Driving is a privilege and the licensing authority (state) can establish whatever laws they deem necessary to order a driver’s license suspension for the purpose of keeping their roadways safe. While everyone should attempt to drive safely every time they enter a road, it is important to be aware of those violations that can lead to a driver’s license suspension and be prepared to respond to that suspension quickly and appropriately.
Reasons for License Suspensions
A driver can have their license suspended for a number of reasons, some of which are an accumulation of violations, others for the severity of one or more violations. Being aware of how those infractions accumulate can be a good incentive to drive more safely in the future.
An accumulation of minor traffic violations can lead to a driver’s license suspension. Generally, just one or two minor violations will not lead to a suspension, but three or more might, depending on the state in which they occur. In order to track someone’s driving record and determine when they have committed enough infractions to require a suspension, many states employ point systems. Each type of moving violation is assigned a number of points. When a driver accumulates enough points, they will receive an automatic driver’s license suspension. Every state has their own system, but in some states, a license suspension may occur after the driver has accumulated six points. Other states accrue higher points for each infraction, and a license cannot be suspended until the driver accrues twelve points within a three-year period.
In addition, some traffic violations can merit an immediate driver’s license suspension. These violations also vary by state, but often include many of the following:
- DUI – if the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 or higher
- Failure to submit to a breath, urine, or blood test for suspected DUI
- Failure to appear – not appearing for a court date or paying a fine for a traffic ticket on time
- Failure to maintain insurance – especially for those required to show proof of financial responsibility (SR-22) as a result of a prior license suspension or revocation
- Child support arrears – anyone who is behind in child support payments
Reinstating a Suspended License
A driver’s license suspension can create great difficulties for a driver, so it is important to learn the steps for easing the difficulty or reinstating the license as soon as possible. In some cases, they may have the opportunity to appeal the suspension at a hearing, which often takes place in a few days or weeks. If they lose that appeal, they may ask for a hardship license if there is good reason, such as school, regular medical treatments, the needs of dependents, and more. Otherwise, the driver must serve their suspension or face even higher penalties for driving with a suspended license.
Getting Legal Help with Driver’s License Suspensions
It may be easier to fight the minor traffic violations than to fight a suspension, so a driver may want to contact an attorney to learn if there are grounds to fight those tickets before they add up. In some instances, an attorney may be able to provide a valid defense based on unreliable equipment, lack of evidence, or the arresting officer failing to appear in court. When a suspension does occur, defense may be more difficult, but there may still be grounds, but such a defense may take the expertise of a knowledgeable traffic attorney.