License Suspension for Marijuana Possession in Virginia
UPDATED: February 3, 2020
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If convicted of marijuana possession in Virginia, state law requires a judge to suspend your driver's license. Two main policy concerns are used to justify suspension: first is to prevent individuals using drugs from driving while under the influence; and second to punish and scare those who used drugs by taking their driver's license. If facing a Virginia marijuana possession charge, consult a local attorney for assistance in reducing the charge and preventing suspension of your driver's license.
Required License Suspension in Virginia
Some states authorize judges to suspend your license at the judge’s discretion. However, upon conviction of marijuana possession in Virginia, the judge is required to suspend your license for a period of six months. This requirement holds regardless of the type of sentence that you receive. Additionally, while some other states allow a judge to postpone the suspension while you are on deferred adjudication, Virginia is not one of them.
If you have a regular license, not a CDL, you can request the court to grant you a restricted driving permit at the time of your plea. Note though that a judge is not required to grant your request. This means that if you intend to make this request, be prepared (by the time of your plea) to demonstrate why you need the permit. Also be able to show mitigating factors, like an absence of criminal history. Additional positive facts will improve your chances of having your request granted.
Reinstating a Virginia License after Suspension
Until you get permission to drive, you should refrain from driving in Virginia while your license is suspended. Doing so will usually result in another charge and another suspension. Also keep in mind that though your suspension is automatic, your reinstatement is not. In order to get your driver’s license back, you must submit an application for reinstatement and pay a fee. Failure to file the application or pay the fee will prolong your suspension. If you have questions about how to protect or regain your driver’s license, contact a criminal attorney in your area.
Getting Legal Help
Before you enter a plea on a Virginia marijuana possession charge, you need to discuss the consequences of your driver’s license suspension with your attorney. If your license is your livelihood, you may want to discuss the possibility of plea bargaining to a different charge that does not invoke Virginia's automatic suspension law. For example, if you have no prior criminal history, you may be able to plea to a lesser charge of possession of drug paraphernalia, thereby avoiding the automatic suspension requirement.