How do you get a Cinderella license in Virginia?

If your license has been suspended in Virginia due to a conviction for drunk driving, you may be able to convince a judge to grant you a Cinderella, or restricted, license that allows you limited driving privileges.

Unfortunately, requests for a restricted license are not automatically granted -- even if you are a first time offender. It's strictly up to the individual judge hearing your case, and many are reluctant to give restricted licenses these days due to the potential public backlash and the desire to crackdown on inebriated drivers.

The most likely reasons that you can convince a judge to grant you restricted driving privileges include:

  • There is only a limited availability of public transportation in your area, which would make it impossible for you to remain gainfully employed without reliable transportation.
  • One of the requirements of your job is running errands or traveling from client to client. For example, if you work as an insurance adjuster, your job is dependent on your ability to travel from accident site to accident site.
  • You suffer from a medical condition that requires you to regularly travel for treatment. This is also sometimes a valid reason if you are the primary source of transportation for a close relative, like a parent or child, who needs regular medical care. For example, your disabled mother may need dialysis three times a week at the local dialysis cente, and there might be no other way to get her there.
  • You hope to attend a drug or alcohol treatment program as an outpatient, and there's no other way to get transportation to and from the facility.

Essentially, because restricted driving privileges are left up to the discretion of the judge, there's no guarantee that you'll be able to gain the judge's sympathy. If you plan to ask for restricted driving privileges based on hardship, talk to an attorney about your situation. Your attorney may be able to present your situation to the judge in the best light possible, maximizing your chances of success.

Source: Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, "Restricted Driving Privileges," accessed July 27, 2017

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