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  • Writer's pictureGregory Sandler


Did you ever think about why you have to get a driver’s license before you can drive on Virginia highways legally? Many people don’t. As they approach the legal driving age, they get geared up to take the necessary tests, without stopping to think about why.

In Virginia, as in all states, citizens have no right to operate a motor vehicle. Here, the Commonwealth grants only a conditional privilege to drive on Virginia roads. See Deaner v. Commonwealth, 210 Va. 285 (1969).

“Conditional privilege” is just a fancy way of saying that applicants must meet certain requirements before they will be granted driver’s licenses. And even after they have received their licenses, license holders have no right to keep them if they violate Virginia’s traffic laws.

Because driver’s licenses represent only “conditional privileges,” Virginia courts have the right to revoke, suspend, or cancel driver’s licenses for violations of motor vehicle laws. Those laws are in place to protect others from potential danger.

But don’t confuse these civil proceedings with criminal DUI charges. Proceedings to revoke, suspend, or cancel driver’s licenses for traffic law violations are civil in nature; they are completely separate from any criminal proceedings. The civil proceedings are conducted under the authority of the Virginia Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles.

It can be pretty confusing because either civil or criminal proceedings may result in license suspension or revocation. The only thing they have in common is that both are designed to protect other members of the traveling public from potentially dangerous drivers.

Highway safety is not rocket science. Large hunks of metal traveling at high speeds can cause great damage if they collide. It is much more likely to happen when driving laws are broken or drivers are impaired.

Call The Sandler Law Group if you need representation in a personal injury case. Accidents can happen at any time, and when a law has been broken, you may be entitled to compensation. Call toll free 800-9-THE-LAW or (757) 627-8900 to schedule an initial consultation. You may also contact us online at or at or by email at

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