Driver’s License Suspension
Suspensions & Revocations After a DUI Arrest in DC & VA
If you are arrested for an alcohol-related moving violation such as a DUI, the arresting officer will give you an Order of Proposed Revocation. From there, you will have to appear in Superior Court to face the criminal charges. However, if you want to challenge the revocation of your license, you must schedule a permit hearing with either the District of Columbia DMV or Alexandria, VA DMV depending on where you live. This must be done within 10 days if you are a resident of the District of Columbia, and within 15 days if you are a non-DC resident.
DC DMV Process After a DUI
At the DMV permit hearing, you have the right to be represented by counsel. The hearing officer will take testimony from the arresting officer, who will provide information about the case, including such things as:
- The basis for the stop
- Actions observed or statements made by the driver
- Other circumstances relevant to the charge
The hearing officer will also ask you questions. Keep in mind that you are entitled to offer witnesses as well if you have any. The hearing officer will then issue a ruling about whether or not your license will be revoked. For your knowledge, If you refuse to take the chemical test, such as the breathalyzer, blood, or urine test, your license will be revoked for one year, regardless of how many prior alcohol-related offenses you have on your record.
However, just as with license suspensions and revocations based on a chemical test, your license revocation or suspension does not end automatically. At a minimum, you must take steps to reinstate your license such as paying a reinstatement fee. Depending on the circumstances, you may have to take additional steps to regain your license.
It is important to understand that license revocation is a civil consequence that is not to be confused with criminal consequences such as jail time or fines. However, testimony given at a civil hearing may also be used in a criminal case. As such, it is a good idea to have an attorney represent you at the license revocation hearing, both to protect your rights and ask the arresting officer legal questions that could impact both your license revocation and criminal case.
License Suspensions after DUI in Alexandria, VA
After a DUI arrest in Alexandria, VA, the court will likely suspend your driver’s license immediately for having a BAC of .08% or more or refusing a breath and/or blood test. However, you may have the option to petition the court for restricted driving privileges depending on the nature of your reported DUI. The violations below are eligible for restricted driving privileges.
Granted at the time of conviction:
- Driving under the influence (DUI), first offense
- Reckless driving
- Speed and aggressive driving
- Illegal possession of alcohol
- Illegal consumption of alcohol
- Drug violations
Granted after three years:
- DUI, third offense
- Three DUIs within 10 years
- Maiming of another resulting from driving while intoxicated
- Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter resulting from driving a motor vehicle
- Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter resulting from driving a motor vehicle while under the influence
- Habitual offender
Granted after one year: Second DUI within five years of first DUI offense
Granted after four months: Second DUI within 10 years of first DUI offense
Keep in mind that nearly all DUIs and DUI-related offenses are worth six DMV demerit points, so Alexandria, VA drivers who accumulate 18 points in 12 months or 24 points in 24 months will get a mandatory 90-day license suspension, be required to complete driver improvement classes upon completion, and suffer additional restrictions once the suspension period ends.
Length of License Suspension or Revocation in DC & Alexandria, VA
The amount of time your license is suspended or revoked depends on how many prior offenses you have, in most circumstances. It is important to understand that the length of suspension or revocation is the amount of time you are not allowed to have full driving privileges, and license reinstatement is not automatic. However, you will not be granted full driving privileges in the District of Columbia or Alexandria, VA until you take the required legal steps to reinstate your license, which can be accomplished by proactively taking the necessary steps.
Ignition Interlock Device (IID) Program
An ignition interlock device (IID) is a breath alcohol analyzer connected to the ignition system of a motor vehicle that obtains a driver’s breath sample to detect alcohol before starting the car. If the breath alcohol of the driver is in excess of the level set on the device, the car won’t start. In addition to blowing into the IID before starting the car, at various intervals, the driver is again prompted to blow into the device at random intervals, also called “rolling retests.” This combination of tests is designed to ensure the driver is not drunk or drinking while driving.
One who participates in the District of Columbia or Alexandria, VA IID program can get a restricted driver’s license, allowing them to drive cars with an IID installed. However, the other restrictions imposed on a person remain for the length of time the driver’s license has been revoked. Violating the rules of the IID program or committing a new driving violation will extend the revocation period.
In Washington, DC, people who have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) are not qualified to participate in the IID program. Indigent individuals in DC may qualify for the DMV to pay the costs associated with participation in the IID program, which may include installation and monthly maintenance fees.
For others, the requirements to participate in the DC IID Program include:
- Held a DC DMV driver’s license immediately prior to the revocation of their license
- Either had their license revoked administratively or as a result of a criminal conviction due to an alcohol-related offense
- Have no other pending license revocations or suspensions
- No prior convictions for causing injury or death while driving
- Enrolled in or previously completed a DC Department of Behavioral Health approved substance abuse treatment program
- No prior failures in this or a similar program in another state for the past 5 years
- Complete the application process
- Pay the associated fees
- Obtain and maintain special High-Risk Insurance
- Meet any other criteria as required
Reinstating Driver’s License After Suspension or Revocation
If your license was suspended in DC, you must pay a reinstatement fee and take a class. However, after your license has been revoked due to an alcohol or drug-related offense, you must:
- Attend a reinstatement hearing in person
- Fill out a Driver License Reinstatement Hearing Application and mail it to the DMV office
- Show proof that you have completed a state-certified alcohol/drug counseling program or a certified substance abuse course, depending on different factors
The hearing officer is also allowed to inquire about your driving record and driving habits. You have the right to be represented by an attorney at this hearing. If the Adjudication Services Office determines your license cannot be reinstated, you can appeal this decision to the Traffic Adjudication Appeals Board. If your license can be reinstated, however, you must repeat the steps necessary to obtain a DC driver’s license.
In other words, you must:
- Take and pass the written test
- Get a learner permit
- Take and pass the road test
- Provide the necessary documentation to get either a REAL ID or Limited Purpose license
- Pay the reinstatement fee
In Alexandria, VA, reinstatement requirements vary depending on your unique circumstances. To give you an idea of what may be required to reinstate your driving privileges after a suspension or revocation, read the examples below.
Requirements satisfied without appearing in person at the DMV :
- Providing DMV with an SR22 or FR44 (Certification of Insurance) from an insurance company licensed to do business in Alexandria, VA
- Attending a driver improvement clinic
- Providing DMV with a medical and/or vision report from a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician's assistant
- Providing proof of enrollment in, and completion of, the Alexandria, VA Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP)
- Completing an intervention interview with VASAP
- Complying with child support orders issued by the Department of Social Services, Division of Child Support Enforcement
- Providing proof that fees owed to the local correctional facility or regional jail have been satisfied
- Providing DMV with requested motor vehicle insurance policy information
- Providing DMV with proof of a judgment satisfied in full, payment agreement, creditor's consent, or bankruptcy filing
- Paying DMV reinstatement fees that can range from $145 to $220, depending on the nature of the suspension or revocation
- Paying any applicable licensing fees
Requirements satisfied by appearing in-person at the DMV:
- Providing proof of identification, residency, and/or legal presence
- Taking any applicable knowledge and road skills tests
- Providing a court order allowing restricted driving privileges
Facing Alcohol-Related Charges in Washington, DC or Alexandria, VA?
If you are facing alcohol-related charges such as DUI or DWI, don’t face them alone. At S. L. England, PLLC, we help clients in the District of Columbia and Alexandria, VA work to regain their driving privileges by providing personalized legal counsel and effective representation. From challenging your license revocation to challenging your chemical test results, we have the experience you are looking for in a DUI/DWI attorney.