Anyone convicted of a first offense DUI in Virginia has their license suspended for one year. They are eligible for an immediate Restricted License for specific purposes such as to drive to, from and during work, to drive to the mandatory ASAP class, to go to school, medical appointments, church services and to the facility that installs and monitors Ignition Interlock devices. The COVID-19 pandemic revealed just how inadequate the allowances were because it never authorized the driver to go to the grocery store. The actual restricted license has very specific time frames and locations and dates in which someone was allowed to drive. Some judges would only allow a restricted for 6 days a week even if the person had a job where they could be scheduled any day of the week. The law also mandated Ignition Interlock to be installed on the car as a condition of the restricted license for at least 6 months and for as long as the entire year at the discretion of the judge. If someone changed their address, job or any other condition of their restricted license, they would have to go back to court and petition the judge to make the changes to their Restricted License.
As of July 1, 2020, there is a new, much simpler option for those convicted of a first offense DUI in Virginia with a BAC below .15. The sole restriction for the entire one year license suspension is the installation of Ignition Interlock on any vehicle that the individual is driving. The new law is codified in Virginia Code § 18.2-270.1(C) which deals with Ignition Interlock systems:
C. However, upon motion of an offender, if (i) a conviction was under § 18.2-266 or a substantially similar ordinance of any county, city, or town; (ii) the conviction was for a first offense; (iii) the offender was an adult at the time of the offense; and (iv) the offender’s blood alcohol content was less than 0.15, the only restriction of a restricted license that the court shall impose is to prohibit the offender from operating a motor vehicle that is not equipped with a functioning, certified ignition interlock system for not less than twelve consecutive months without alcohol-related violations of the interlock requirements.