The answer to this question depends largely on the facts and circumstances of your individual case, including your blood alcohol level ("BAC"), whether it is a first or subsequent offense, and whether there are any aggravating circumstances present.
If the case is a standard DWI/DUI, with a BAC below .15, generally your license will be suspended for 12 months; however, the Fairfax County or Northern Virginia judge will most likely grant restricted driving privileges that cover driving to and from school, work, medical appointments, etc. Unfortunately, judges do not have complete discretion to grant any driving privileges you ask for. The categories of driving that can be authorized under a restricted license are set by the Virginia Code and judges have no authority to go outside the bounds the legislature has established. For higher BACs on a first offense, the judge may require that you start ASAP and receive a favorable evaluation before authoring the restricted license. If you have a high BAC, you should speak to our office because there may be things you can do in advance of court to help assure your restricted license is granted immediately if you are convicted.
Second offenses require a 36 month license loss. However, you are not eligible to receive a restricted license right away. If it is a second offense within five years of the first offense, you must wait at least one year after your conviction date before you can apply for a restricted license. If you are convicted of a second offense within 10 years of the first, you must wait four months after your conviction date to apply for a restricted license,.
Of course, these are all starting point for analysis. If your case involved aggravating factors, such as an accident, the judge may decide that he will not grant a restricted license at all. Restricted license applications are in the sole discretion of the judge. Moreover, in Virginia if you are granted a restricted license, installation of an interlock device is a mandatory precondition to driving on the restricted license.
An experienced DWI lawyer can evaluate the specific facts of your case and better advise you concerning your situation. Contact our office for a consultation.