Habitual Offender

If you received at least three major convictions or 12 minor convictions which occurred within a ten year period, you may have been declared a habitual offender prior to 7/1/99.

A person may have been declared a habitual offender by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), a general district or circuit court.

What happens if I drive?

Driving after you have been declared a habitual offender is a serious offense. If convicted, you will go to a local jail or state prison. You may also be fined.

If your first violation does not endanger another person or property and you are convicted, the court will treat it as a misdemeanor. You may be sentenced to up to 90 days in jail, of which ten days are mandatory, and you may be fined up to $2,500.

If your first violation endangers another person or property or if you drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol and you are convicted, the court will treat it as a felony. You will be sentenced to at least one year, but not more than five years, in a state correctional facility.

If you are convicted of driving two or more times after being declared a habitual offender, the court will treat these violations as felonies. You will be sentenced to at least one year, but not more than five years, in a state correctional facility.

How can I get back my driving privilege?

Only a court can restore your driving privileges if you have been declared a habitual offender.

Be sure to ask the court to send a copy of your petition to DMV and the Commonwealth's Attorney in the court jurisdiction where you file the petition. DMV will advise the Commonwealth's Attorney about your eligibility to have your driving privilege restored on either a restricted or full basis, based upon the petition information and your driving record.

The court will wait at least 30 days after receiving your petition before holding a hearing. The court may order that you receive an evaluation from the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program and that the results be reported to the court prior to your hearing date.

If the court grants your petition and you comply with any other outstanding DMV suspensions and requirements, you must take and pass the complete driver's license test to receive your driver's license.

When will I be eligible to get my license reinstated?

Your license was revoked indefinitely when you were declared a habitual offender. The length of time before you can get it back depends on the violations which led to DMV or a court declaring you a habitual offender.

Convictions Leading to Habitual Offender Status When Your Driving Privilege May Be Restored
Only convictions of driving suspended for unpaid fines, judgments and/or financial responsibility. (If all of your convictions are for driving suspended for unpaid fines/judgments and/or financial responsibility, the court will dismiss your case if your fines have been paid in full at the time of your trial.) Full driving privileges upon satisfaction of all unpaid fines and/or judgments
At least one conviction of driving suspended for unpaid fines, judgments and/or financial responsibility, and no DUI convictions. Full driving privileges three years from the date you are declared a habitual offender.
All non-DUI convictions and all convictions of driving suspended except those for unpaid fines, judgments and/or financial responsibility. Full or restricted privileges five years from the date you are declared a habitual offender.
At least one conviction of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI). Restricted privileges three years from the date you are declared a habitual offender. Full privileges five years from the date you are declared a habitual offender. The court may give credit for revocation time served as a result of a third DUI offense.