If you accumulate too many points for speeding, driving without insurance, or driving under the influence, your state may suspend your license. Having a suspended license means you can’t legally drive your car, making it impossible to get to work or do daily errands and forcing you to find alternative transportation. Getting your driver’s license back as quickly as possible will depend on your condition and the reason for your suspension. Here is what you need to know.
Key points to remember
Your license can be suspended for driving without insurance, too many traffic violations, driving under the influence and even for reasons unrelated to driving.
In order for your license to be reinstated, you will need to pay fines and possibly take courses.
You may need a special insurance form to be eligible for a reinstated license.
Why a license can be suspended
Your license can be suspended for a number of reasons, including driving under the influence (DUI) and reckless driving. However, it is also possible that he will be suspended for other reasons. In all 50 states, states and courts can waive driving privileges for reasons unrelated to driving. Depending on the jurisdiction, these may include:
Do not pay child support
Failure to maintain adequate insurance
Failure to appear in court to satisfy a subpoena for a mobile offense
Convictions for non-driving drug offenses
Failure to pay motor vehicle fines
Across the country, at least 11 million people have their licenses suspended every year because they cannot pay fines or fees, not for security breaches.
License suspensions due to medical issues
In some cases, your license may be suspended if you are diagnosed with a medical condition such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, or certain eye diseases.
Your doctor, family members, or support agencies can report your condition to the State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV); if this happens, a medical board will usually review your medical information to determine if the report is valid. If the council finds that your condition poses a risk to public safety if you drive, it may suspend or revoke your license altogether.
If you are receiving treatment for your health problems and they are now well controlled, you can submit updated documentation to the Medical Advisory Board for review and reconsideration. In some cases, your license will be reinstated without penalty.
How to know if your license is suspended
Depending on the circumstances, you may not be aware that your license has been suspended. If you’re worried that this may have been the case, here’s how to find out.
1. Watch your mail
In most cases, the State Department of Motor Vehicles or the Department of Transportation will mail you a suspension notice. So make sure you open all mail in your name and that the DMV has your current address.
2. Check with the DMV
Some states have online databases that you can use to check the status of your license. By entering your driver’s license number, social security number, or other information, you can find out if your license is suspended and your insurance is up to date. You can also call your local DMV to inquire about the status of your driver’s license.
3. Contact your insurance company
Contact your insurance company or agent to find out if your insurance policy has expired or if they have been notified that your license has been suspended for any other reason.
What you need to do to reinstate your license
If your license has been suspended, it is possible to reinstate it. Depending on where you live and the reason for the suspension, you may need to perform one or more of the following steps:
1. Take an approved course
If your license has been suspended due to DUI, reckless driving, or point accumulation, you will likely need to take an approved course to be eligible for reinstatement. These include:
DUI programs. Approved DUI programs are typically run by nonprofit organizations that provide drug and alcohol education to DUI offenders. The length of the course depends on whether it is your first offense or multiple offenses, but most take several hours. In addition to successfully completing the course, you will need to pay a fee to take it. For example, Florida drivers taking a DUI program must pay a registration fee of $ 280 if this is their first offense.
Defensive driving programs. Your condition may require you to take a defensive driving course or a driver development course. During these courses, you will relearn the basics of driving and proper safety precautions, and an instructor can assess your driving skills. Depending on your state, you may be able to take some online courses.
2. Pay the fees
When you request that your license be reinstated, you will usually have to pay a fee. For example, the reinstatement fee in South Dakota ranges from $ 50 to $ 200. In Michigan, it can be as low as $ 25 or as high as $ 125. The cost is usually based on the cause of your license suspension and whether it was your first violation.
3. Obtain SR-22 / FR-44 insurance
If your license was previously suspended, your state may require you to obtain an SR-22 form, also known as a Financial Responsibility Certificate, before you can legally drive. In Florida and Virginia, the form is known as FR-44.
The SR-22 shows you meet the state’s automotive liability requirements. This is an additional document that you must take along with your proof of insurance.
Not all insurers offer SR-22 or FR-44 forms. If your current auto insurance company does not issue them, you will need to purchase one from another insurer.
Be patient while waiting for reinstatement
The penalties for driving with a suspended or revoked license can be severe. If the police stop you and you have a suspended license, you may have to pay hefty fines and you could even be sentenced to jail. So try to be patient while you wait for your license to be reinstated, and don’t get behind the wheel until you receive a notification from the DMV that your license is valid again.