Drivers Risk a Suspended License for DWI or Reckless Driving in VA
Virginia judges are authorized to suspend a person’s driving privileges within the state for convictions of reckless driving by speed, reckless driving resulting from an accident, and driving under the influence. Any license suspension imposed for reckless driving is left to the discretion of the court and may be as long as six months. Out-of-state drivers convicted of DUI in Virginia face a mandatory one year suspension of license. Such suspensions only affect a person’s ability to drive in Virginia. A Virginia judge cannot suspend an out-of-state driver’s license to drive in any other state. As a result, a driver with a Pennsylvania license convicted of a DUI in Virginia can operate a car in any state, except Virginia. However, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles may communicate the suspension to Pennsylvania, at which point the appropriate government entity in Pennsylvania can choose to suspend that person’s driver’s license.
Virginia judges are barred by law from seizing an out-of-state driver’s license after suspending that person’s privilege to drive in Virginia. The applicable part of Virginia Code §46.2-398 states:
For any revocation or suspension of a privilege to drive in Virginia of a person who does not have a Virginia driver’s license but who does have a valid driver’s license from another jurisdiction, the court shall not order the physical surrender of such license.
This prevents Virginia courts from physically taking a person’s out-of-state driver’s license once the court suspends or revokes that person’s driving privileges in Virginia. So, the court cannot take a driver’s North Carolina license after convicting that person of reckless driving by speed. The court may only suspend that person’s ability to drive in Virginia. The person can drive in North Carolina or any other state up until their North Carolina driver’s license is suspended by the appropriate government entity in North Carolina.
Courts may issue out-of-state motorists restricted driving privileges in Virginia. This typically happens when a person possesses a driver’s license from a bordering state—Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, or West Virginia—and works in Virginia. For instance, a Virginia judge is able to grant restricted driving privileges to a person convicted of DUI in Virginia who is licensed in Maryland and commutes to Caroline County, VA. Under this scenario, the person would be permitted to drive from Maryland to their place of employment in Caroline County. They may also be allowed to drive to and from school or be granted a variety of other restricted driving privileges as deemed worthy by the court.
A reckless driving or DUI conviction in Virginia can change your entire livelihood, especially your ability to travel freely to work, school, or to the doctor. And driving on a suspended license will only compound your legal woes down the line. Do not risk having your driving privileges suspended in a Virginia courtroom. Contact an experienced attorney if you’ve been charged with a DUI or reckless driving in Virginia.
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