Can I Drive On A License Suspended For Virginia DUI?
The Virginia Criminal Code imposes severe penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of substances. Within this sphere, DUI offenders are subject to various penalties in Virginia, including: (a) confinement in jail or prison, (b) criminal fines, and (c) driver’s license suspension or revocation.
In most cases, DUI offenders must complete their entire suspension or renovation period before reinstatement of driving privileges. But a DUI offender may be able to obtain a restricted license to drive for specific purposes during the suspension or renovation period. Without such a restricted license, however, it is a criminal offense to operate a vehicle during the suspension or revocation period.
Restricted Licenses for Virginia DUI Offenders
Code of Virginia Section 18.2-271.5 provides the overarching considerations for restricted licenses. This section applies to licenses suspended or revoked for driving while intoxicated or impaired.
In these situations, a DUI offender must typically:
- Enter into and complete a Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP);
- Install an ignition interlock system and only operate vehicles equipped such devices; and
- Sustain a period of at least six months without driving intoxicated or impaired.
It is vital to note that DUI offenders must enter into and complete an approved and certified VASAP. It is not possible to satisfy this requirement using unapproved or uncertified safety courses.
Furthermore, restricted licenses under Section 18.2-271.5 do not apply to commercial drivers. These drivers have separate considerations for driving while intoxicated or impaired.
Driving After License Suspended for Virginia DUI
Code of Virginia Section 18.2-271.5 explains the punishment for unlawfully driving on license suspended for DUI or certain other offenses, such as refusing to submit to a chemical test of intoxication or impairment.
Unless these offenders obtain a restricted license, it is a Class 1 misdemeanor to operate a vehicle during the suspension or revocation period. Upon conviction for a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia, the maximum punishment includes 12 months in county jail and $2,500 in criminal fines.
That being said, there is a different charge and corresponding penalty for certain repeat offenders. If a person operates a vehicle during the suspension or revocation period three or more times in a 10-year period, the charge elevates to a Class 6 felony. Upon conviction for a Class 6 felony in Virginia, the punishment can include one to three years in prison and up to $2,500 in criminal fines.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you have legal questions about license suspension or revocation for DUI in Virginia, it can be highly constructive to reach out to a skilled Leesburg criminal attorney. With more than 140 years of combined legal experience, the attorneys at Simms Showers LLP can help navigate license suspension or revocation for DUI. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.