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In all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., drivers found guilty of certain infractions, such as DUI, have their driving privileges either suspended or revoked. You may also lose driving privileges for non-driving infractions. For example, many states either suspend or revoke driving privileges for failure to make court-ordered child support payments.
A suspended license is a temporary driving ban. License revocation, however, is a permanent loss of driving privileges in that state. Please note that you cannot be pulled over on suspicion of driving on a revoked or suspended license. The officer must have other reasons for pulling you over, such as speeding or suspicion of DUI.
Why Would the State Suspend My License?
Legal reasons for suspending someone's driver's license vary by state, though there are numerous infractions for which license suspension or revocation is a common penalty.
Common reasons the state may suspend or revoke your driver's license include:
- Accruing too many points on your license
- Conviction of DUI
- Failure to respond to a ticket for a moving violation
- Using your vehicle in the commission of a felony
- Failure to maintain auto insurance
- Failure to pay child support
- Failure to maintain vehicle registration
Again, license suspension as punishment varies by state; this is only a list of the most common infractions.
Can I Apply for a Restricted License?
You may be able to apply for a restricted license, even if your driver's license was suspended or revoked. Typically, these licenses only allow you to drive during certain days and time periods, or for particular activities. For example, you may be permitted to drive to and from work or school, or to fulfill a community service requirement.
If you lost your license due to DUI, you may be eligible for reinstatement if you install an ignition interlock device (IID). These devices require a breath test before starting your vehicle, as well as intermittent testing while operating the vehicle. In some states, installation of an IID is part of the penalty for conviction of DUI.
What are the Penalties for Driving on a Suspended License?
Driving on a suspended license is illegal in every state, but penalties for doing so are dictated by state law and as such, vary widely. Penalties include fines, auto insurance repurcussions, incarceration, traffic school, and further license suspension.
We look at four different states from different areas of the country.
- Arizona levies fines between $300 and $500. You likely face increased insurance premiums or a canceled policy. Minimum jail time is 48 hours. Traffic school is not required, but attendance dismisses the ticket and protects your driving record. You may receive additional time on your suspended license.
- California levies fines between $300 and $1,000. You likely face increased insurance premiums or a canceled policy. Maximum jail time is six months. Traffic school is required on a case-by-case basis, and completion removes the offense from public record, as long as a second offense does not occur within 18 months. Reinstatement of your suspended license requires an administrative hearing.
- New York levies fines between $200 and $500. You likely face increased insurance premiums or a canceled policy. Minimum jail time is 30 days. Traffic school is required on a case-by-case basis; completion removes up to four points from your license. You may receive additional time on your suspended license.
- Wyoming levies $750 in fines. You likely face increased insurance premiums. Maximum jail time is six months. Traffic school is not required. You may receive additional time on your suspended license.
How Can I Get My License Reinstated?
Just as penalties vary by state, so too does reinstatement of a suspended license. In some states, your license automatically reinstates after the given period. Most states, however, require you to meet certain conditions and apply for reinstatement.
The minimum requirement in most states is paying the fee for reinstatement. In addition, depending on the reason your license was suspended, you must meet certain criteria. For example, if you received a DUI, you may have to complete an alcohol awareness or treatment program. If your state requires SR-22 insurance, you must supply proof of financial ability to maintain this insurance. If you lost your license for failure to pay child support, you must pay your past due balance.
Schedule a Free Consultation
If you were charged for driving on a suspended license, schedule a free, confidential consultation with an attorney to learn the guidelines in your state and what you must do to have your license reinstated.