You’re having a great vacation in New York. You’re seeing the sites, enjoying delicious food, and taking in the night life.
Until you get arrested for DUI.
No sweat. You hire a top notch New York DUI lawyer who helps you navigate the process and get the best outcome possible. At the end of the ordeal, you’re convicted of a basic first offense New York DUI.
You think it’s over. But wait until you get back home to Virginia.
Virginia license holders who get convicted of a DUI outside Virginia still suffer ramifications when they come back home. It’s surprising to many people, especially once you’ve already been punished by the court who handled the DUI charge.
Virginia’s basic rule is that a first offense DUI suspends your privilege to drive in the Commonwealth for one year. The law doesn’t care if you get the DUI in Virginia, New York, or any other state. Thus, once the New York DMV reports your DUI conviction to Virginia DMV, you’ll get a notice of suspension in the mail.
At that point, you still have options. First, you can petition the Virginia Circuit Court where you live to prove that the New York DUI is not “substantially similar” to a Virginia DUI. You have the burden in that hearing, and you have to prove your case. But in some scenarios, it’s possible to win. If you succeed, the Virginia suspension would be lifted, and you’d be clear to drive again in Virginia.
The second option is to petition your local Virginia General District Court for a restricted license. For a first offense DUI, you should be able to get a restricted privilege to be able to drive to work and/or school during your one-year suspension. If the court grants your motion, you would have to enroll in the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program, and you’d be required to have ignition interlock installed on any vehicle that you drive. But compared to the alternative of no driving for a year, most people are willing to put up with those hassles.
As you can see, a New York DUI can have serious ramifications for Virginia license holders. Be sure you and your attorney know exactly what you’re getting into, or you could have a surprise when you get back home.
Andrew Flusche is a Virginia DUI lawyer who defends clients along the I-95 corridor between Richmond, Virginia and Washington, D.C.