While some motorists regard driving as a basic right, the fact is that operating a motor vehicle is a privilege that must be earned and maintained by demonstrating safe and lawful driving. Under certain circumstances, an individual's Virginia driver's license may be suspended or revoked for a specific length of time, depending on the person's driving record or history, and the particular violation(s).
REASONS FOR DRIVER'S LICENSE SUSPENSIONS
There are a variety of reasons why your Virginia driver's license might be suspended. Some of these are related to specific driving violations, while others may be due to violation of other State laws. Following are some of the most common reasons for a Virginia driver's license to be suspended or revoked.
- Excessive Moving Violations. The state of Virginia operates on a point system in which drivers accumulate points on their license for every moving violation they commit. If you accumulate 12 or more points on your current driver record in a 12 month period (or 18 points in a 24 month period), you must enroll in, and satisfactorily complete, a driver improvement clinic within 90 days or your license will be suspended. If you accumulate 18 or more points on your current driver record in a 12 month period (or 24 points in a 24 month period) your driving privilege will be suspended for 90 days and you must complete a driver improvement clinic. Once your privilege is restored you will be placed on 6 months probation.
- Driving Under the Influence. Your Virginia driver's license will be revoked if you are found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The length of the suspension depends on the severity of the violation and whether it is a first or repeat offense.
- Driving with a Suspended License or no License. Driving with a suspended license will lead to an increase in the length of the suspension, and you may also be imprisoned.
- Driving without Insurance. All motor vehicles driven in Virginia must be properly insured. Failure to provide proof of valid auto insurance can result in your license being suspended.
- Providing False Information. Providing false information when applying for a Virginia driving license, using someone else's driving license or allowing another person to use your driving license will result in a 90 day license suspension. Taking a driver's license examination for another person or appearing for another person to renew a driver's license will result in your license being revoked for ten years.
- Physical or Psychological Disqualification. The DMV can order a re-examination of any person who may not be fit to drive. An individual's driving privileges may be suspended if the re-examination finds they are physically or psychologically unable to drive safely.
- Other Driving-Related Violations. Your Virginia driver's license may also be suspended if you engage in reckless driving, are found to be at fault in a fatal accident, or if you abandon your vehicle on a public highway.
- Non-Driving Reasons for License Suspension. A variety of non-driving violations or issues can result in your license being suspended. These include committing a drug offense, regardless of whether or not a motor vehicle is involved; failing to pay traffic tickets, fines or surcharges; and not paying child support.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR VIRGINIA DRIVER'S LICENSE IS SUSPENDED
Having your Virginia driver's license suspended is a serious matter and it is essential to adhere to State law in the event that your license is suspended. If you believe your license may be suspended due to one of the reasons listed above it is advisable to speak with a traffic ticket lawyer or a DUI-DWI lawyer.
While your license is suspended, you are not permitted to drive. If you are found driving with a suspended license, the length of your suspension may be increased.
APPEALING A SUSPENSION
If you receive a suspension notice from the DMV, and you wish to challenge the suspension, you may request a hearing in court. Drivers whose license was suspended due to accumulating excessive points may be eligible to enroll in a Driver Improvement Clinic. You may be awarded five safe driving points after completing a Driver Improvement Clinic and in some cases this can enable an individual to avoid having his license suspended.
It is also a good idea to seek the advice of a traffic ticket lawyer or a DUI-DWI lawyer, based on the reason for the suspension.
RESTORING YOUR LICENSE
To reinstate your suspended Virginia driving license, you will need to pay the reinstatement fee, between $145 and $220, depending upon the reason for the suspension.
The fee can be paid online or in person at a DMV office. You can also mail a check or money order payable to:
Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles P.O. Box 27412 Richmond, VA 23269