It’s important to remember that a driver’s license is a privilege, not a right. While traffic laws vary from state-to-state, there are certain activities that typically lead to the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license.
The following driving-related offenses may result in a suspended or revoked driver’s license:
- Excessive traffic points (discussed in more detail below),
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI),
- Refusing a blood-alcohol test or “breathalyzer,”
- Reckless driving (including speeding and careless driving),
- Drag racing,
- Leaving the scene of an accident,
- Road rage,
- Driving without motor vehicle insurance,
- Failure to answer a traffic summons or appear in court, and
- Failure to pay a traffic fine or fee.
Additionally, your driver’s license can be suspended or revoked for non-driving violations, including:
- Some drug offenses,
- Non-payment of child support, and
- Juvenile delinquency and truancy.
If you have specific questions about your state’s driver’s license suspension criteria, contact a lawyer.
What Is the Suspended License Point System?
All fifty states have a traffic points system. Under these systems, traffic violations are assigned a number of points. (More serious offenses are given a higher number of points.) While point values vary from state-to-state, there are some common elements to traffic point systems.
When you are ticketed, points are noted on your state driving record. If your points exceed the state’s permitted threshold, your license will be suspended or revoked. Generally speaking:
- Relatively minor offenses (such as driving ten miles over the speed limit) are worth one to two points;
- More reckless driving offenses (such as running a traffic light or stop sign) are typically awarded three points; and
- Very severe offenses (such as DUI or a hit and run) may result in six or more points.
Again, each state’s traffic points system is different. If you need information about your state’s point values, contact a traffic lawyer or your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.
While it is always best to follow your state’s traffic rules, mistakes happen. If you are ticketed, you have legal rights. Many states offer drivers’ education programs for minor, first-time violations. If you successfully complete a drivers’ education program, you may avoid points and increased insurance premiums. And, you can always dispute the ticket if you disagree with the ticketing officer.
Consequences for Driving on a Suspended or Revoked Driver's License
If you are caught driving on a suspended or revoked license, you probably will be arrested. The penalties typically involve jail time and large fines. And, driving on a suspended license may result in the complete revocation of your driving privileges.
How Can I Prevent My License from Being Suspended?
Here are ways that you can prevent from getting your license suspended:
- Drive safely and follow your community’s traffic laws;
- Be aware of the number of points you have—and avoid further violations;
- Complete a driver’s education program; and
- If you get a ticket, try to fight it in court.
If you receive a notice of suspension or revocation, you may also have appeal rights. You should take a driver’s license appeal serious, since it may be difficult to reinstate your license once it is revoked.
Seeking Legal Help
For many people, a driver’s license is a necessity. If you are facing the suspension or revocation of your license, contact a criminal defense lawyer or traffic lawyer immediately. An experienced lawyer can help you present the best possible defenses, which may allow you to avoid traffic tickets, penalties, and the loss of your license.