Virginia Administrative License Suspension for DUI
The first assault on a defendant’s right to drive is the administrative suspension, found in Va. Code § 46.2-391.2. This suspension occurs when the arresting officer notifies the driver that his license has been suspended. This notification usually happens at the police station after the officer administers a breath test. If you have a Virginia driver’s license, the arresting officer will confiscate it.
The police can suspend an out-of-state license holder’s right to drive in Virginia, but they are not allowed to confiscate an out-of-state license and cannot revoke your right to drive in other states. If the police confiscate your out-of-state driver’s license, notify your attorney immediately to begin the process of getting it back from the police. Once again, check your attorney-client contract carefully before hiring an attorney because many attorneys will not provide this service.
Administrative suspensions apply only to drivers who are charged with refusal to submit to a breath or blood test or with DUI based on a BAC of .08 or more (.02 or more if they are under 21). There should be no administrative suspension for a DUI arrest based only on erratic driving or drug use. If the police try to suspend your license for anything but DUI by BAC or refusal to submit, then contact your attorney immediately to get the suspension removed. Arguing with the police or ignoring them and driving anyways is never smart.
Administrative suspensions last only seven days for first time offenders, but drivers with prior convictions will be suspended for 60 day or until the day of trial (whichever comes first). Drivers can appeal an administrative suspension and/or receive a restricted driver’s license during the suspension period. However, you should be careful because many attorneys’ service contracts exclude both appeals and assistance with applying for a restricted driver’s license. Make sure your attorney is not going to charge you extra for helping you get your driving privileges restored.