How to Get a Suspended License Reinstated
Whether you know you’ve had your license suspended or are worried that might be the case, you may not understand the full implications of your situation. More than 7 million Americans have had their licenses suspended for unpaid parking tickets and other minor violations. Having your license suspended can significantly impede your ability to get around, and may make it difficult to accomplish basic tasks like getting to and from work, running errands, and picking up groceries.
If you’ve had your license suspended, the first step is to understand why it was suspended and what this means. There are a few steps you can take towards reinstating your license and getting back on the road.
Reasons Your License Might Get Suspended
Drivers licenses are typically issued by state and local governments, meaning that the exact rules for suspension and reinstatement can vary. In general, drivers can have their license suspended for a variety of reasons including:
- Failure to comply with child support;
- Failure to maintain insurance;
- Failure to appear in court;
- Unlawful use of a driver’s license;
- Alcohol or drug-related offenses;
- Failure to pay fines and fees.
Understanding Your Driver License Suspension
The length of your suspension is determined by the nature of the violation and the laws of the state you live in. Licenses can be suspended for a limited time as a result of reckless behavior, usually for a few months up to over a year. Licenses can also be suspended indefinitely until a driver fulfills the requirements necessary in order to get it reinstated. This can include paying fines, purchasing car insurance, or other actions.
In general, the goal of license suspensions is to prevent unsafe driving and persuade individuals not to commit future violations. In order to reinstate your license and get back on the road, you should make sure to take all steps necessary in order to fulfill your obligations in terms of fees, fines, and court appearances.
Review Your Notice
If you get your license suspended, it’s important to review your suspension notice. Information on your notice should include why your license was suspended, how long it will be suspended for, and what you’ll need to do in order to get your license back. Your license can be suspended for a variety of reasons, such as violating traffic laws or reckless driving that leads to accidents. If you no longer have your notice or never received it, you’ll need to access it. In order to do so, make sure your mailing address is current with your local DMV and department of public safety.
What If I Drive With a Suspended License?
Driving with a suspended license can have severe consequences. In the best-case scenario, you may rack up additional penalties and fees. In the worst-case scenario, you may be subject to harsher punishments such as jail time. If you’re on probation and drive with a suspended license, your probation may be revoked. Driving with a suspended license could also result in a criminal record, and may increase your license suspension time, making it more difficult to get back on the road for good.
What If I have Repeated Offenses?
Subsequent infractions can lead to longer suspension periods — potentially even a lifetime suspension. For example, if you’re caught multiple times driving with a suspended license, or continue to rack up fines and fees associated with your license, your license may be permanently revoked. If this happens, you may still be able to apply for a new license, but it will be a costly and time-intensive process.
Steps to Getting Your License Reinstated
If you’re faced with a suspended license, there are a few key steps to take in order to get it reinstated. In addition to the concrete steps recommended in your notice, there are also a few general steps to keep in mind. Even after you complete all of the necessary requirements, there may still be a waiting period of up to several weeks during the reinstatement process. If your suspended license is from a state other than the state in which you live, you may be required to visit a DMV in the state that issued your license.
Changes to Your Car Insurance
Adding an SR-22 filing on your car insurance can help to expedite the reinstatement process. Essentially, an SR-22 filing links your car insurance to the state and informs them of any changes to your coverage. There is typically a separate fee associated with an SR-22 filing, and it can lead to increased premiums or even limited options for insurance providers.
Take Defensive Driving Classes
Some states require defensive driving courses in order to get your driver’s license reinstated, particularly for certain violations. While not all states require this, it may be necessary if your license was suspended for a driving-related reason such as road rage or reckless driving. Taking a defensive driving class can also help to lower your car insurance rates, so it’s a good idea even if it’s not mandated by your state.
Pay the Reinstatement Fee
In order to get your license reinstated, you may have to pay a reinstatement fee. Fees may vary from state to state. They can also be higher or lower depending on your specific violation; for instance, a drug- or alcohol-related offense may come with higher fees. Some states allow online payment for reinstatement fees, but if online payment isn’t available you may have to make another trip to the DMV. If you’re unable to pay the fees outright, you may be able to get onto a repayment plan that allows you to gradually repay them over time.
Contact an Attorney
If you think your license has been suspended unfairly or you’re unable to pay the associated fines and fees, you may be able to contest tickets in court. In order to accomplish this, it’s a good idea to contact an attorney who can argue on your behalf. In some cases, you may be able to get fees significantly reduced by contesting them