Virginia Ends Driver’s License Suspension for Drug Crimes
Under the terms of a newly signed law, Virginia will no longer suspend the driver’s license of certain people convicted of drug crimes, according to an article by The Washington Post. Before this new law became effective, Virginia featured relatively harsh policies for driver’s license suspension for nonpayment of certain fees.
Officially referred to as Senate Bill 1 (SB1), this new law makes major adjustments to Virginia requirements for driver’s license suspension. Moving forward, Virginia will not suspend the driver’s license of any person who fails or refuses to pay government fines or costs, including those people convicted of drug crimes.
Before SB1 was signed into law, Virginia required suspension of driving privileges for failing or refusing to pay government fines or costs. It did not matter if the fines or costs were related to a traffic violation. Any person convicted of any crime could lose their driver’s license for failing or refusing to pay required fines or costs.
In terms of particular details, SB1 repeals a specific section of state law — Code of Virginia Section 46.2-395. As noted previously, this section required driver’s license suspension for any failure or refusal to satisfy outstanding amounts. Section 46.2-395 required complete satisfaction of outstanding fines or costs before reinstatement of driving privileges. Furthermore, all reinstatement procedures and fees would apply.
Moving forward, SB1 will strike down Section 46.2-395, removing it from Virginia law. Any person who lost their driver’s license solely for violating Section 46.2-395 will have their driving privileges restored, though it is important to note that SB1 does not impact individuals with suspended driver’s licenses for other reasons.
Additionally, SB1 adjusts the penalties for future traffic and moving violations. There will be a new maximum fine of $200 for criminal traffic or moving violations. The new ceiling for such infractions in designated highway safety corridors will be $500.
Before SB1 became Virginia law, a person with a suspended driver’s license for failing or refusing to pay government debts would face a harsh road to reinstatement. In order to regain driving privileges, such a person would need to:
- Settle any outstanding government fines or costs or enter into a payment program;
- Pay a $145 reinstatement fee, of which $100 goes to the Trauma Center Fund and $45 goes to the Department of Motor Vehicles; and
- Complete any reinstatement requirements, such as driver improvement classes, mental health counseling, or substance abuse treatment.
Now that SB1 is part of Virginia law, drivers who lost their license due to Section 46.2-395 will qualify for immediate reinstatement. This will apply retroactively to any such driver with a suspension prior to July 1, 2019. And all reinstatement fees will be waived.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you need legal help with Virginia charges for drug crimes or other offenses, it can be incredibly helpful to contact a trustworthy criminal defense lawyer. The Leesburg drug crimes lawyers at Simms Showers LLP feature demonstrated capabilities in various domains of the law, including criminal defense. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.