Reasons for License Suspension
Committing any sort of crime comes with a wide range of potential penalties. With traffic violations, you can usually expect tickets or fines, but in some cases your license may be suspended, preventing you from driving legally for a certain period of time as determined by a court of law. There are many different reasons for license suspension. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common reasons you may get your license suspended.
Driving Under the Influence
A DUI, alternately known as a DWI (driving while impaired) or OWI (operating a vehicle while intoxicated) in other states, involves driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. All states have their legal limit set at a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent, meaning that if you are found with a BAC of 0.08 or higher, you are liable to be arrested and convicted of a DUI.
Most first offense DUIs are charged as misdemeanors, though in extreme cases involved death, injury, or damage to property, your DUI may be charged as a felony. Along with a license suspension, you may have to serve some time in jail, pay fines and court fees, and install an ignition interlock system in your vehicle.
Along with the DUI, if you refuse to take a chemical test after being pulled over under suspicion of driving drunk, most states will suspend your license immediately under admin per se or implied consent laws. These are related to but separate from a DUI, meaning that even if you are found not guilty of a DUI, you will still have to serve the suspension and other penalties required by admin per se or implied consent laws.
Many states have a point system that gives you points based on your traffic offenses. As fun as that sounds, more points means more problems for you. If you reach a certain number of points within a set period of time, you may end up with a suspended license.
The license suspension period here depends on the amount of points you’ve accumulated. With too many points in a short period of time, the court may label you as a habitual traffic offender, which can result in even harsher penalties beyond just a license suspension.
Not Having Insurance
All drivers are required to have auto insurance as a means of protecting themselves and other vehicles in the event of an accident. If you are caught without insurance or without proof of insurance, you are liable to have your license suspended. Granted, some states will be slightly lenient here.
For example, if you are pulled over and do not have a proof of auto insurance, you may receive a ticket along with instructions to provide proof of insurance to a DMV, police station, or city hall within a certain time period. Once you do show proof, the judge or officer may drop your ticket entirely or simply ask you for a fine without requiring a license suspension.
Forgetting Important Dates
Say you are required by court to attend traffic school by a certain date, but you forget to write it into your calendar, or you needed to go to court but missed the date. You usually won’t get a redo in these situations, meaning that if you missed the date, you missed the date and will have to suffer the consequences. Those consequences usually involve a license suspension and fines.
What Happens When Your License is Suspended?
Mainly, your driving privileges are revoked for a certain period of time. Driving with a suspended license is a serious crime. While the penalties may be different from state to state, you can generally expect high fines and possible jail time. In some jurisdictions, you may be allowed to apply for a work or hardship license. These licenses come with heavy restrictions and limits, but they do allow you to drive to and from work or school.
In order to reinstate your suspended license, you may have to:
- Enroll in traffic school or a defensive driving course (those penalized for a DUI may have to enroll in a drug and alcohol education program)
- Submit an SR-22 form (a certificate of financial responsibility that essentially states that you are meeting any insurance requirements for a set period of time)
- Pay a license reinstatement fee
License suspensions can become a heavy burden on your life, but they can be easily avoided as long as you follow the laws of the road. Pay attention and try your best to make smart choices.