It's time to face the facts: being in a situation where your driver's license is suspended is incredibly frustrating for everyone involved. Rest assured, there are a large number of people who have dealt with the same situation in the past. Some of those people make the unfortunate choice to tempt fate by continuing to drive, even though they are no longer legally allowed to do so. Don't be one of those people. Losing the freedom to drive can certainly inconvenience both yourself and your family, but it's nothing compared to the severe consequences that you can face as an unauthorized driver. Not only is it not worth it, but you can actually get your driver's license reinstated so long as you have the right help.
Reasons For a Suspension
Drivers license suspensions can happen for a wide variety of different reasons depending on the situation. These reasons range anywhere from traffic violations to major misconduct like using a vehicle during a crime and everything in between. Every state has its own particular laws regarding which types of violations are the grounds for a suspension.
When a driver has their license taken away, they receive a letter from the Department of Motor Vehicles in their state. The DMV letter will indicate exactly why a license was suspended, along with the length of time that it will be suspended for. Sometimes other stipulations will be included regarding exactly what a person has to do to get that license reinstated.
Consequences For Driving While Suspended
First-time violations who have received a suspension will see the term of their suspension extended for driving without a license. These extensions can range from six months to a year and can even be permanent in some situations. Every state has its own guidelines that govern how long penalties will take place for. However, the ultimate length of an additional suspension will be determined by the judge. The judge will carefully look over the facts of the case to determine the type of penalty that will be the most effective. That's why repeat offenders are likely to see even more devastating consequences in these situations.
The point of paying money for driving with a suspended licenses involves making a significant enough impact to make sure that you don't feel compelled to do so again. Drivers can incur a large number of different types of fines depending on exactly how severe their violation was in the first place. People who continue to drive while suspended will not only face increasing fines, but they may actually wind up in jail. At the same time, people who do not pay their monetary fines will also likely be sent to jail.
Depending on where the violation occurred, unauthorized drivers can face up to one year in jail for driving without a license. Even though the first jail term could theoretically be as little as ten days long, it is ultimately up to the judge to figure out if that would be sufficient enough time to correct a driver's behavior. Remember, just like other fines like extended suspension times and monetary fines, jail is ultimately meant to discourage you from repeating your behavior in the future.
How To (Legally) Get Back On The Road
Disputing the Suspension
To err is human. Occasionally, the Department of Motor Vehicles can and will make a mistake. Sometimes the wrong driver receives a suspension, for example. In most of these cases, an accidental suspension will not be announced through a letter in the mail. As a result, some drivers may be surprised when they're stopped by the police for a traffic law violation. In these cases, the most important thing to do is attend the court date and address the judge specifically about the faulty suspension. The judge will review all details of the case and will determine if the suspension was right or wrong.
Every state requires drivers to have car insurance. When drivers get caught without insurance, their license can be suspended. In most of these types of situations, all you have to do is show proof that you've purchased an auto insurance policy in order to be reinstated.
In other cases, the insurance company will require that the suspended driver submit a certificate with the DMV called the SR-22. This makes sure that a suspended driver can insure the vehicle, though they still won't be allowed to drive that car while their license is suspended. Why is it important to keep insurance even if you're not driving? It certainly makes getting back on the road a lot easier once you've complied with all the terms and conditions of the suspension in general.
Dismissal, Point Reduction and Education
Attending an approved traffic school course is one of the best things that a person can do if they ever find themselves on the wrong side of a license suspension. Successfully completing that traffic school is often the only thing a person actually has to do in order to both get a traffic ticket dismissed and avoid suspension altogether.
People who are already suspended can still benefit from having the violation decreased on their driving record. In states that have a "points" system, for example, drivers can have the amount of points on their record dramatically reduced just by completing traffic school. Traffic school will also enhance your driving skills, safety awareness and other skills at the same time. More than that, it's an acknowledgement of the mistakes that you've made and of your willingness to improve - both of which can make a great difference in court.