DRIVING WITH A SUSPENDED LICENSE
There are several different ways that a person might have their license suspended. The most common are convictions of driving under the influence (or over the legal limit of alcohol concentration), failing to pay traffic fines, failing to stop for incoming emergency lights, hit and runs, street racing, more than one reckless driving offense, and failing to pay child support.
If you are caught driving with a suspended license, the courts will charge you criminally. Cases that do not involve DUI or DUAC suspensions have different punishments than cases that do involve alcohol or drugs.
PENALTY FOR DRIVING WITH SUSPENDED LICENSE
The penalty for driving with a suspended license that received the suspension for reasons other than DUI or DUAC are:
- First offense: A fine or up to 30 days in jail.
- Second offense: A fine and as many as 60 days in jail.
- Third offense: A fine and up to 90 days of imprisonment, or between 90-180 days of home suspension.
Driving with a suspended license that has been suspended for driving over the legal limit or driving under the influence carries more severe punishments:
- First offense: A fine or between 10-30 days in jail.
- Second offense: A fine and imprisonment between 60-180 days.
- Third offense: A fine and at least six months of jail time. The upper bound of that jail time is three years.
A court conviction for driving with a suspended license will also increase the time on the suspension. A driver that has a license that received a suspension for six months that is caught driving during that period will typically receive another six months suspension in addition to the original suspension.
DO NOT DRIVE FOLLOWING A SUSPENDED LICENSE
You should not drive once your suspension is over. Many people make the mistake of believing that everything goes back to normal once their suspension is over and they end up getting into more legal trouble.
Once the suspension is over, the driver must go to the DMV and get their license reinstated. Getting your license reinstated can be as easy as paying a small penalty or be challenging and intensive. You can check the requirements for your license reinstatement by calling the DMV or online at their website.
A driver can also have their license revoked altogether. A revoked license is often much harder to reobtain than a suspended one. It may require a court case to be issued another license. Contact an experienced criminal law attorney to learn if, when, and how you can get your license back.
HABITUAL TRAFFIC OFFENDERS
Some states have laws that target habitual offenders. Habitual offenders are people who continue to break the law despite receiving previous warnings and consequences. For a habitual traffic offender, this means ten minor offenses or three major offenses in three years. The calculation begins from the date on the original ticket, not the time of conviction.
Minor offenses are small crimes like going slightly over the speed limit. Major crimes are offenses such as DUI and DUAC, vehicular manslaughter, and leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in a person’s injury or death.
Habitual offenders can have their license suspended for up to five years, but may petition to get it back after just two. An experienced lawyer can help you create the request and can assist you at the hearing for it. Being caught while driving as a habitual offender is a felony, and the punishment is up to five years in prison.
There are a few options available to people who have had their license suspended. Drivers who have lost their license may:
- Be eligible for a provisional license. These are only for individuals who have had their license suspended for DUI or DUAC. These types of licenses have very few rules, which makes them a great option.
- Can receive a “route restricted license.” These are open to anyone without a standard license. Owning one allows a driver to drive if it is on a particular path.
- Drive a Moped depending on the size of the motor and local laws. Mopeds must meet certain standards to be road legal, but also must be below a certain point of power to be usable by a person without a license.
- Take a taxi or any form of public transport.
- Rely on family and friends.
Using any of these is a better option than driving with a suspended license. These alternatives will keep you from having your suspension elongated, facing fines, and jail time.
The most important part of having your license suspended is minimizing the time of the suspension. Continuing to break the law and driving without one will cost you time and money.