Do the Virginia Penalties for Drug Crimes Include Driver’s License Forfeiture?
Any person who commits a drug crime in the Commonwealth of Virginia can be subject to a variety of criminal penalties. Whether the underlying crime was a misdemeanor or felony, there is a real possibility of jail time and steep fines. Moreover, Virginia law imposes the requirement of driver’s license forfeiture for certain types of drug crimes.
Which Drug Crimes Qualify for License Forfeiture?
Code of Virginia Section 18.2-259.1 outlines the parameters of driver’s license forfeiture for drug crimes. The drug crimes that qualify for license forfeiture include but are not limited to:
- Possession of a controlled substance (Code of Virginia Section 18.2-250);
- Manufacture, sale, gift, or distribution of a controlled substance (Code of Virginia Section 18.2-248);
- Transportation of a controlled substance into the commonwealth (Code of Virginia Section 18.2-248.01);
- Manufacture or attempted manufacture of methamphetamine in the presence of a minor (Code of Virginia Section 18.2-248.02);
- Manufacture, sale, gift, or distribution of methamphetamine (Code of Virginia Section 18.2-248.03);
- Distribution of certain drugs to underage minors (Code of Virginia Section 18.2-255);
- Manufacture or sale of a controlled substance near public property (Code of Virginia Section 18.2-255.2); and
- Operation of a fortified drug house (Code of Virginia Section 18.2-258.02).
Outside of narrow exceptions, any person convicted for a qualifying drug crime — or placed on probation, in certain circumstances — is subject to driver’s license forfeiture under Virginia law.
How Long is License Forfeiture Period for Drug Crimes?
Upon conviction or probation for a qualifying drug crime, Section 18.2-259.1 institutes a six-month period of driver’s license forfeiture. During the forfeiture period, the offender is prohibited from operating motor vehicles, engines, or trains. After the forfeiture period, the offender must reapply for a new driver’s license.
Furthermore, the forfeiture period under Section 18.2-259.1 exists in addition to — and runs consecutively with — any orders for driver’s license suspension, revocation, or forfeiture. In certain cases, this means that an offender must wait much longer than six months to regain their driving privileges.
Is a Restricted License Available During License Forfeiture?
Section 18.2-259.1 does provide a tightly constructed avenue that enables certain offenders to obtain a restricted driver’s license during the forfeiture period. In order to obtain a restricted license, an offender must be able to demonstrate compelling circumstances. Stated otherwise, not every offender can qualify for a restricted license.
Additionally, restricted licenses are only available for personal driving purposes. Any person with commercial driver’s license (CDL) suspension, revocation, or forfeiture is ineligible for a restricted license in Virginia.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If have legal questions about criminal charges for a drug crime in Virginia, it can be extremely constructive to reach out to a skilled criminal defense lawyer. The Leesburg drug crime lawyers at Simms Showers LLP have demonstrated capabilities defending against numerous criminal charges, including a variety of drug crimes. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.