couple business days to get your restricted license. However, be sure to note that this is assuming that you have your paperwork in order along with your fines and costs payment on the day of court. A delay in payment or a delay to gather the appropriate paperwork would delay getting your license. You don’t have to apply for it immediately, so if money is a problem, you can wait. However, you can’t drive until you get the restricted license in order.

Photo by: *Kicki*

Andrew Flusche

My name is Andrew Flusche. I am a traffic and misdemeanor defense lawyer in Virginia. I limit my practice to traffic tickets and misdemeanor defense, so I know the ins and outs of these offenses. I literally wrote the book on reckless driving in Virginia which you can get on Amazon here or download for free here. I opened my practice in 2008 after earning my Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Since then, I have earned over 600 5-star reviews from happy clients on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Virginia, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your initial consultation is always free, and you'll talk directly with me about the details of your case.

What's Next?

Get Free Answers

Andrew wrote the book on DWI. It’s jam-packed full of answers for your case.

Get Your Free Copy

Andrew wrote the book on reckless driving. It’s the most-reviewed Virginia reckless driving resource on

Get Your Free Copy

Our special report about driving on suspended explains six critical issues to possibly fight in your case.

Get Your Free Copy


We provide free consultations for cases in our area. If we can't help, we'll do our best to connect you with someone who can.


Contact Andrew & Fitz