Q: How Does DMV Probation Work in Virginia? What is the 18 Month Control Period Following DMV Probation in Virginia?
Every probation consists of two phases: There is a 6 month period called "probation" followed by an 18 month "control period", for a total of 24 months.
The probation will begin as soon as a person has their license reinstated, following a suspension, or else the 6 months probation will begin on the exact date specified by DMV in the probation notice, which is sent in the mail.
In order to complete the 6 month probation period, the driver must go six months without any violations. If they commit any violation with points during the six months, they will have thier license suspended, and the suspension will be 15 days for each point-- that is, a 3-point violation will cause a 45 days suspension, a 4-point violation will cause a 60 day suspension, etc.
After the 6 months of probation is successfully completed, they must now complete an 18-month Control Period. During 18-Month Control Period, any violation will cause the person to be put BACK ON PROBATION for six months, and the cycle will begin again.
Many drivers will go through this process for a few years before they can go the full 24 month required to get through both probatio and a control period.
In order to break the cycle, it is necessary to go 24 months without any violation. If the driver goes 24 months without any tickets, they will actually have a zero point balance and they will have better driving habits as well.
The full text of the relevant Virginia Statutes appears below:
§ 46.2-499. Driver's license probation. —
A. The Commissioner shall place on probation for a period of six months any person who has been directed to attend a driver improvement clinic pursuant to the provisions of § 46.2-498. In addition, the Commissioner shall place any person on probation for a period of six months on receiving a record of a conviction of such person of any offense for which demerit points are assessed and the offense was committed within any driver control period imposed pursuant to § 46.2-500. Whenever a person who has been placed on probation is convicted, or found not innocent in the case of a juvenile, of any offense for which demerit points are assessed, and the offense was committed during the probation period, the Commissioner shall suspend the person's license for a period of ninety days when six demerit points are assigned, for a period of sixty days when four demerit points are assigned, and for a period of forty-five days when three demerit points are assigned. In addition, the Commissioner shall again place the person on probation for a period of six months, effective on termination of the suspension imposed pursuant to this section.
B. Upon request, the Commissioner shall grant a restricted license during the first period of suspension imposed pursuant to subsection A of this section provided the person is otherwise eligible to be licensed. Any person whose driver's license is suspended for a second or subsequent time under subsection A of this section shall be eligible to receive a restricted driver's license only if the violation occurred within a probation period that was immediately preceded by a control period. A restricted license may be issued for any of the purposes set forth in subsection E of § 18.2-271.1. Written verifications of the person's employment, continuing education or medically necessary travel shall also be required and made available to the Commissioner. Whenever a person who has been granted a restricted license pursuant to this subsection is convicted, or found not innocent in the case of a juvenile, of any offense for which demerit points are assessed, and the offense was committed during the restricted license period, the Commissioner shall suspend the person's license using the same demerit point criteria and suspension periods set forth in subsection A of this section. No restricted license issued pursuant to this subsection shall permit any person to operate a commercial motor vehicle as defined in the Virginia Commercial Driver's License Act (§ 46.2-341.1 et seq.).
C. Whenever the Department receives notice from the court that restricted license privileges have been granted to a person who has an existing restricted license issued pursuant to subsection B of this section, the existing restricted license shall be cancelled, and the Commissioner shall suspend the person's license for the period of time remaining on the original order of suspension. No court-granted restricted license shall be issued until the end of the suspension period imposed by the Commissioner. (1974, c. 453, § 46.1-514.13; 1978, c. 221; 1984, c. 673; 1989, c. 727; 1994, c. 849; 1995, c. 672; 1996, cc. 943, 994; 2001, cc. 645, 779.)
§ 46.2-500. Driver control period. — Whenever an individual is placed on probation pursuant to §§ 46.2-498, 46.2-499 or § 46.2-506, the Commissioner shall also place the person on driver control status for a period of eighteen months following the termination of the probationary period. If the individual commits any violation during the driver control period for which points are assessed, the Commissioner shall again place the individual on probation for a period of six months and on driver control status for an additional period of eighteen months following the probationary period. (1984, c. 673, § 46.1-514.13:1; 1989, c. 727; 1995, c. 672.)