What is a Suspended License?
A suspended license is an act of a local government where an individual motorist’s driving privileges are temporarily prohibited. When a driver’s license is suspended or revoked, the individual holder is not legally permitted to operate a motor vehicle. Typically, suspended licenses result in habitual violations; a driver’s license will be suspended if the holder/motorist routinely violate the laws of the road or refuses to satisfy the penalties attached to the infractions.
Reinstatement of a suspended license is never automatic. If your license has been suspended, you must follow your state’s DMV reinstatement procedures and physically receive a license to regain your driving rights. Moreover, it is important to note: no state in the U.S. may issue a driver license if there is an active revocation or suspension in another state.
Types of License Suspensions or Revocations:
It is important to note that individual states will implement laws regarding license suspensions. Some states, for example, may suspend your license if you fail to pay a single parking ticket. Other states; however, will only suspend your license for aggressive or egregious violations of the law, such as driving while intoxicated. Regardless of the laws surrounding your jurisdiction, if your license gets suspended, you are legally not permitted to operate a motor vehicle. The following list provides examples of license suspensions in the state of Nevada:
• Point Suspension: States that utilize a point system (points are placed on an individual’s driving record for convicted traffic violations) will suspend a license if the driver accumulates a certain number of points. In the state of Nevada, license suspension will be enacted when a driver accumulates 12 or more demerit points against their license in a 12-month period. These benchmarks will fluctuate based on state law. To view your state’s particular thresholds, visit your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles website and view the implemented point system.
• Driving Under the Influence (DUI): All states in the U.S. impose strict penalties for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you are convicted of a DUI your license may be suspended depending on your state’s laws. In the state of Nevada, if breath, urine or blood tests reveal a DUI your license will be suspended regardless of severity or a first-time offense.
• Collisions: States will suspend your license if you cause an accident or are habitually involved in car accidents. The amount and severity of the accident to trigger a suspended license will vary on state law. In Nevada, if you are found liable of causing a traffic accident with a pedestrian or bicycle rider, your license will be suspended. The state of Nevada places an emphasis on colliding with a bicyclist or pedestrian. Other states; however, will suspend your license solely for causing multiple accidents within a given timeframe.
• Failure to Appear in Traffic Court/Failure to Pay Fines Associated with Traffic Tickets: If you are pulled over for speeding or any other traffic violation, you will most likely be given a ticket. If you fight the charges and the court finds that your ticket was unfairly administered you will be relieved from having to satisfy the associated fine. However, if you plead guilty to the violation or the court does not rule in your favor, you will be required to pay the attached fine. Failing to pay the attached fine will lead to additional penalties, and in some jurisdictions, a suspension of your driver’s license. Some jurisdictions in the United States will administer a suspension or revocation for failing to pay speeding or parking tickets. The state of Nevada for instance, will suspend a driver’s license if an individual fails to appear before the court for a traffic violation.
• Security Deposits: Some jurisdictions in the U.S. will enforce a suspension of a license if an accident occurs with more than a certain amount of money in damage (property damage or personal injury) and the driver involved in the accident does not have liability insurance. In these instances, the driver’s license and his/her vehicle registration will be suspended. In the state of Nevada, a license suspension will be imposed if an accident occurs in excess of $750 in damage.
• Operating a Motor Vehicle Without Insurance: All operators of motor vehicles in the United States are required to possess an active insurance policy. If you are pulled over for a traffic violation or are involved in a collision and are unable to provide proof of insurance you will be susceptible to having your license suspended. Moreover, if you have repeated lapses in vehicle insurance coverage your license will be suspended. These laws are somewhat universal throughout the nation.
• Child Support Payments: If you are in arrears in court-ordered support payments your license may be suspended. These suspensions are initiated by local courts and will therefore vary based on circumstance.
• Street Racing: The state of Nevada will suspend your license if you are caught participating in a street race. Moreover, if you are found to be organizing these contests on public highways your license will be suspended. Other municipalities around the nation will suspend licenses for egregious violations in the speed limit.
• Drug and Alcohol Use: Typically these laws surround young drivers; juveniles found guilty of drinking, buying or possessing alcohol will be susceptible to a license suspension. Moreover, using, possessing, selling or distributing controlled substances may also lead to a license suspension.
Other states will suspend a driver’s license for the following infractions/criminal violations: Lying on any state application, failing to install a court-ordered ignition interlock system, abandoning a vehicle, committing a hit-and-run and/or loaning your driver’s license.
How do I Reinstate My License?
If your license has been suspended you must immediately comply with your municipality’s laws regarding reinstatement. Again, because these laws are administered on a local level, the procedure required for reinstatement will vary based on jurisdiction.
In all jurisdictions in the United States, your driving privileges will remain revoked or suspended indefinitely until you comply with all the reinstatement requirements enforced by the community in which your license was initially suspended. In most areas, there is no statute of limitations regarding revocations or suspensions.
In most areas, if your license is suspended because you failed to appear before a court, you must first resolve all of the penalties or criminal charges attained before your license may reinstated. After you have fulfilled the initial penalties, you must then follow your state’s DMV’s reinstatement procedures and requirements.
In general there are two types of reinstatements: immediate and delayed. An immediate reinstatement will be offered to individuals who had their licenses suspended because of a failure to pay parking or traffic tickets. In these instances, the driver is required to first satisfy the penalties associated with the tickets, before reinstating their license. The delayed reinstatement refers to instances where the driver’s license is suspended because of criminal violations or egregious infractions of traffic law. In these instances, you will not be able to simply satisfy fees to reinstate your license. Instead, you will be required to wait a certain period of time before applying for reinstatement. During this waiting period your license will remain suspended.
When your license is suspended you will be mailed a letter from your local DMV informing you of the suspension. This letter will serve as the formal notification regarding your suspension. Your Department of Motor Vehicle Association will not notify drivers when a suspension or revocation period has ended. The notice of suspension will inform you when the suspension first takes place and how long it is active for. Drivers with multiple suspensions are required to wait for all periods to end before applying for reinstatement. Remember, each state and each case is different. Depending on your infraction, a license suspension can last from 30 days to a decade. This variance attaches different reinstatement procedures as well. Consulting with a legal professional, especially if you are facing a lengthy reinstatement process, is highly advised.
Your notification letter will provide detailed instructions concerning reinstatement. In most instances, you will be required to pay multiple fines (including a reinstatement fine) following the end of your suspension period.
As stated earlier, reinstatement will vary with regards to the offense committed. For information regarding your state or municipality’s rules concerning reinstatement, please visit your Department of Motor Vehicle’s website or contact the closest office in your county.
After you re-activate your license, you must expect higher insurance rates. Because of these increased rates, it is advisable to compare several quotes.
License Suspension in All States:
The majority of states in the U.S. participate in the National Driver Register—a national database that collects and shares information on motorists with suspended licenses. This system is set in place to prevent drivers from applying for new licenses in other states when their current license is suspended in another state.
The Driver License Compact, which is another national database, also gathers and regurgitates license information. Unlike the National Driver Register; however, the DLC monitors all out-of-state violations. So, if your driver’s license is suspended while driving in another state, the NDR will notify the MVC and subject you to either your home state’s laws or the state which you are currently driving in.