Drivers Hardship License Law – General – Virginia
1. Does the agency (motor vehicle/DOT) law provide for hardship licenses?
Virginia Code § 18.2-271.1 allows for a restricted license to be issued for suspension for reckless driving under § § 46.2-392 or for alcohol related offenses.
2. Is an agency hearing required before a hardship license is issued?
No, the court may order the restricted license to be issued as part of the sentencing under § 18.2-271.1.
3. Do prior offenses prevent me from obtaining a hardship license?
No restricted license shall be issued during the first four months of a revocation imposed for a second DUI offense committed within 10 years of the first DUI offense. No restricted license shall be issued during the first year of a revocation imposed for a second DUI offense committed within five years of the first DUI offense.
4. What are the requirements for getting a hardship license?
The court, in its discretion and for good cause shown, may issue a restricted permit to operate a motor vehicle for any of the following purposes:
(i) travel to and from his place of employment;
(ii) travel to and from an alcohol rehabilitation or safety action program;
(iii) travel during the hours of such person’s employment if the operation of a motor vehicle is a necessary incident of such employment;
(iv) travel to and from school if such person is a student, upon proper written verification to the court that such person is enrolled in a continuing program of education;
(v) travel for health care services, including medically necessary transportation of an elderly parent with a serious medical problem upon written verification of need by a licensed health professional;
(vi) travel necessary to transport a minor child under the care of such person to and from school, day care, and facilities housing medical service providers;
(vii) travel to and from court-ordered visitation with a child of such person; or
(viii) travel to a screening, evaluation and education program entered pursuant to § 18.2-251 or subsection H of § 18.2-258.1. No restricted license issued pursuant to this subsection shall permit any person to operate a commercial motor vehicle as defined in the Virginia Commercial Driver’s License Act
Such restricted license shall be conditioned upon enrollment within fifteen days in, and successful completion of an alcohol safety action program.
A person convicted of a third offense of DUI resulting in injury or death occuring within a ten year period may petition for a restricted license to authorize such person to drive a motor vehicle in the course of his employment and to drive a motor vehicle to and from his home to the place of his employment after the expiration of three years from the date of his last conviction. The court may order that a restricted license for such purposes be issued in accordance with the procedures of subsection E of § 18.2-271.1, if the court is satisfied from the evidence presented that:
(i) at the time of the previous convictions, the petitioner was addicted to or psychologically dependent on the use of alcohol or other drugs;
(ii) at the time of the hearing on the petition, he is no longer addicted to or psychologically dependent on the use of alcohol or such other drugs; and
(iii) the defendant does not constitute a threat to the safety and welfare of himself and others with regard to the driving of a motor vehicle. The court shall prohibit the person to whom a restricted license is issued from operating a motor vehicle that is not equipped with a functioning, certified ignition interlock system during all or any part of the term for which the restricted license is issued, in accordance with the provisions set forth in § 18.2-270.1. However, prior to acting on the petition, the court shall order that an evaluation of the person, to include an assessment of his degree of alcohol abuse and the appropriate treatment therefor, if any, be conducted by a Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program and recommendations therefrom be submitted to the court.
All applicable fees must be paid before the restricted license will be issued.
5. Can minors receive limited driving privileges?
§ 46.2-359 allows any person eighteen years of age or older who has been adjudged an habitual offender based in whole or in part on findings of not innocent as a juvenile may petition the court in which he was found to be an habitual offender, or any circuit court in Virginia having criminal jurisdiction in the political subdivision in which the person now resides, for restoration of his privilege to operate a motor vehicle in the Commonwealth. On such petition, and for good cause shown, the court may, in its discretion, restore to him the privilege to drive a motor vehicle in the Commonwealth on whatever conditions the court may prescribe, subject to other provisions of law relating to the issuance of driver’s licenses.