How Do You Get Your License Back After a DUI Suspension?

How Do I Reinstate My Suspended License in Virginia? Getting Help from an Experienced Virginia Traffic Lawyer Is Your First Step!

how do you get license back after dui suspension

When I advise clients about their case, they are primarily worried about jail time.

The next question my new clients always ask is, What is the minimum license suspension if found guilty of a DUI in Virginia? The answer I give them depends on their specific circumstances.

In my experience as a Virginia lawyer representing people who have driving charges, DUI charges, and misdemeanor offenses, I have developed a deep understanding of what a person’s driver’s license means to them.

It’s more than just the prerequisite document you need to operate a motor vehicle; a driver’s license is the embodiment of the freedom we have to move about as we choose.


DUI License Suspensions in Virginia

You may be wondering, how to get license back after DUI? Virginia’s DUI laws are strict. You face two separate suspension periods, potentially, under the Virginia DUI law, even if you have never been in trouble before. The duration of the suspension periods increases if you have prior DUI convictions.

The first suspension period you face is an administrative suspension. The DMV suspends your license administratively if a DWI warrant is issued against you or if you refuse to take a chemical test.

In both circumstances, the arresting officer will advise you of the suspension and confiscate your driver’s license.

In Virginia, a chemical test could be either a blood draw or a breathalyzer test. The arresting officer must honor your rights regarding these tests after your arrest.

The court will order your license to be suspended if you are convicted of your DUI charges. The court does not distinguish between pleading guilty and facing a jury verdict of guilty of DUI.

The length of the court-ordered suspension also depends on whether you were previously convicted of DUI.

You should be aware that your administrative suspension and your court-ordered suspension must run consecutively. You must serve your administrative suspension first, followed by the court-ordered suspension.

License Suspension/Reinstatement Periods for DUI Charges in Virginia

Requirements to Get a Restricted License

There are numerous requirements you must meet before you can have your license reinstated on a restricted basis after your first offense DUI. According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, you must satisfy the following requirements before receiving a restricted license:

  • Pay the reinstatement fee, which is $220 for a DUI charge but could be more depending upon the number of driving violations on your record;
  • Complete the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP) as a condition of your probation;
  • Produce an SR22 certificate of financial responsibility from an auto insurance company; and
  • Install an ignition interlock device on whatever vehicle you plan to drive.

Virginia requires an ignition interlock device for all DUI-restricted licenses.

For a first-time offender, the court will set the minimum amount of time the device must be used at six months. The court could order a longer installation period.

You should be aware that you are responsible for paying for the costs associated with the ignition interlock device.

First Offense DUI

The administrative suspension period for a DUI in Virginia varies depending on whether you fail or refuse the chemical test. For first-time offenders, failing the chemical test—meaning operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08% or greater—results in a seven-day suspension.

However, refusing to take a chemical test results in a one-year suspension of your driver’s license. You are ineligible for reinstatement or a restricted license for the first 30 days of an administrative suspension under Virginia law.

The court will suspend your license for one year after a first-offense DUI conviction. The court may allow you to apply for the immediate reinstatement of your license. You must ask the court for permission to apply for a restricted license.

Second Offense DUI

The administrative suspension period for a second offense DUI in Virginia is 60 days.

A person convicted of a second offense DUI must wait three years before having a license reinstated in full.

However, a person convicted of a second offense DUI can apply for a restricted license in four months if the second DUI was more than five years after the first offense. If the second offense occurred within five years, then the driver must wait one year before applying for a restricted license.

Many of the same conditions that apply to first offenders also apply to second offenders. However, the ignition interlock system must be installed on every vehicle that is owned by or registered to you.

Third Offense DUI

A person with a third-offense DUI in Virginia faces significant penalties, including license suspension. The DMV will order your license to be suspended administratively up to the time of your trial if you have third-offense DUI charges.

Additionally, the court will revoke your driver’s license after a conviction for a third-offense DUI. However, you can apply for a restricted license after serving three years of license suspension. You may have to wait five years before you can apply for license restoration.

All the same requirements that apply to someone convicted of a second DUI apply to someone convicted of a third offense DUI. The DMV will likely test you on driving skills and knowledge before reinstating your license.

What Does Having a Restricted License Mean?

The court can place numerous restrictions on your license. You are driving with a suspended license for DUI if you violate one of those restrictions. Some restrictions in Virginia include:

  • Driving with a curfew;
  • Continued use of an ignition interlock device; and
  • Driving with no passengers except for family members or with no minor children.

The court will also likely restrict the circumstances where you will be allowed to drive, such as:

  • Driving to and from work;
  • Taking yourself or minor dependents to school;
  • Attending driving school classes; and
  • Attending medical appointments.

The restrictions the court places on your license should reflect the circumstances of your case.

Video: Virginia DUI / DWI License Suspension

Out-of-State DUI License Suspension

If you are a resident of Virginia and have a DUI conviction in another state, the courts of Virginia have no jurisdiction to overturn that ruling.

You could apply for reinstatement of your license in Virginia only after the foreign state reinstates your driving privileges. Therefore, you must complete all the requirements specified by the other state before applying for reinstatement in Virginia.

You should be aware that out-of-state DUI convictions count toward enhanced penalties for DUI. So if you have a DUI conviction in Maryland and have DUI charges in Virginia that came after the Maryland conviction, you could face a second DUI offense.

Contact Our Attorneys Today To Help You Get Your License Back

Experience counts. If you have DUI charges in Virginia, then you need an experienced advocate—someone who puts your needs before anything else.

Getting the best outcome possible for you is our priority. I understand how important it is to get your life back on track as soon as possible after a DUI charge.

We will work with you to reduce the stress you experience from facing a DUI charge. Our approach allows you to focus on your daily activities even while your case is pending. We will use all resources to put you in the best position possible.

Call me today at 540-318-5824 for an appointment, and let’s start working together to put this episode behind you.


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.

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