Maybe you are driving home from happy hour after work or a party at a friend's house when you see police lights flashing in your rear-view mirror. Before you know it, you are facing drunk driving charges. This can be a stressful time, as not only are you facing the possibility of fines or jail time, but you are also facing the loss of your driver's license. Because these penalties can have such a significant impact on your life, it is important to understand the difference between driver's license suspension and driver's license revocation in Virginia.
When your driver's license is suspended, it means you have temporarily lost the privilege to drive. After the suspension period has passed, your driver's license will be reinstated. This means that you will be able to have the same rights to operate a motor vehicle you had prior to the suspension. If you unreasonably refuse to submit to a breath test, your driver's license will be suspended for one year.
A revocation, on the other hand, means that your right to drive is completely terminated. After the revocation period has passed, you must retake any necessary driver's tests as well as pay for a new driver's license. Thus, a driver's license revocation is a more severe penalty than a driver's license suspension. If you are convicted on DUI charges and it is your first offense, your driver's license will be revoked for one year.
In either case, however, losing your driver's license -- even temporarily -- can have a significant impact on your daily life. Without a driver's license you may have trouble getting to work, taking care of essential errands or getting to medical appointments. Many places do not have reliable public transportation systems, meaning driving is almost essential. Thus, those who are charged with drunk driving will want to take all steps necessary to avoid these penalties and preserve their ability to drive.