The suspension or revocation of a driver’s license is a separate action from the court case, and so is the reinstatement of a driver’s license. Each state has its own laws and its own Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The procedures for reinstating driving privileges depend on the reason why the license was suspended or revoked, and whether the individual has completed the requirements to qualify for a reinstated license.

There are several reasons why a driver’s license may be suspended or revoked. Any of the following can result in a revoked/suspended license:

  • Unpaid tickets;
  • DUI charge/conviction;
  • Reckless driving;
  • Fleeing from the scene of an accident;
  • Fake license plates; and/or
  • Not responding to court summons.

Each reason for revoking/suspending a license will have a different process to reinstate. For example, any unpaid tickets will need to be paid and a DUI charge/conviction means the driver will need to follow any court orders like probation or addiction treatment. In order to reinstate, it is typical that a specified span of time must have passed, fines must be payed or a payment schedule arranged, classes must have begun if the offense was a driving under the influence (DUI) charge, and other requirements such as the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) are possible.

What Limitations Exist on a State Automotive Agency’s Discretion Over License Reinstatement?

The state automotive agency does have a high degree of discretion over license reinstatement, but it is also subject to judicial review in cases that there was something wrong with the basis of the revocation. For instance, if the defendant claims there was an improper arrest or a faulty chemical test, a petition for judicial review is conceivable.

Most state automotive agencies are required to provide evidence or logical reasoning when denying a reinstatement. An individual may choose to bring their denial to court, but cases where the agency’s reasoning is not extremely arbitrary are less likely to be heard.

Does a Ruling on Criminal Charges Relating to a Suspension/Revocation of a Driver’s License Have Any Bearing on Reinstatement?

The state’s automotive agency is separate from the court. Regardless of whether a person was found innocent or guilty in court, the agency can deny a reinstatement of a driver’s license if it is based on legitimate grounds.

For instance, if an individual was arrested for driving under the influence in California, and then found innocent of the charge, the DMV may still revoke the person’s driver’s license. However, the individual may appeal the decision in court if they believe there is no legitimate reason for the license revocation.

How Can a Lawyer Help Me?

Each state and its automotive agency have different laws and requirements for the reinstatement of a suspended or revoked driver’s license. A local criminal lawyer will be able to review your case, advise you of your best course of action, and help you get your license reinstated as quickly as possible.