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How to Get Your Driver’s License Reinstated After a Virginia DUI/DWI Conviction

One of the most challenging and inconvenient consequences after a DUI/DWI conviction is the sudden loss of your driver’s license. Even for first-time DUI/DWI offenders, there is a mandatory driver’s license suspension period. In certain instances, a motorist may be able to get restricted driving privileges after a drunk driving arrest, but it is more common for a motorist to have to wait until they have completed the full suspension period.

Driver’s License Suspension After a DUI/DWI Conviction in Virginia

If you are arrested for drunk driving in Virginia, there is an automatic administrative license suspension initiated by the Department of Motor Vehicles, as well as a further suspension after a DUI/DWI conviction. The length of your license suspension will depend primarily on if you have prior DUI/DWI convictions on our record and when those convictions occurred.

Requirements for Reinstatement

The requirements for reinstating your driver’s license after a DUI/DWI depend on the specific criminal charges and penalties, including if you have multiple prior DUI/DWI convictions. Reinstatement may also depend on whether the DUI/DWI involved drugs or alcohol and if you had any other outstanding criminal charges.

Requirements for Reinstatement After Your First Conviction

After a first DUI/DWI, a motorist can immediately petition the court for a restricted license as soon as they are convicted. However, a restricted license limits the time and place the driver can go. This is generally limited to driving to and from places like work, school, childcare, and DUI/DWI classes.


If a restricted driver’s license is granted, they will also be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID), which is generally required for all Virginia DUI/DWI convictions–including a first offense DUI/DWI. The ignition interlock device requires a clean breath sample in order to start the car and continue operating the vehicle. The driver is responsible for the costs of installing and maintaining the IID.


To get full driving privileges reinstated, the motorist must comply with all the terms of the license suspension. The Virginia DMV allows drivers to check their compliance summary request online. These requirements may include:

  • Waiting the suspension period (12 months or more),
  • Proof of payment of all court fines and costs,
  • SR22 certificate of financial responsibility from the insurance company,
  • Completing the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program,
  • Installing an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle (minimum 6 months), and
  • Paying all reinstatement fees (the DMV reinstatement fee after a DUI/DWI suspension will be approximately $220).

Reinstatement Requirements After a Second DUI/DWI in Virginia

The requirements for reinstating your driver’s license after a second DUI/DWI conviction are similar to the requirements after a first DUI/DWI, but the waiting period is longer and the penalties are higher.  

Reinstatement After a Third DUI/DWI Conviction in Virginia

After a third DUI/DWI conviction, your driver’s license is suspended indefinitely. However, you may be able to petition to have driving privileges reinstated after five years. This is called a license restoration and is substantially more complex and difficult to successfully complete than a normal license reinstatement.

Getting Your License Reinstated in Virginia After an Out-of-State DUI/DWI Conviction

There are circumstances where someone was convicted of a DUI/DWI in another state, then relocates to Virginia. For example, some college students may get convicted of a DUI/DWI while back home during summer vacation and return to Virginia with a suspended license. It is important to understand that if your driving privileges are suspended or revoked in another state, you may need to complete the other states reinstatement requirements before you can apply for a driver’s license in Virginia. This is because Virginia, along with many other states, are part of the Driver’s License Compact (DLC). This is an initiative where states actually share information on driver’s license suspensions with other states to avoid the situation where a motorist is convicted of a DUI/DWI in State A and simply decides to pick up and move to State B. In most cases, the Virginia DMV will be aware of your out-of-state license suspension when you apply for a Virginia driver’s license.

Stand Up For Your Rights – Hire a Skilled DUI/DWI Defense Lawyer in Virginia

As you can see, getting convicted of a DUI/DWI in Virginia is serious and can cause significant hardship for many defendants. This is why it is critically important to retain the services of a skilled and knowledgeable Fairfax County DUI/DWI defense attorney at Dua Law Firm. We offer compassionate and effective legal representation, with a keen understanding of Virginia laws and regulations. Our comprehensive skills make us the right choice to handle your DUI/DWI case. Our team of legal professionals will work tirelessly to provide the most effective representation possible.


Get in touch with our skilled DUI/DWI defense attorneys in Fairfax today! Contact us at (703) 382-7300 to schedule a free, confidential consultation at your earliest convenience.