Lifetime Suspension of Driver's License

Authored by , LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

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As many high school students are told in their drivers’ education classes, driving is a privilege, not a right.  This cliché remains legally true.  As such, driving privileges can be suspended for life if the driver commits an irresponsible act that rises to a heinous, aggravated level, or if the driver is a repeat offender. 

For repeat driving under the influence (D.U.I) offenders, a lifetime suspension of driver’s license may result from a 3rd or 4th D.U.I. conviction, depending on state.  However, a driver may apply for a “hardship” permit in order to get to and from work, etc.  For this purpose, the driver must purchase and install an ignition interlock device (IID), which is a computerized breath analyzer needed to start the car. 

There are other irresponsible, dangerous, and reckless acts that also may result in a lifetime suspension of a driver’s license.  For example, reckless games of “chicken” resulting in death and bodily injury implicate other crimes such as aggravated vehicular homicide, involuntary manslaughter, reckless operation, and vehicular assault.  The aggregation of these crimes can result in a permanent suspension of drivers’ license. 

Alternatively, combining the above crimes with other offenses may result in a lifetime suspension of driver’s license.  Other offenses include drunk driving, driving under the influence of drugs, driving while discharging a firearm, driving under current suspension or revocation, evading a police officer, or reckless driving with a prior criminal record. 

The court will take all circumstances into account, while referring to the state’s sentencing guidelines, in determining whether a lifetime suspension of driver’s license is proper.  Because driving is needed to participate in the economic and social life of the United States, however, drivers’ licenses are not often suspended for life absent extreme circumstances – 10 years seems to be more usual. 

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Last Modified: 10-06-2010 03:08 PM PDT

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