What Happens if I'm Caught Driving on a Suspended License?

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The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), state court or another administrative agency may suspend your license for a variety of reasons. They are required to send a notice via mail to your last-known address. If you have moved without notifying the DMV about your new address, you could be guilty of driving on a suspended license. When your license has been suspended, you may apply for a limited driving privilege. This will allow you to drive to and from work, school, and doctor’s appointments or to attend a court-ordered treatment program.

Penalties of Driving on a Suspended License

While driving on a suspended license is charged as a misdemeanor, the offender may face up to a year in jail, fines of up to several thousand dollars and an additional suspension of your license. For those convicted of a second violation, they may lose their license for two years. (See also get drivers license back after driving on a suspended). Although the penalties are different in each state, the average jail time and fines are listed below:

Average Fines

Average Jail Time

Average Length of Probation

Other Penalties

$300 to $1,000

30 to 60 days

6 months to 1 Year

Community Service or Car Impounded

Failure to pay court-ordered child support will result in your license being suspended until you can prove that you are in compliance. That means you must be current on your support payments or have made arrangements to bring them current with a payment plan.

Reasons For Mandatory Suspension

The laws in each state may vary regarding when a driver’s license should be suspended. Generally, most states consider the following offenses as a reason to revoke or suspend your driving privileges:

  • Conviction for vehicular homicide
  • Convicted for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Using a motor vehicle to commit a felony
  • Leaving the scene of an accident (hit an run)
  • Street racing conviction
  • Refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test
  • Using a fictitious name when applying for a driver’s license
  • Driving without proof of insurance
  • Failing to appear in court in response to a traffic citation
  • Accumulation of excessive points against your license within a specific period of time
  • Failure to make child support payments
  • Convicted of possession or distribution of a controlled substance

If you are caught driving on a suspended license, your driving privileges will be suspended for an additional six months.

Why You Need Legal Representation in Traffic Court

Most people think that traffic court is no big deal and they feel confident in representing themselves. Little do they know that most court dockets are overflowing and it will take the entire day before your case may be called. The benefits of having an attorney represent you are many. First of all, if you have an attorney in traffic court, you case goes to the front of the line. Secondly, an attorney who is familiar with the court system and motor vehicle laws may help you avoid jail, fines and even get your license reinstated. 

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