Virginia Suspended Driver's License

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How to Handle a Virginia Suspended License

Getting a traffic ticket is no fun. If you've gotten a couple recently, it's probably about time you checked your Virginia driving record to see how many points you've accumulated. It's easier than you think to end up with a suspended license just by making few mistakes.

Traffic Tickets and Points

All Virginia traffic tickets have a demerit point value attached. These points are added to your driving record when you are convicted of a traffic offense, and they will stay on your record for a minimum of 2 years from the date of conviction. In addition, if you get a traffic ticket in another state, the DMV will post those points to your record as well.

Virginia traffic violations are assessed 3, 4, or 6 points each. Here are some common offenses and the point values they carry:

  • 3-Point Violations: Speeding (1-9 MPH over the limit), improper U-turn, improper passing, driving on the sidewalk, driving over a fire hose, impeding traffic (driving too slowly)
  • 4-Point Violations: Speeding (10-19 MPH over the limit), unsafe passing, failure to yield to an emergency vehicle, following too closely, improper signaling, disregarding an officer's signal to stop
  • 6-Point Violations: Reckless driving, driving under the influence, driving on a suspended license, hit-and-run
Six-point violations are the most severe, and these crimes will remain on your driving record for the longest period of time. You could also face an automatic license suspension, hefty fines, and possible jail time.

In an effort to improve your driving record, you may be eligible to take a Virginia driver improvement course. These courses teach driving safety and allow drivers to earn safe driving points that will be added to your record, counteracting any demerit points you may have earned. This is a valuable tool in preventing a Virginia suspended license.

Habitual Violator Suspensions

In Virginia, you will be classified as a habitual violator if you are convicted of 3 major moving violations or 12 minor offenses within a 10-year period. Major offenses include:

  • Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter while operating a motor vehicle
  • Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Driving on a suspended or revoked license
  • Making a false statement to an officer or the DMV
  • Failure to stop at the scene of an accident resulting in injury or death
  • Failure to stop at the scene of an accident resulting in vehicle or property damage greater than $1,000
These scenarios will result in an indefinite suspension of your Virginia driver's license.

The Difference between Suspension, Revocation, and Disqualification

There are 3 ways the Virginia DMV or court system can keep you off the road: suspension, revocation, and disqualification of your driving privileges.

A suspended license means you cannot drive for a specified amount of time. This is a temporary situation that has a begin and end date. Typically, once your suspension period is complete and you fulfill all reinstatement requirements, you should be allowed to drive again.

If your license is revoked, you will lose all ability to drive and will be required to go through a process established by your court to earn your driving privilege back. A license will typically be revoked for a serious traffic offense, such as:

  • Driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter
  • Providing false information on your driver's license application
  • Making a bomb threat
  • Hit-and-run
A disqualification is the commercial driver's equivalent to a suspended or revoked license. With a license disqualification, commercial drivers could lose the ability to drive for work temporarily or permanently. A CDL disqualification won't affect your standard license, unless it is for a serious traffic offense such as DWI, hit-and-run, etc.

How to Earn a Restricted License

Some drivers may be allowed to drive on a suspended driver's license in Virginia if they are granted a restricted license from the court or DMV. When applying for a restricted license, you may be required to submit documentation proving your need, such as a letter from your employer, school, or doctor specifying your necessity to drive.

Penalties for Driving on a Suspended License

Whether you lost your license due to a habitual violator status or for any other reason, driving during your suspension or revocation period could result in jail time as well as hefty fines. Your first instance could cost up to $2,500 and land you in jail for up to 1 year. In addition, your suspension or revocation period will be extended.

Requirements for License Reinstatement

Circumstances for reinstating your license can vary. Aside from paying specific reinstatement fees, you might need to submit additional documentation to the DMV. Proof of insurance, proof of completion of a driver improvement clinic, and proof of payment of additional fines and fees might all be required to reinstate your license. In addition, you could be required to take your behind-the-wheel driver's license test again. Contact the DMV before your suspension period is up to find out your specific requirements you'll need to meet to reinstate your license.

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