Protecting Your Rights
When a driver is charged with driving with a suspended or revoked license, one of the most common questions is “Why was my license suspended?” The easiest way to determine why your license was suspended is to go to the Virginia DMV and get a copy of 1) your Virginia DMV record and 2) your Virginia DMV Compliance Summary. These two records will tell you and your attorney almost everything you need to know about why, when and how your license was suspended or revoked.
While there are many ways to lose your license there are only two organizations that can take away your privilege to drive in Virginia: the courts and the DMV. Here is a list of some of the most common ways that a Virginia court can take away your privilege to drive in Virginia.
Failure to Pay Fines and Court Costs
The Courts in Virginia will suspend your license if you fail to pay fines and court costs in full within 15 days of your trial. If you cannot afford to pay your fines and court costs within 15 days then you may ask the court for a payment plan or an extension. Each jurisdiction has its own rules and procedures for granting extensions and payment plans. Talk to a local traffic attorney or the local court clerk before your court date if you think you may need a payment plan or a fine extension.
Certain Criminal Convictions
Virginia criminal and traffic courts have the authority to suspend or revoke driving privileges for anyone convicted of the offenses listed below. For some of these charges, license suspension is mandatory upon conviction while for others it is up to the judge’s discretion.
- DUI/DWI Va. Code § 18.2-271 (mandatory suspension)
- Refusal To Submit to a Blood/Breath Test Va. Code § 18.2-268.3 (mandatory suspension)
- Reckless Driving Va. Code § 46.2-392
- Driving on a Suspended License Va. Code § 18.2-301
- Driving on a Revoked License Va. Code § 18.2-272 (mandatory suspension)
- Driving Without a Valid License Va. Code § 18.2-300
- Leaving the Scene of an Accident Va. Code § 46.2-
- Failure to Report an Accident Va. Code § 46.2-901
- Eluding Police Va. Code § 46.2-817 (mandatory suspension)
- Underage Possession of Alcohol Va. Code § 4.1-305 (mandatory suspension)
- Possession of any Controlled Substance Va. Code § 18.2-259.1(mandatory suspension)
- Certain traffic infractions (for minors) Va. Code § 46.2-334.01
Arrest for DUI/DWI
If a person is arrested for his first DUI then the magistrate will administratively suspend his license for seven days starting on the day of the arrest. A second DUI results in a 60-day administrative suspension and a third DUI results in an administrative suspension lasting until trial. A Virginia DUI attorney may be able get the court to terminate the administrative suspension early in some cases. Contact a DUI attorney to find out if this is possible in your situation.
Failure to Pay Child Support
If a driver owes child support, the injured party can petition a family court judge to suspend that person’s driver’s license until child support payments have been made.
Failure to Pay Certain Civil Judgments
If the losing party in certain civil suits (usually ones involving car accidents) does not pay a court-ordered judgment, the injured party can petition the court to suspend that person driver’s license until the payments are made.
Unexcused Absences from School (for Minors)
Va. Code 46.2-334.001 gives a judge the authority to suspend a minor’s driver’s license for having 10 or more consecutive unexcused absences from school.
The Virginia DMV also has the authority to revoke a Virginia driver’s right to drive. The following is a list of ways in which the Virginia DMV may revoke or suspend a Virginia driver’s license.
Failure to Pay the License Reinstatement Fee
Any time your driver’s license is suspended or revoked, whether by the court or the DMV, you must pay a $175 reinstatement fee before getting your license back. If you do not pay the reinstatement fee then you are still suspended.
Excessive DMV Demerit Points
If an adult driver gets more than 18 demerit points in 12 months or 24 demerit points in 24 months, then the DMV will automatically suspend the driver’s license and require the driver to attend a driver improvement course.
Drivers under the age of 18 receiving more than two point-violations will lose their license for one year or until they reach the age of 18, whichever is longer.
Violation of DMV Probation
If a driver is on DMV probation and is convicted of a point violation, that driver’s license will be suspended by the DMV for the following amount of time: 45 days for a three-point violation, 60 days for a four-point violation, and 90 days for a six-point violation.
Failure to Take a DMV-Ordered Driver Improvement Course
If the DMV orders a driver to take a DMV driver improvement class and the driver does not take that course within 90 days, the driver’s license will be suspended. The license will remain suspended until the driver takes the course and pays the reinstatement fee.
Mental or Physical Incapacity
If the DMV believes that a driver is not mentally or physically capable of safely operating a motor vehicle, the DMV will send a letter ordering the driver to produce extensive documentation of his mental and physical capabilities within a specific time period. Failure to produce such documentation will result in the revocation of the driver’s license by the DMV.
Typically, this scenario involves elderly drivers who are involved in accidents. If the officer at the scene of the accident suspects that infirmity caused the accident the officer may report his suspicions to the DMV.
Certain Criminal Convictions
If a driver is convicted of certain serious criminal offenses and his license is not suspended by the court, the DMV may unilaterally suspend it. This typically happens when the court fails to order a license suspension upon conviction of a crime that carries a mandatory license suspension, or when an out-of-state court convicts a Virginia driver of a crime that carries a mandatory license suspension (e.g. DUI).