What to Do If Your License Has Been Suspended

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(Newswire.net — September 10, 2018) –Unless you live in an urban area where public transportation is your primary means of travel, your driver’s license is your ticket to freedom. It’s how you get to work, run errands, and engage in social outings. When your license is suspended, major problems can ensue.

Common Reasons for Driver’s License Suspension

Having a driver’s license is a privilege, not a right. While the majority of the driving-age population has a license, age isn’t the sole qualifying factor. To obtain and keep a license, you must follow the law and prove yourself responsible.

A driver’s license can be suspended by a number of different government bodies and departments, including the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Department of Revenue (DOR), Secretary of State (SOS), and the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD). Some of the most common reasons for license suspension include:

  • Multiple traffic violations or excessive speeding tickets
  • Accumulation of too many driving record points over a select period of time
  • Being charged and/or convicted of a DUI/DWI
  • Failing to pay child support
  • Failing to appear in court or pay fees for various charges

Suspended licenses are actually a pretty big issue today. An estimated 7 million people—and likely more—have had their driver’s licenses suspended for unpaid traffic and court debts alone.

A suspended license creates friction for everyday tasks like getting to and from work, going to the supermarket, visiting friends, going to the gym, and attending medical appointments. It can affect an individual’s finances, social life, medical situation, and job prospects. It’s a major problem that no one can afford to take lightly.

Reinstating a Suspended License

The good news is that your license doesn’t have to be suspended indefinitely. Just as it was revoked by one of the aforementioned government bodies or departments, it can also be reinstated.

The specifics of each situation are unique, but here are some specific things you need to know about reinstatement:

1. Understand the Process of Reinstatement

Depending on the state, you’ll have to jump through different hoops to get your license reinstated. In all likelihood, you’ll have to do the following:

  • Time is one factor that can’t be overridden. You’ll have to refrain from driving for a certain period of time. The exact amount of time will depend on the crime you’ve committed or been accused of. For example, most states have what’s known as an “implied consent” law that requires a driver arrested for driving under the influence to give a blood, breath, or urine sample. Simply refusing to do so could result in an automatic suspension of three to twelve months. For an idea of how long you’ll have to wait, you’ll need to speak with an attorney in your state.
  • You’ll be required to enroll in a state-certified defensive driving course or traffic school program.
  • Obtain an SR22 insurance policy from your insurance company.
  • Pay a reinstatement fee to get your license back.

2. You May Qualify for a Hardship Permit

The first thing to consider is whether or not you qualify for a hardship permit, which may allow you to do things like drive to and from work, drive on the job, seek employment, take part in alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs, and/or get medical treatment.

Hardship permits don’t come without some strict stipulations, though. To qualify, you’ll likely have to install an ignition interlock device and hold an SR-22 insurance policy. Even with these rules, you’ll only be allowed to drive on a seriously limited basis.

3. Suspension vs. Revocation

While it may seem like a simple variance in vernacular, there’s actually a big difference between having your license suspended and revoked.

A suspended driver’s license means your license is temporarily out of service. Suspended licenses typically fall into one of two categories: definite and indefinite. A definite suspended license has a specific lift date where the suspension ends. An indefinite suspension means the license will remain suspended until a specific action is taken. For example, it won’t be reinstated until you catch up on child support payments.

A revoked license means your license has actually been canceled by the DMV and you are no longer legally allowed to drive in the state. Even if you’re given the opportunity to get your revoked license back, you’ll have to request approval from the DMV and perform a long list of arduous tasks that includes paying fines and completing certain classes and certifications.

“Common reasons for revocations include driving without insurance, being convicted of a serious traffic offense, failing a DMV road test, or making a false statement on a driver’s license or car registration application form,” car insurance expert Emily Delbridge writes. “It is also possible to have your driver’s license revoked or even permanently revoked due to multiple driving offenses, medical conditions, and age.”

Make Smart Choices

Very rarely is there someone else to blame for a suspended license. If you’re honest with yourself, the onus is squarely on your shoulders. Whether you’ve had a bunch of traffic violations and speeding tickets, failed to pay child support, or got charged with a DUI, the suspension is a result of your decisions. The good news is that once you embrace the idea that actions have consequences, you can begin instigating positive change in your life.