Driving on a suspended license is a criminal offense. Depending on your state, the charge is either an infraction, misdemeanor, or felony.
Getting caught results in significant impacts on your driving record, high insurance costs, and can even land you in jail.
In this article, we will further discuss the range of consequences for driving on a suspended license as well as what leads to a suspension in the first place.
Why Does Your License Get Suspended?
The order revoking your license comes from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Once you receive this notice, you may no longer operate a motor vehicle.
A suspension is either for a fixed amount of time or indefinite, depending on the circumstances. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons behind a suspended license:
- Accumulation of points from too many speeding tickets or other traffic infringements
- Unpaid fines, often including parking tickets too
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- A medical condition affecting safety behind the wheel (such as epilepsy)
- Overdue child support payments
- Driving without insurance or having a car registered without proof of insurance
- Providing false information on a DMV application
What to Do if Your License Is Suspended?
First and foremost, don’t drive!
If there is a fixed term for the suspension, you have to pay a termination fee to reinstate your license. You must also fulfill any other stipulations in the DMV order. Requirements vary depending on the basis of the suspension, such as completing a substance abuse course or providing proof of insurance.
Indefinite suspensions are the result of unpaid fines, traffic violations, or even child support or taxes. In these cases, all outstanding balances must be paid in full before getting your license back.
Consequences of Driving on a Suspended License
There is always a price to pay if you are caught driving on a suspended license. Generally, the repercussions are less severe if it is your first offense or you didn’t realize your license had been suspended (for example, you did not receive the notice from the DMV).
For repeat offenders, you are looking at exorbitant fines and time in jail. Commercial drivers or those caught driving on a suspended license under the influence of drugs or alcohol face higher consequences as well. Getting in an accident with a suspended license also spells big trouble.
If you get caught driving on a suspended license, consider hiring a good criminal defense attorney. This is especially important if you live in a state with mandatory minimum sentencing rules.
Driving on a Suspended License Is Not Worth the Risk
While it is tempting to hop behind the wheel, driving on a suspended license is never a good idea and can even result in jail time. Suspended license reinstatement is time-consuming and expensive. Getting caught driving will only add to your woes.
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