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6 Things to Know About a Suspended License



There are a lot of reasons that someone can lose their license. One example is a DUI. There are a lot of other consequences that come along with some of the more common reasons for losing your license as well. For example, drunk driving accidents cause serious injuries and claim lives.

However, within the context of losing your license, they’re one reason you could face this situation.

Below is a guide on generally what to know about a suspended license and what this situation can look like.

What is a Suspended License?

If you commit certain legal or traffic offenses, the DMV may revoke your license or suspend it. This means that your license isn’t valid, and you can’t legally operate a vehicle.

The difference between a revoked and a suspended license is that one is permanent. The other is temporary. A suspended license can be reinstated with the help of Unlock Legal following a period of time or if you take the required action. If you have a revoked license, it is no longer valid, but you might be able to get a new one.

Every state has its own regulations and laws for licensing.

In some states, there are limited license suspensions, so you might have driving privileges for certain situations, like driving to work or during an emergency medical situation.

Reasons for a Suspension

Some of the more common reasons for people to get their license suspended include:

  • Driving without insurance: Nearly every state requires that drivers have a minimum of liability insurance, and some states require more than that to drive legally. If you’re pulled over and you don’t carry the minimum required amount of insurance, you could get your license suspended.
  • Driving under the influence: If you drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, then you may have your license suspended.
  • Reckless driving: Legally, reckless driving is when someone is blatantly disregarding safety and consequences when operating a vehicle on the roadways. That doesn’t mean that you were in an accident or that you caused property damage, but that your driving is considered dangerous. Excessive speeding or passing a vehicle with oncoming traffic is reckless driving examples that could lead to a license suspension.
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Not all reasons for a suspended license are related to driving. There are also suspensions that are related to financial issues, including:

  • Missing child support payments
  • Not paying a traffic ticket
  • Not paying your financial obligations if you were involved in an accident
  • You’re involved in a civil suit from an accident

Other reasons that your license could be suspended are:

  • Illegally using a license, such as using the license of a family member to purchase alcohol
  • Having excessive points on your license
  • Fleeing a police office
  • Failure to appear in court

Sometimes licenses are suspended for medical issues. If you have epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, or schizophrenia, for example, you might have your license suspended.

Definite and Indefinite Suspensions

A license suspension, depending on the state and the situation, may be issued definitely or indefinitely.

If you have your license suspended for a set period of time, you’ll have to wait until your suspension period ends and then pay the fines that you owe. At that point, you can apply for reinstatement of your license.

If you have your license suspended for an indefinite period of time, there’s an action the DMV will require you to take before it’s lifted. You might have to pay a fine or back child support, for example.

  • Again, if your license is revoked, it’s taken away forever. If someone has their license revoked, they may be able to get a new one if they request a hearing with their state’s DMV, pay overdue penalties and fines, and reapply for an entirely new license.
  1. Consequences

If someone drives with a license that’s suspended or revoked, it can lead to felony charges. An insurance company can also cancel someone’s car insurance policy. That then means they have an insurance status called the excluded driver. When you’re considered an excluded driver, it’s difficult and often impossible to get insurance in the future.

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How Do You Know If Your License Is Suspended?

Some people don’t know their license is suspended. You should receive a notice in the mail alerting you, so if you get anything from the DMV, make sure you open it.

You may be able to check the status of your license through a state database, depending on where you live.

If there’s a database in your state, you might enter your Social Security number, driver’s license number, or some other type of identifying information. You can also contact the DMV by phone.

Another way to learn about the status of your license is by contacting your insurance company. They’ll let you know if your policy is expired or if they’ve gotten word that your license has been suspended.

Getting Your License Reinstated

If your license is suspended, the steps you would take to get it reinstated depend on the reason for the suspension. Examples of what you might need to do to get it reinstated include:

  • Taking a class. You might have to take a DUI class, which is approved by the DMV. These classes offer education to DUI offenders. You might also be required by your state to complete a driver improvement or defensive driving class.
  • Paying fees. You usually have to pay fees when applying to have your license reinstated. The cost of these fees often depends on what led to the suspension and also if it was your first offense.
  • Get SR-22/FR-44 insurance. If your license was suspended, you might have to get an SR-22 form. This is also known as a certificate of financial responsibility. In Florida and Virginia, the form is FR-44.

If your license is suspended, in many cases, it’s because you were driving in a way that’s dangerous, whether that’s reckless driving, a DUI, or something else. The more often you get a ticket while you’re driving, the more the consequences can mount, and it’s important to be a safe driver at all times.

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