DWI Restricted License Options for Certain First Offense Cases

October 10, 2022
driving while intoxicated

In Virginia, a DWI conviction can lead to severe penalties. License suspensions are a statutory penalty that can have devastating consequences. Without a license, you may not have a way to get to work and earn an income.

Thankfully, drivers can request a restricted license during this time. If you want to know more about restricted licenses, reach out to Rudolphi Law! We’d be happy to tell you more about license restrictions and talk to you about your options.

Virginia Restricted License

Under Virginia law, drivers that are convicted of a first DUI offense will have their license suspended for 12 months. During this period, drivers have the right to request a restricted license. In the past, this license allowed drivers to use their vehicles for specific tasks, such as driving to and from work. In recent years, however, these restrictions have changed.

Options for Virginia Driver’s License Restriction Codes

Virginia drivers with a first offense DWI with a BAC under 0.15 can request the more limited license or the “any purpose” restricted license.

Previously, a restricted license only allowed drivers to use their vehicles for “limited purposes.” These requests would only be approved if the driver installed an ignition interlock device on their vehicle for at least six months on a first offense conviction.

However, in July 2020, VA code § 18.2-270.1 was updated to allow broader options for restricted licenses.

Under this new code, drivers can now request a restricted license that can be used for any purpose. This license is known as an “any purpose” restricted license. However, drivers that qualify for this license must use an ignition interlock device for one year rather than a minimum of six months.

The courts can revoke it at any time if the driver does not comply with these requirements. 

If you’re a first-time DUI offender and want to petition the court for a restricted license, a Fairfax DUI attorney can discuss your options and how you can qualify.

How To Qualify in VA

Defendants are eligible for an “any purpose” restricted license if they:

  • First-time offender
  • Were an adult at the time of the offense
  • Had a blood alcohol content (BAC) below 0.15

Adult defendants who do not meet these requirements can still request this type of license, but will be bound to time and place restrictions as prior to the July 2020 law update. This means they will need to have an ignition interlock for at least 6 months and will only be able to drive during approved times and to/from approved places for the entire duration of the license suspension.

  • Equipping all vehicles registered to the driver with an ignition interlock device
  • Abstaining from alcohol consumption during the restriction period
  • Covering court and administrative costs

Defendants may be ineligible to request a restricted license under certain circumstances including, but not limited to:

  • Refusal to take a breathalyzer test
  • Having multiple DUI convictions

    Even if you’re not currently eligible, you may be eligible to request one in the future. It’s best to talk to a lawyer about your options to find the best way to proceed.

A Virginia DUI Attorney Can Help If Your Restricted License Request Is Denied

The Court won’t always approve your request for a license. While you may still be statutorily eligible, the grant of a restricted license is at the Court’s discretion. Rudolphi Law can help you find the best way to proceed.

If you’re eligible, our firm can help you apply and guide you through the legal process. We’ll work with you to help you receive a restricted license if convicted of DUI. Contact our firm today at (703) 596-9566 to learn more about what we can do to help you.