Issues Concerning the Adoption of an Administrative Per Se Statute by the Commonwealth of Virginia

Report No: 89-R15

Published in 1989

About the report:

The most effective measures to deter drunken driving are legal actions that provide for certain, serious, and swift sanctions. An administrative per se statute that summarily revokes or suspends a driver's license for a DUI offense satisfies these criteria. Because the revocation would be imposed by an administrative, rather than a judicial, system, concerns about due process violations have been raised. Although the Supreme Court has never directly ruled on the constitutionality of an administrative per se statute, its rulings in other cases provide indications of what would be required for such a statute to be found constitutional. This report reviews the relevant cases on the issues of due process and double jeopardy. It also discusses the statutes and experience of states with per se laws and studies that document the impact of such laws. In addition to deterring drunken driving, enactment of an administrative per se statute would benefit Virginia by bringing the Commonwealth one step closer to qualifying for additional federal funds.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • Salil R. Virkar, James D. Wall, Veronica M. Kelly

Last updated: December 28, 2023

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