The Consequences of Driving with a Suspended License

A driving license suspension is a serious matter, and for the 86% of Americans who drive to work, a suspension could result in a loss of income. Driving with a suspended license is a big deal and is against the law. Those caught breaking these laws may face some serious consequences. 

Understanding the Difference Between Suspended and Revoked Licenses

While they're similar, license suspensions and revocations have different levels of severity. 

A suspended license is usually for a set period of time and has specific conditions you need to meet before your license can be reinstated. For instance, in California, a license can be suspended for four years if a driver gets into a car accident without proof of insurance. A driver can apply to have the license reinstated after a year if they have proof of insurance. Then they need to prove insurance for another three years.

Some license suspensions have an indeterminate period. When this happens, the courts may have a minimum period before they'll consider reinstatement, which can be a year or more.

In both instances, you may have to pay a fee to have the license reinstated or reissued.  

A revoked license, on the other hand, means that you would need to reapply for your license from scratch, as you do when applying for a license for the first time. Revocations can happen when a driver is no longer fit to drive. Some reasons a license may be revoked include:

  • Substance abuse

  • Health conditions

  • Fraud and criminal activity

Common Reasons for License Suspensions 

While each state differs, these are some of the reasons for suspensions: 

How Long Your License Can Be Suspended 

There are two main types of suspensions:

  • Fixed-term suspension: This type of suspension allows the driver to make amends before a certain due date, and if the conditions have been met, they may apply for their license to be reinstated. In some states, such as California, the minimum period can be up to a year before they'll reinstate. 

  • Indefinite suspension: There is no term on this suspension type — it lasts as long as the driver doesn't make amends. However, there are exceptions that depend on the nature of the violation. 

The Consequences of Driving With a Suspended License 

While there might be different penalties in the various states, one thing they all have in common is that driving with a suspended or revoked license is a misdemeanor offense that could result in jail time or a steep fine. 

In the District of Columbia, for instance, the fine is up to $5,000 and jail time up to a year. In New York, this type of offense is known as an Aggravated Unlicensed Operation (AUO) and can result in imprisonment of up to 30 days or a fine of $200 to $500. When a driver is found to be a repeat offender in terms of driving with a suspended license, they may face severe penalties. In Michigan, for instance, this can result in plate confiscation, immobilization, ignition interlock, or in extreme cases, registration denial.

A Suspended License – Your Next Step 

A suspended license means no driving until the period is up and all the court's conditions have been met. In some cases, the court may require you to take traffic school to get your license back. Luckily, can help with that! We offer online traffic school courses that can help you reduce points on your license or get a ticket forgiven.

Take your Traffic School or Defensive Driving Course Online Today!

Learn More

Updated 5/10/22