I am arrested for DUI in another state, how does that affect my Virginia Driver’s License?
If you hold a driver’s license in Virginia and get arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in other state, that state will promptly inform Virginia of your transgression. That is because Virginia participates in the national Driver License Compact, a database for inter-state driving offenses. It also reports people who commit a driving offense in Virginia but live elsewhere.
It is important to understand that Virginia will treat you as though your DUI happened here. You can expect an immediate driver’s license suspension of one year once Virginia knows about your out of state drinking and driving conviction. In some cases, the consequences you face in your home state are more severe than they would have been in the state where your arrest occurred.
Possibility of a Restricted Virginia License
A restricted driver’s license allows you to drive to and from work or school, to obtain healthcare deemed medically necessary, and a few other necessary destinations. Although this type of driver’s license is severely limited, it at least allows you to remain employed. However, the state won’t issue you a restricted driver’s license automatically. You must petition the court at the local jurisdiction where you reside and show proof that a full license suspension would cause undue hardship.
You must also be prepared to meet all requirements for a restricted driver’s license in Virginia. These include:
- Install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. This requires you to blow into a breathalyzer each time you try to start your car. The engine won’t start if the device measures alcohol in your breath.
- Complete the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP). This may be one of the few places you’re allowed to drive with your restricted license.
- Pay a driver’s license reinstatement fee
- Provide proof of financial responsibility
Keep in mind that these requirements are in addition to anything imposed on you by the local court. Depending on your level of intoxication and previous DUI history, punishments for a DUI in Virginia may include additional fines, up to one year in the county jail, and the potential for the state to seize your car. Additionally, the DUI from out of state will count as a prior offense if you’re ever stopped for impaired driving in Virginia.
Fighting an Out of State DUI
You are not automatically guilty of driving under the influence in another state just because a police officer arrested you for it. In fact, you may be able to successfully argue in Virginia’s Circuit Court that the laws in the state of your arrest are not similar enough to Virginia’s laws to warrant any punishment. However, you need an experienced DUI lawyer to successfully make this argument. Matthew Pack and W. Cameron Warren of the Pack Law Group in Bedford, Virginia have many years of expertise representing those charged with DUI, both in and outside of Virginia.
Should a Circuit Court judge agree that DUI laws between the two states are too dissimilar, it may be possible to reverse your driver’s license suspension in your home state of Virginia. The state where you originally received the DUI may still suspend your license there, but that may have no effect on you if you have no reason to visit there again.
Our experienced Virginia DUI attorneys can also challenge the legality of you being pulled over on suspicion of drunken driving in the first place. The arresting officer must have had a valid reason for the traffic stop, and your DUI attorney can and will challenge this. Another possible defense is that the arresting officer used faulty equipment when measuring your blood alcohol level, resulting in a false reading.
Contact an Experienced Virginia DUI Attorney
Drunk driving is a serious offense with consequences that follow you for years. At this stressful time in your life, you need an attorney that will aggressively defend you in and out of Virginia on your Virginia DUI case. Please contact our aggressive DUI attorneys today at (540) 586-7225 or by using our website contact form to arrange a free review of your case.