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Driver's License Revocation Due to Unrelated Crimes | LegalMatch Law Library

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What is Driver’s License Revocation?

A revoked driver’s license means that the driver’s license is cancelled. It is not to be confused with a suspended license, which is only temporarily out of service.

When Might My Driver’s License Be Revoked?

Different states have different laws regarding what behavior can warrant license revocation. In general, conduct that can cause a driver to have his or her license revoked is similar to offenses that can result in a suspended license, except they’re more serious (and often repeat violations after an initial suspension).

The following driving violations can result in license revocation after multiple convictions:

Are There Any Non-Driving Offenses That Can Get Your License Revoked?

Yes, there are a number of ways a person can have his or her license revoked because of an unrelated crime. Depending on the state, below is an incomplete list of possible ways a person’s license can be revoked:

  • Failure to comply with a child support order;
  • Conviction for a non-DUI drug-related offense;
  • Failure to respond to a court summons;
  • Non-DUI alcohol or drug offenses by minors (such as conviction of marijuana possession); and/or
  • Use of altered or fictitious license plates.

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Is Revocation of My License a Violation of Due Process?

Not necessarily. Most states allow laws that revoke or suspend licenses due to unrelated criminal convictions, so long as the law serves a legitimate government purpose. While some states limit the term "legitimate" to auto usage and public driving, others interpret the word much more broadly. 

For example, Florida law allows revocation of a license due to cocaine possession, meant primarily to deter illegal drug use.

Do License Revocation Laws Targeting Minors Receive Special Treatment?

Yes, since most courts consider restricting the illegal activity of minors a legitimate interest.  As a result, many license revocation laws that may otherwise be deemed unconstitutional for adults can be considered valid if applied to minors. 

Consider laws that suspend licensing based on one’s possession of alcohol. Though such a law seems completely arbitrary when applied to adults, it is definitely possible for minors who are below drinking age.

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Can I Get a New License After Its Been Revoked?

Yes, in certain circumstances depending on if your state allows you to restore your license (such as New York). In order to get a license again after your driver’s license has been revoked, or to have it restored, you must first request and receive approval from your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), pay driver civil penalties, and go through your state licensing process.

This may require you to take your written and driving test. A new license is issued after you pass your driving test.

Should I Seek Legal Help?

If your driver's license has been either revoked due to a criminal conviction unrelated to auto usage, you should contact a criminal defense attorney to help assert your rights. A lawyer can inform you of local state and city laws concerning license revocation, as well as recent attempts to overthrow such laws. They can also file necessary paperwork on your behalf and represent you in court.

Photo of page author Erin Chan Adams

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 05-24-2018 07:26 PM PDT

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