Your License After a First Time DUI in Alexandria
When a person has a suspended license and they do not want a restricted license or they are not eligible for a restricted license, they can go to the local DMV to provide proof of identity and proof of residence to obtain an ID card. A charge and a conviction are two different things. If you have been charged with a first offense DUI in Alexandria, and leading up to that first offense you are either given a breath test or you refuse the test, your license will be administratively suspended for a period of seven days.
For a first time DUI conviction, on the other hand, an individual in Virginia will receive a mandatory 12-month loss of your driving privileges. If you are a Virginia driver, this means that your Virginia driver’s license is suspended for 12 months. If you are an out-of-state driver, it means your privilege to operate in the Commonwealth of Virginia is suspended for 12 months.
The restricted license process happens after an individual is convicted of a first time DUI in Alexandria. When the person is convicted of a first time DUI, their license is suspended by the court for a period of 12 months. The person can then ask the court to re-issue the license on a restricted basis.
The restricted license application is available online or an attorney can provide one for an individual. The application outlines the type of driving that is permitted for someone with a restricted license. Typically, a person must have the court’s approval to obtain a restricted license. The court reviews the types of driving privileges requested to ensure that they comply with the statute.
Challenging a License Suspension
Immediately after being charged with a first time DUI, an individual will receive an administrative suspension for seven days, also known as a cool down period, which is governed by Virginia Code Section 46.2-391.2. After the administrative suspension period is over, the individual’s license is returned either by mail or by picking it up at the clerk’s office.
If suspended administratively, the individual has the option to challenge the suspension. Very few drivers actually challenge the administrative suspension, because it requires proof, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the individual should not have been charged with the first time DUI.
However, in the case of a conviction for a first time DUI, many drivers challenge the 12-month loss of license. A twelve-month loss of license is mandatory upon any conviction, however, they may be eligible for a full restricted license during that time period. There are certain conditions that are necessary for anyone requesting a restricted license. An experienced Alexandria DUI attorney can take note of the requirements for their conviction and often help the individual receive a restricted license shortly after the conviction date.
First Offense vs. Second Offense
For a first time DUI offense, a restricted license is issued shortly after the trial date when the trial results in a conviction. For a second or subsequent DUI offense, an individual may have to wait for a period of time to obtain a restricted license.
When someone has a second DUI offense within five years, they must wait one year after the date of conviction to be eligible for a restricted license. For a second DUI offense in 10 years, an individual must wait four months.
Challenging a License Suspension
When someone wishes to challenge their administrative license suspension after being arrested for suspicion of DUI, there is a time to do so that correlates to the number of prior offenses. For example, a person with a first offense who took or refused to take a breath test has seven days to challenge the administrative license suspension.
When someone is charged with a second offense, their license is administratively suspended for 60 days or until the trial date, whichever is sooner. For an individual charged with a third or subsequent offense, their license is suspended administratively until the trial date. A person charged with a second or subsequent DUI may have good grounds for challenging the underlying reasons for the suspension and that would want to pursue that instead of simply waiting for their license to be returned.
It is a good idea to talk to an attorney about challenging the administrative license suspension. Because of practical considerations, first offense administrative license suspension challenges are quite rare.
Mistakes to Avoid
There are many mistakes that a first-time DUI defendant can avoid. The first is to use your best judgment and avoid any situations that could put you at risk for a DUI. In the modern age, especially in the city of Alexandria, there is virtually no need to get behind the wheel of the car after consuming too much alcohol. Public transportation, such as the Metro or Metrobuses, and private transportation options such as Uber, Lyft, or other ride services are always available.
If, however, you find yourself in a situation where you are behind the wheel and charged with a DUI offense, there are certain things that you should consider. First, it is important to choose your counsel appropriately. When choosing an experienced DUI defense lawyer, you want to make sure that they practice DUI cases regularly in the city of Alexandria. Your attorney should be comfortable with local procedures, local rules, and local customs, as well as experience handling DUI cases.