License Suspension Following a Virginia DUI Arrest 

After a person submits a breath sample that is 0.08 or higher, their license is administratively suspended for seven days, and during that seven days, they are not allowed to drive for any reason. After the DUI arrest, the court will take physical possession of their driver license and they will not be able to get it back until seven days have passed. License suspension following a Virginia DUI arrest can be quite inconvenient for individuals, especially those who live in cities and counties with unreliable public transportation. If you want to know more about license suspension and how to challenge your suspended license, get in touch with a knowledgeable attorney who can guide you through the process.

Laws Concerning Driving After a DUI

There have not been any changes in Virginia law concerning a person’s ability to drive after a DUI in quite some time. It is seven days administrative suspension if a person is charged with a first offense, 60 days administrative suspension if charged with a second offense, and their license is administratively suspended without the ability to drive for any reason until the trial date if they are charged with a third offense.

Challenging a License Suspension

There is a process by which a person can challenge that administrative suspension. They can file a motion with the court and the burden would be on the government to prove that they have probable cause to place a person under arrest.

Many courts find that the burden is really on the defense to prove that they did not have probable cause and therefore it is on the defense to get the police officer to appear in court and have a full hearing on probable cause. If the court is convinced the government did not have probable cause to place a person under arrest, then the administrative license suspension will be rescinded.

Most people do not hire an attorney with enough time to challenge that probable cause issue, so most people just have it suspended for seven days. Now, if a person is facing a 60-day suspension and the lawyer is of the opinion that there might be shot at probable cause, it is worth going through those motions to try to get the officer in court to testify about probable cause.

Hearing Process for Challenging Administrative Suspension

The hearing process concerning license suspension following a Virginia DUI arrest is simple. The attorney would file a motion with the court, subpoena the officer to be there in court and would question the officer as to the elements of probable cause. The Commonwealth attorney would also be able to question the officer and any other witnesses that might be relevant to the issue of probable cause will testify. Then the court will make a ruling as to whether or not the government had probable cause.

Obtaining a Restricted License

There are two different types of suspensions that can occur with a DUI. There is an administrative suspension, which cannot be restricted under any circumstance, but then if a person is convicted of a DUI, they get a restricted license for 12 months. Under this heading, seven days after, they cannot get the restricted license in Virginia.

If a person’s license is administratively suspended by the court for a period of time after an arrest for a DUI, they are not eligible under Virginia law to have that license restricted in any way, shape or form. It is called a hard suspension and a person is simply walking to work with those seven days or calling a car service.

Obtaining an Official Virginia ID Card

If someone has had their license suspended and want to procure a Virginia ID card, they can do so. Most people, if they still have all of their correct identifying information like a birth certificate or passport, should be able to go into the Virginia DMV and get a simple ID card. That can be very important for people who travel for work and require some form of ID to get on an airplane.

Importance of an Attorney

The most important step that a person can take if they are facing a license suspension following a Virginia DUI arrest, is to hire an attorney, especially within the first two days of arrest. Many jurisdictions, not all but many jurisdictions, will have a required court appearance within seven to 10 days of being arrested called an arraignment, where a person is required to show up in the court and be advised of the charges against them, their right to counsel, and what the trial date is.

If a person hires an attorney in advance of that arraignment and gives that attorney enough time to file the appropriate papers with the court, the arraignment can be waived. This would save a person from having to take a day-off from work to simply show up in court to be told things that they already know. Additionally, hiring an attorney as soon as possible after arrest will enable that attorney to have plenty of time to discover all of the evidence the government has against the client and give the attorney plenty of time to prepare the case for trial.  Contact a qualified DUI attorney who can advocate for you.