A department of motor vehicles may penalize offenders for vehicle-related and other crimes in three ways: they can cancel an application for or current license, revoke a license permanently, or suspend a license for a specific period of time. A suspended license means that the license holder is prohibited from operating any motor vehicle for a court- or DMV-specified period of time. This length of time depends on state law and the nature and severity of the offense.
There are a number of criminal convictions which can result in a suspended license penalty. Most jurisdictions require that an individual receive a suspended license for the following offenses: vehicular homicide; driving under the influence (DUI/DWI); a felony involving a motor vehicle; fraudulent use of, or application for, a license; hit and run; racing; implied consent law violation; failure to appear in court for traffic violation; and the accumulation of a certain amount of DMV points. DMV (department of motor vehicle) points are a way for the DMV to track instances of negligence, recklessness, aggressiveness, and other traffic violations. After the accumulation of a specific number of DMV points, a person may be penalized through a suspended license.
There are additional offenses that can result in a suspended license, when the offender is under 21 years of age or thereabouts (in some jurisdictions it's different). Attempting to elude an officer or flee from an officer is a serious offense that can result in a suspended license and more. A person under the legal drinking age may receive a license suspension for attempting to or actually purchasing alcohol, using a fake ID, or any other means to obtain alcohol. A suspended license may also be the penalty for reckless or aggressive driving committed by a minor.
In certain cases, a person with a suspended license may be able to petition the courts to allow for restricted driving privileges during the suspended license period. A restricted license may be granted for certain purposes of motor vehicle travel when there are no alternative methods of transportation. Restricted driving privileges may allow an offender to drive to and from work, school, a court-ordered DUI or driving school, or the doctor's office (in necessary circumstances). The court will often set forth the specific times, routes, and places for which driving is allowed under the suspended license provisions.
The length of time that a person will have a suspended license may vary depending on location and type of offense. In most cases, a suspended license for a first offense will prohibit the offender from vehicle privileges for six months. For certain and repeat offenses a suspended license may be in effect for twelve months or longer. If an individual is caught driving with a suspended license, they will face additional criminal and DMV penalties.
If you would like to learn more about suspended license laws or obtain legal advise or information about vehicle offenses, please contact us to speak with a qualified and experienced attorney.
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