License suspended? Here's how to get it back.
By Davis Burroughs
August 12, 2019

A new law restored driving privileges to 30,000 Virginians whose licenses were previously suspended due to unpaid court fines, but tens of thousands more eligible Virginians must enroll before next year to get their licenses back. Civil rights advocates are concerned that a lack of public awareness over who is eligible and who gets automatically enrolled is causing fewer people than expected to take advantage of the opportunity, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

From July through early August, 7,997 people signed up to get their licenses back. Randy Rollins, the president and founder of Drive to Work, a Richmond-based nonprofit, told the RTD that is “not a great outcome.”

“I think many people have concluded the governor’s amendment has solved all of their problems,” Rollins said. “Whereas we would normally see 40 calls a month, it’s down to 10 or 15. That’s a substantial reduction for us.”

Though the DMV sent 500,000 personalized letters to everyone whose licenses were suspended due to failure to pay court fees or fines, many addresses could be out-of-date, a spokesperson told RTD.

Do not assume your license was automatically reinstated.

Drive to Work has a simple message for the public: Don’t assume your license was restored.

The steps for getting your license reinstated vary from person to person. For some, it’s as simple as passing an eye exam and taking a new photo. Others may require a new driving test or proof of permanent residence, according to WHSV.

How to get your license back

  • Make sure your mailing address is up-to-date by visiting
  • Obtain a compliance summary, which is a list of requirements that you must satisfy in order to have your license reinstated. There is no charge for this document.
    • The easiest and fastest way to get a compliance summary is online at
    • You can also pick up a compliance summary in person at any Virginia DMV customer service center or by calling the DMV direct telephone line at (804) 497-7100. Deaf and hard of hearing customers can call with the teletypewriter device (TTY) at 1-800-272-9268.
  • Long lines are a given for any trip to the DMV, but the summer is the worst time of year to go. Prepare to wait and call ahead or check online to make sure you have all the required documentation.
  • For additional questions, send a secure email to the Virginia DMV.
  • The drivers’ license reinstatement law expires on June 30, 2020 and there is no guarantee it will be renewed. To make sure you get your license back, begin the process as soon as possible.

The reinstated license law does not forgive people’s legal obligation to pay outstanding court fines and fees. It simply allows them to drive again so they can get to work and provide for their families.

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