Virginia is infamous for being tough on drivers who break the law. There are many violations that can get your driver’s license suspended as a penalty. Some of these are merely civil violations while others are crimes. Many of these violations come with automatic suspensions upon being charged while others can carry suspension upon conviction. Drivers often underestimate the impact of losing their driver’s licenses.
When Can Your Driver’s License Be Suspended?
Virginia is known for being tough on drivers who do not obey the law. There are a number of violations in Virginia that carry an automatic license suspension. There are others for which your license is taken as a punishment after conviction. Violation that can result in a suspended license include:
- Breath or blood test refusal while under suspicion of DUI
- Reckless driving
- Possession of alcohol by a minor
- Accumulation of too many demerit points over a certain period of time
The automatic loss of your license is generally carried out through a process known as an administrative suspension. If you are cited by a police officer for DUI, for example, the police officer will seize your license at the time of your arrest. Your license will automatically be suspended for seven days for your first DUI. For your second DUI arrest, you will lose your license for 60 days or until your trial.
We will use DUI as an example for “suspension as punishment,” as well. If you are convicted of a first DUI offense, you stand to lose your license for a much longer time. In Virginia, a first DUI conviction will usually cause a driver to lose his or her license for a year. A second DUI conviction will result in a three-year license suspension.
Repercussions of License Suspension
Obviously, if you lose your license for an extended period of time, life becomes complicated. Take getting to work as an example. While Northern Virginia has ample public transportation options, you will be operating on someone else’s schedule. Your commute to and from work can be extended by hours everyday. If, for example, you have to be at work at 5 AM, public transportation doesn’t offer a lot of options.
Furthermore, you may be forced to give up your vehicle. If you have no license, your insurance can be canceled if your insurer finds out about it. If your insurance is canceled, your Virginia tags are basically forfeit. If you have a car without tags in Virginia and it is parked in a public area, it will be ticketed and towed. Therefore, you will have to find a private place to store your vehicle if you lose your license. This can get expensive very quickly. Daunting as this may be, it does not even include the eventuality of your insurance rates going through the roof, court costs, and other expenses.
If you find yourself in a situation where license suspension is a possibility, you need to seriously consider being represented by a good defense attorney. The impacts to your life can be huge and a skilled attorney can help. There are situations where you can get a restricted license or you may even be able to get a suspension overturned. Moreover, in situations where suspension is a punishment as a result of a conviction, a good defense attorney may be able to defeat the charges. If you are looking at a potential suspension in Northern Virginia, give Jad Sarsour a call at (571) 261-7314 to set up your initial consultation. He has over a decade of experience helping clients retain their privilege to drive in Virginia and he may be able to help you.