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Challenging a Virginia DUI License Suspension

The most recent changes to DUI laws in Virginia involve restrictions on a person’s ability to drive after a second or subsequent DUI. If a person is charged with a second offense within five years or a second offense within 10 years, then their license is administratively suspended for 60 days or until their court date, whichever is sooner.

If a person is charged with a felony DUI, their driver’s license is administratively suspended until their trial. Challenging a Virginia DUI license suspension is difficult, but attempting to do so with an experienced Virginia DUI attorney can greatly increase your chances of success.

Administrative Suspension

When it comes to an administrative suspension that happens automatically as a result of an arrest, there is a procedure in place that allows an individual to ask the court to reinstate their license. However, in order to challenge a Virginia DUI license suspension, they are going to have to show that there was not probable cause for their arrest.

This is something that typically is not going to happen pretrial as a practical matter and so, in the vast majority of cases, it is going to be difficult, although not impossible to get a restoration of that license prior to trial.

Hearing Process

For a pretrial suspension, because of a second DUI within five or within 10 years or a third DUI offense, the attorney simply notices the court and also gives notice to the Commonwealth that the defendant is going to ask to have their right to drive before trial restored. The challenging of a Virginia DUI license suspension begins here.

The court will then have a hearing to determine whether the officer had probable cause to arrest the defendant. If the court finds that it did not have probable cause, then it will reinstate the license immediately. If the court finds that the officer did have probable cause, then, of course, the person still cannot drive.

Obtaining a Restricted License

When it comes to license suspensions that come after trial or come as a result of a conviction, in most cases, a person will be able to receive a restricted and operating license. In the case of a first DUI offense, they will usually be able to get that restricted license immediately. In the case of a subsequent DUI, there are various waiting periods from four months up to a year before they are going to even be able to ask to get a restricted license.

Asking for a restricted license is something in a DUI first offense that typically happens the same day as the trial, and there is paperwork that the attorney will assist a person in filling out that will be presented to the judge. If the judge signs off on it, then the court will issue the individual a restricted license that day.

If a person is not able to ask for a restricted license on the day of trial either because the law does not allow the person to ask for it yet or there are other things keeping the person from having a valid license at that time, the person can always come back to the court and file a motion asking the court to issue a restricted license.

Obtaining an Official Virginia ID Card

If a person is convicted of a DUI as part of the license suspension process, the court is going to ask the person to turn over their physical ID. The process that happens from there, however, is the court will issue the person a restricted driver’s license, which is essentially a large piece of paper that contains all of the restrictions.

A person is then required no less than 30 days but no later than 60 days to take that restricted license to DMV in order to obtain a hard license. At that point, the person can get an ID back and, in fact, the person is required to do that. Otherwise, the restricted license that the person has will become invalid.