Suspension of your driver’s license is a big deal, and for the 86% of Americans who drive to work, it could mean a loss of income. It is against the law to drive with a suspended license. Those who break these rules may have to deal with some serious consequences.
You just found out that your license is no longer valid. It can be a terrible blow to your life, and many people go through it. You might wonder, “How long will my license be taken away?” and “What should I do?” If your license is suspended, you can’t drive a car or any other vehicle. If you use your car to get to work every day, you should start calling your lawyer. Some car owners might choose to go against the rules. If you took such chances and were stopped, the consequences would be very bad.
What do You Mean by a Suspended License?
When authorities suspend your license, you cannot drive your car or any other vehicle. Suspension of your license can be a terrible situation. But you can get it back with good legal help. The duration of getting your license back may depend on the reason for its suspension or revocation. Your chances of getting your License back could also be affected by the state where you live.
What if You Get Pulled Over, and your License is Suspended?
Driving-related charges can lead to confiscating your license when an officer arrests you for a traffic violation and seizes your License, which immediately suspends your license. This kind of thing is called a “seizure.” After a few months, you will probably get your license back.
If your License is taken away for any other reason, you can get it back once the problem has been fixed. You won’t be able to drive for a while during the ban. It could be hours, days, weeks, or even months. You will probably have to go to court to get your License back.
Is Your License Suspended for DUI?
If you are caught driving drunk and your blood alcohol content (BAC) is.08 or higher, you will probably be charged with or given a ticket for DUI. Some states will only charge you for driving if you exceed the legal limit.
If you are found guilty of DUI, your License will likely be taken away for at least a year. If you are charged, and your License is not returned within 30 days, you can file a motion to have it taken away forever. In this case, the court will decide what will happen to your rights.
This move is called an “absolute” or “permanent” revocation, and a judge can only rule on it if there is no chance of getting your License back before the case ends. If your License is set to be taken away instantly in 10 days, you can file a motion to stop it. A “summary” cancellation is what this is called. A judge can decide on a summary revocation move even if you were not found guilty of a crime.
How Long Is a License Suspension if You’re Pulled Over?
Some states require road tests before reinstating licenses. Others let the DMV reinstate your License 15 days after taking the written test or paying a fee.
Driving with a suspended license has serious repercussions. Your state and the circumstances of your license suspension may affect its consequences. Attend hearings, collect evidence, and negotiate with prosecutors to reinstate your License. You need good lawyers to help you.
How Long Is a License Suspension if You’re Pulled Over?
In some places, drivers must pass a road test before getting their License back. Some states let you get your License back after 15 days if you take a written test or pay a fee.
You shouldn’t risk driving with a license taken away because the results could be bad. The effects of having your License taken away may also depend on your state and how you lost your License. You must go to hearings, gather proof, or talk to the prosecutors to regain your License. You can’t do this on your own, so make sure you hire good lawyers to defend you.
What do You Need to Know about Hardship License or Restricted License?
In your state, a hardship license may be called something else. It could be called a restricted license, a professional license, or a limited license. A temporary license lets you drive to school or work even if your regular License has been removed.
For most limited licenses, you need to fill out an application. Some states don’t have clear rules about hardship licenses, so you can only get limited driving rights if a judge says so.
If you got a DUI and had your License taken away, you may have to get an ignition interlock device put on your car. This device requires you to pass a breathing test before the car starts.
With many hardships or limited licenses, you won’t be able to drive to certain places or times. For example, you might only be allowed to drive yourself or your children to school or a doctor’s appointment, but not at any other time.
Who can get a Hardship License and Why?
Most states offer hardship licenses or their form to drivers whose licenses have been taken away. Most of the time, drivers who have broken the rules of a hardship license in the past won’t be able to get it again. Depending on the state, repeat criminals may be unable to get limited driving rights.
There are no rules about restricted, limited, or hardship licenses for any of the following:
- Washington DC
- New York
But in some states, like Kansas, municipal and district authorities can give limited driving rights instead of the state DMV if a court says they are needed.
No rule in Rhode Island lets people drive with limited rights while their License is suspended. But if you need your car to get to work, you can show in court that taking away your License is an unfair punishment.
Suppose you’ve had a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) suspended. In that case, it’s unlikely that your state will let you work as a driver with limited driving rights.
Obtaining a Hardship License
The operation of hardship licenses and similarly restricted licenses varies considerably between states. The application will require a hearing in most states, but a few exceptions exist. You must also demonstrate that you must drive to work; if public transportation is an option, you may be denied restricted driving privileges.
In addition to submitting a paper application and attending a public court proceeding, you will likely be required to pay an extra fee. You may also be required to submit to testing for drugs and alcohol. This is necessary to ensure your limited driving privileges do not endanger the public.
Suspended License vs. Revoked License
Even though license suspensions and revocations are both bad, they are different in how bad they are.
A suspended license generally lasts for a certain amount of time. It has certain rules you must follow before getting it back. For example, in California, if a driver gets into a crash without proof of insurance, their License can be taken away for four years. A driver can get their License back after a year if they can prove they have insurance. Then they have to show proof of insurance for the next three years.
Some license penalties need to say how long they will last. When this happens, the courts may set a minimum time before even considering reinstating the person. This could be a year or more.
Either way, you may have to pay a fee to get your License back or get a new one.
If your License is suspended, on the other hand, you would have to reapply for it from scratch, just like when you first applied for a license. When a driver is no longer fit to drive, their license can be taken away. Some reasons why a license could be taken away are:
- Misuse of drugs
- Your health issues
- Fraud related cases
- Breaking the law
Reasons why Licenses are often Suspended
Even though each state is different, here are some of the reasons why a license can be suspended:
- Fines or license fees that are not paid
- Failure to pay child support
- If you lose too many points on your License
- Things like driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs are crimes.
- Driving without insurance or getting into a crash without insurance is illegal.
- When filling out forms at the DMV, giving fake or missing information is a form of fraud.
How long can a License Suspension last?
Suspensions come in two main forms:
- Set time: This suspension gives the driver time to make things right; if they do, they can request their License back.
- Indefinite suspension: This type of suspension has no end date and lasts as long as the driver doesn’t make up for what they did wrong. But some exceptions rely on what kind of rule was broken.
Consequences of Driving with a Suspended License
Even though the penalties vary from state to state, driving with a suspended or canceled license is always a misdemeanor that could lead to jail time or a big fine.
For example, in the District of Columbia, you could get a fine of up to $5,000 and a year in jail. In New York, this kind of crime is called an Aggravated Unlicensed Operation (AUO), and it can get you up to 30 days in jail or a fine of $200 to $500, or both. When a driver is caught driving with a suspended license more than once, they may face harsh punishments. In Michigan, this can lead to the plates being taken away. The car is immobilized, an ignition blocker, or, worst case, the registration is denied.
With many convictions, driving with a suspended or revoked license becomes a felony.
How to Rectify Your License Suspension Problem?
If your License is stopped, you can only drive once the time is up and all the court’s rules have been met. In some situations, you may have to go to a traffic school to get your License back from the court.
Can You Obtain Auto Insurance if Your License is Suspended?
It is possible to purchase auto insurance with a suspended license. Your insurance premiums will likely increase, but failure to maintain coverage could result in denying your driving privileges and even higher premiums.
A license suspension will increase your auto insurance premiums by 10 to 50 percent. However, severe violations (such as reckless driving or DUI/DWI suspensions) can result in an 80% or greater increase in auto insurance!
If you face significantly higher rates, comparing new auto insurance quotes from various providers may be beneficial. Comparing quotations can help you locate the most affordable premium for a new insurance policy.
Suspended License? You STILL require Car Insurance!
Your License must be valid before you can legally drive a car again. But it would be best if you still had car insurance during this time for a few reasons:
Keep your service from lapsing: If you keep up with your insurance payments while your License is suspended, your insurance will lapse. When you get back on the road, this will make it hard to find cheap car insurance rates.
Get driving rights with restrictions: You might be given a limited license (also called a “hardship license”) that lets you do things like drive to and from work or school while your License is suspended. But you’ll need a valid car insurance contract to drive with these restrictions.
What to do: Keep an insurance policy that meets your state’s standards while you work on getting your License back. Most states charge a fee to get your License back on top of fines or other requirements.
Buying Auto Insurance while having a Suspended License
You can still buy car insurance even if your License has expired. In some situations, getting your License back may require you to show proof that you have insurance.
If your state requires proof of insurance, you may need to ask your insurance company to send an SR-22 license to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in your area. If you live in Florida or Virginia, you might need an FR-44 form instead, which has stricter standards.
No matter your license status, if you own a registered car, you must ensure it has enough liability insurance to meet your state’s standards. But to ensure you’re fully protected, buying full-coverage insurance that includes both collision and comprehensive coverage is usually worth it.
Importance of an SR-22
Many states require drivers with major traffic violations or license suspensions in the past to file an SR-22 form to get their License back and keep it.
What to do: Ask your insurance company to send an SR-22 form to your local DMV on your behalf. This will show that you meet your state’s minimum standards for liability coverage. For SR-22 insurance, your insurance company may charge you a small fee.
Worst case: Some insurance companies may not give you an SR-22 because they think you are too risky to cover. If this is the case, you must move insurance companies before you can get your License back.
How to know if Your Driver’s License is Suspended?
Depending on the situation, you might need to know if your driver’s License has been taken. If you think it might have been, here’s what you can do to find out.
Check Your Mail
Most of the time, the state DMV or transportation department will send you a letter telling you that your License has been taken. So make sure you open any mail sent to you and that the DMV knows where you live now.
Check with DMV
In some places, you can check the status of your License using an online database. Enter your driver’s license number, Social Security number, or other information to check your license status and insurance. Call your local DMV to check on your license.
Get in Touch with your Insurance Company
Ask your insurance provider or agent if your contract has expired. Check if they have been told that your license has been suspended for some other reason.
How to get your License Reinstated post Suspension?
If your license has been taken away, you can still get it back. Depending on where you live and why your license was taken away, you may have to do one or more of the following:
Take an Approved Class
If your license were taken away because of a DUI, driving recklessly, or getting too many points, you would probably need to take a class to get it back. Among them are:
DUI programs: Most approved DUI programs are run by non-profit groups that teach DUI offenders about drugs and booze. Whether it’s your first offense or you’ve done it before, the length of the course varies on how many times you’ve done it. However, most of them take several hours. You will also have to pay a fee to take the course and pass it.
Defensive driving programs: Your state may require you to take a driver improvement class or a defensive driving school. During these classes, you’ll review the basics of driving and staying safe. A teacher may also test your driving ability. Depending on where you live, you can take online classes.
Pay Your Fees Without Fail
You usually have to pay a fee when you try to get your license back. In South Dakota, for example, the fee to get your license back can be anywhere from $50 to $200. Michigan charges $25 to $125.
The cost usually depends on why your license was taken away and if it was your first time getting in trouble. The price can be anywhere from $5 (in Wyoming) to $1,200 (in Massachusetts) across the United States.
SR-22 or FR-44
Suppose your license was suspended in the past. In that case, your state may require an SR-22 form, also called proof of financial responsibility, before you can legally drive again. The form is called FR-44 in Florida and Virginia.
The SR-22 shows you have enough car insurance to meet the state’s standards. In addition to your proof of insurance, you need to take this with you.
Only some insurance companies give out SR-22 or FR-44 forms. If your car insurance company doesn’t give them out, you must buy one from a different company.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to get driving with a suspended license dismissed?
Most of the time, you can get your ticket dismissed if you:
- You had no idea that your License was suspended. Even though ignorance isn’t usually a good excuse in court, a judge must tell you immediately that your License has been taken away. If they don’t, you have a good reason to drive, and the charge against you might be dropped.
- You can also dismiss your suspended License if there are special circumstances. You or someone else might need to drive to the hospital, pick up a sick child from school, or deal with another situation.
- You paid your ticket or fine on time, but the DMV or court made a mistake or took too long to process it.
- The DMV or court made a mistake and took away your License.
If you are in any of these situations, you must immediately hire a traffic lawyer. A lawyer can usually get these charges dropped or work out a deal that lets you keep your License.
Your car insurance rates will likely increase if the court upholds the charge or you plead guilty to a lesser charge.
Can you drive in the US with a suspended license?
No, you cannot drive in the US with a suspended license. You can only drive to work with a special limited license, like a hardship license.
A driver’s license that has been suspended is not considered valid, so it is not enough to drive a car legally. A license suspension is like a time-out for drivers found guilty of certain offenses, some of which are driving-related and others not.
What happens if you drive around with a suspended license?
If you are driving with a suspended license, you are driving without a license. States have varying penalties for driving without a license. It is a crime in every state, and depending on the circumstances, common penalties include license revocation, fines, and even prison time.
What is the penalty for driving with a suspended license?
Depending on your state, you might not get in trouble if you forget your driver’s License somewhere. However, driving without a legal license could get a fine, be arrested, have your car taken away, or face criminal charges.
What happens to a first offense for driving with a suspended license?
The minimum punishment is 60 days in the House of Corrections and a $1,000 fine. Your License will be taken away for another year by the court.
Can you get arrested for driving with a suspended license?
You could be jailed, which could lead to bad things. If you are found guilty, you might have a crime on your record for the rest of your life.
What to do if you are unknowingly driving with a suspended license?
Suppose a driver is pulled over and doesn’t know their license has been taken away. In that case, the officer should give the driver a civil traffic ticket.
How long does a driver’s license suspension affect insurance?
If your state needs you to give your insurance company an SR-22 form, you may have to pay more for 1 to 3 years. Your insurance rates will decrease faster if you keep your driving record clean and pay your insurance premiums on time.
Do I need insurance if my driver’s license is suspended?
You must keep car insurance on any vehicle you own, even if you can’t drive because your license is suspended. If your rates have increased because your license was removed, it might be time to look for a new rate.
Do car insurance companies check your driver’s license?
Insurance companies often look at your driver’s license to see how safe you are. If you have had accidents or tickets where you were at fault or your license has been taken away, an insurance company may think you are a high-risk driver and charge you a higher rate.
Talk to your insurance agent about how your driving record affects your rates.
Harness the real power of real-time monitoring with the Way.com Super App. This app helps you find a parking spot, and get quotes for auto insurance and refinancing. You can also find the cheapest car wash and EV chargers near you, and get cash back on gas. Way.com will take care of everything you need for your car!
No one knows your car like Way Does!
 – Fines and Fees Justice Center. “Free to Drive: End Driver’s License Suspensions for Unpaid Fines and Fees,” n.d. https://finesandfeesjusticecenter.org/campaigns/national-drivers-license-suspension-campaign-free-to-drive/.