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Understanding the Implications of Virginia's Restricted Driver's License

Aug. 31, 2019

So, you were pulled over for a DUI in Charlottesville. Maybe you didn't hire an attorney or didn't vet an attorney thoroughly enough, and now you have been convicted of your first, second, or subsequent Virginia DUI.

A conviction means driver's license suspension for at least one year – the length is mostly dependent on how many DUI convictions you already have. That license suspension matters because it directly impacts the quality of your life. The good news: you are granted a restricted license. But is it really good news? It may indeed be, but you need to fully understand the implications of a restricted license in Virginia so you don't mistake it for what it's not.

Here's an overview of what a restricted license means.

The Real Implications of A Restricted Driver's License in Virginia

When convicted of a DUI charge in Virginia, your driver's license will be suspended as part of the sentence. (To note, after an arrest for a DUI, your driver's license is also suspended, but this is only temporary – 7 days for a first-time DUI arrest, 60 days for a second DUI arrest, and until trial for a third or subsequent arrest).

Though your driver's license is suspended, some people will be granted a restricted license, which allows them to drive to:

  • work;

  • school;

  • church, mosque, or another place of worship;

  • doctor's office; and

  • other limited places (to accommodate, for instance, children or elderly parents).

This is good news because the restricted license allows you to function in society. But it doesn't allow you to function as you may imagine it or wish it.

Ignition Interlock Device (IID)

The restricted license will require that you have installed in your vehicle(s) an ignition interlock system. You will have to pay for the rental yourself. The IID will remain on your vehicle for a minimum of six months.

Every Minute Counts

In addition to the IID, every minute in your vehicle will be accounted for. You cannot take the long way to work. You cannot make a quick stop to the grocery store. You cannot swing by a drive-through restaurant or grab a Starbucks coffee. You can probably stop to get gas.

If you for some reason decide to tempt fate and quickly stop at a CVS to purchase cold medicine for a sick child and are pulled over during the process, you can be arrested for it. If you are arrested, you could be charged with Driving on a Suspended License even though you have a restricted license – this offense is a Class One Misdemeanor and is punishable by up to one year in jail. This charge would be in addition to a violation of your probation, which can lead to further penalties.

A restricted license is more restrictive than people think it is. A restricted license can end up being the basis for more penalties.

The Real Impact an Experienced DUI Attorney

To avoid the problems associated with a restricted license, you should hire a DUI attorney committed to your defense. You want an experienced, smart DUI attorney in Charlottesville who will not settle for a plea deal if not in your best interests and who will use all angles to provide an aggressive, comprehensive DUI defense.

The real impact of an experienced DUI attorney is the real potential for dismissal of the charges or an acquittal at trial. Contact an experienced DUI attorney in Virginia today if you have been arrested for a DUI and want to fight the charge.