Drivers License Revocation for a Felony Traffic Charge

In our system of law, felonies are the most serious class of crimes.  In order to be a felony, the crime must be punishable by more than one year in prison or death.  Felony traffic charges are no different; they are the most serious.

A person convicted of a felony, even a traffic felony, may have their rights seriously restricted as well.  You can lose the right to vote, and work in certain professions; you may not be able to own a firearm or serve in the military.  In addition, if that traffic felony is your “third strike” in a “three strike” state, it could be your pass to a long prison sentence.

License Revocation

Grounds for revocation are different for each state.  Generally, your privileges may be revoked for violating specific laws, such as those pertaining to habitual reckless driving, drunken driving, non-payment of your motor vehicle excise tax, using a motor vehicle to commit a felony, or fleeing from or eluding the police.

Suspension or revocation of a driver's license is done under the authority of a state agency, such as the department of motor vehicles. The action is autonomous and independent from criminal court penalties.

Even if your license is revoked for a criminal drunk driving conviction, that loss of license is a separate “administrative” procedure having nothing to do with your criminal charges.  While you are not entitled to a jury or court trial, you are, in most states, able to confront and cross examine those testifying against you at the hearing. The Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment generally requires you to be notified and have a chance to be heard before your license is revoked.  However, if the offense is serious enough, the agency may rely on the court’s conviction to revoke without a hearing.

Getting Your License Reinstated

If your license is revoked, you need to begin looking to reinstatement immediately.  There may be some things that you must complete before your revocation period is up.  For example, if it was revoked for a DUI offense, you might have to take classes before the license can be reinstated.  Don’t wait too long to begin because you could, in some states, face license cancellation which is permanent. All states have their own reinstatement procedures so be sure you are familiar with them.


Having a license is almost a necessity today especially if you have had one and your job depends on it.  You should be aware of what can cause it to be suspended or revoked and follow the law.  If you are charged with a traffic felony or any charge where loss of license is a possibility, find an attorney immediately to advise and represent you.

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