Dealing with a license suspension is a stressful experience. However, it’s not as stressful as driving recklessly or procrastinating on paying off those traffic tickets. A license suspension happens because of good reasons. You might have piled up points on your driving record, were part of a DUI/DWI, or you were being reckless on the road.

Luckily for you, people get second chances. Which is why we’ve created this guide of everything you need to know to get your license back after a suspension. Reinstating your DL will be safe and secure - just like your driving when you get your new license.

When You Can Reinstate Your Suspended License

A California driver’s license suspension is a temporary revocation of the privilege to operate a vehicle due to breach of certain laws and regulations. In other words: if you break the law bad enough, you will get your license taken away. A CA suspended license status can occur because of a few reasons.

The most common are unpaid California traffic tickets or simply accumulating too many traffic tickets. It’s not a competition - it’s breaking the law! Tickets include moving violations, car accidents, and driving while intoxicated (DUI.) You can even get your driver’s license suspended because of unpaid taxes or child support!

Before you start the process of reinstating your license, you first must wait through the suspension duration. Usually, the timeframe goes as follows:
  • After your suspension period has ended, you can pursue California driver’s license reinstatement
  • Reinstatement is not automatic - drivers are required to apply for a CA driver’s license reinstatement to restore their driving privileges
  • To reinstate your driver’s license, you must follow the reinstatement process which will differ based on the reason for suspension

How to Reinstate a California Suspended Driver’s License

First things first: you must examine your suspension order to determine the reason for suspension and look for any special requirements for reinstating your driver’s license in California.

CA driver’s license reinstatement procedures are not the same for all offenses. Therefore, you could have to take extra steps depending on the severity of your suspension. Below are the steps necessary to reinstate your license:
  • Complete the suspension period
  • Pay the license reinstatement fee
  • Provide evidence of completing a required course, such as traffic school or a DUI/substance abuse course
  • Provide proof of car insurance - usually for a DUI or for driving without car insurance. You may need to provide form SR-22 Proof of Financial Responsibility
  • File a satisfactory Driver Medical Evaluation or other medical information - if your license was suspended due to a physical or mental injury
  • Resolve all criminal charges

Fees to Reinstate a California Driver’s License

You’ll always pay the price for breaking the law - literally! There are fees attached to everything related to your driver’s license. Reinstating your DL is no different. The standard administrative cost for a suspended or revoked license is $55 and can be higher in the case your license was suspended for DUI violations. The CA DMV also charges the following reinstatement fees:
  • Drug suspension: $24
  • Adding a court restriction: $15
  • Removing a driver’s license restriction: $20
In the case of drivers under the age of 21, who were in violation of the Zero Tolerance Law for Alcohol Use, the admin fee is $100.

California Traffic School

If you have a suspended driver’s license in California, you may have the opportunity to enroll in a California traffic school and eliminate points on your California license. Drivers facing a CA driver’s license suspension, who have been referred by a court, may be eligible to participate in traffic school, but only once in an 18-month period.