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DWI in Virginia: What is an Administrative License Suspension?

As explained by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious criminal offense that carries steep consequences. You will start facing those consequences well before any trial. If you are arrested for drunk driving in Virginia, your license is subject to an automatic administrative suspension. This means that your license can be suspended before you get your day in court. Here, our Hampton Roads DWI defense attorney highlights the most important things you need to know about administrative license suspensions in Virginia.

Virginia Law: Administrative License Suspension

Under Commonwealth law (Virginia Code § 46.2-391.2), an administrative license suspension is an immediate suspension of driving privileges that occurs after an individual has been charged with a DWI or after they refused to take a breath test or blood test. If your license is suspended through this process, you will receive an official Notice of Administrative Suspension of Driver’s License. The length of an administrative suspension will vary based on your previous history of intoxicated driving offenses or lack thereof:

  1. First time DWI Offense: 7-day administrative driver’s license suspension.
  2. Second Time DWI Offense: 60-day administrative driver’s license suspension.
  3. All Subsequent DWI Offenses: Administrative suspension of a driver’s license until the date of trial.

To be clear, an administrative suspension is distinct from suspension or revocation of driving privileges that comes after a conviction or guilty plea. In Virginia, the DWI charge itself is sufficient to initiate the process of administrative suspension.

You Can Take Action to Protect Your Right to Drive

Never operate a motor vehicle on a suspended license. If your license has been administratively suspended after a DWI arrest and you are caught driving, you can face additional criminal charges. It is crucial that all motorists comply with the terms of a license suspension or revocation.

Of course, we also understand that losing your ability to drive can put a tremendous burden on yourself and your family. There are options available to protect your right to drive. To start, you have the right to petition the court to review an administrative suspension—if you are facing a lengthy administrative suspension (60 days or more) this may be appropriate.

Additionally, drivers who have had their license suspended at the administrative level can take action to obtain a limited purpose license. With a restricted license, you may be able to preserve the right to drive to work, drop your kids off at school, and for other necessary functions. An experienced Virginia DWI lawyer will be able to review your case and help you take the proper steps to protect your rights.

Call Our Hampton Roads DWI Defense Lawyer Right Away

Shannon & Associates, P.C. are criminal defense attorneys with more than 26 years of courtroom and trial experience. If you were arrested for a first time DWI offense, Shannon & Associates are prepared to take action to protect your rights and your license. For a strictly private consultation, please do not hesitate to contact or Hampton Roads law office today.

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