Our aim is to rationally formulate a proper variational principle for dissipative (viscoplastic) solids in the presence of inertia forces. As a first step, a consistent linearization of the governing nonlinear partial differential equations (PDEs) is carried out. An additional set of complementary (adjoint) equations is then formed to recover an underlying variational structure for the augmented system of linearized balance laws. This makes it possible to introduce an incremental Lagrangian such that the linearized PDEs, including the complementary equations, become the EulerLagrange equations. Continuous groups of symmetries of the linearized PDEs are computed and an analysis is undertaken to identify the variational groups of symmetries of the linearized dissipative system. Application of Noethers theorem leads to the conservation laws (conserved currents) of motion corresponding to the variational symmetries. As a specific outcome, we exploit translational symmetries of the functional in the material space and recover, via Noethers theorem, an incremental J-integral for viscoplastic solids in the presence of inertia forces. Numerical demonstrations are provided through a two-dimensional plane strain numerical simulation of a compact tension specimen of annealed mild steel under dynamic loading.