While some motorists regard driving as a basic right, the fact is that operating a motor vehicle is a privilege that must be earned and maintained by demonstrating safe and lawful driving. Under certain circumstances, an individual’s California driver’s license may be suspended or revoked for a specific length of time, depending on the person’s driving record or history, and the particular violation(s). Having your California driver’s license suspended is a serious matter and it is essential to adhere to State law in the event that your license is suspended.
The most important things to be aware of following a license suspension are:
- If your license has not already been taken away from you in court, you must surrender it to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. You can surrender your license in person at a DMV office, or mail it to:
- While your license is suspended, you are not permitted to drive. If you are found driving with a suspended license, you may be imprisoned for up to five years, and/or the length of your suspension may be increased.
- After your suspension is over, you will receive a written notice of restoration, with instructions on how to restore your license. Do not drive until you have completed the necessary steps and received a valid, replacement license from the California DMV.
- You can also apply for a restricted license in person or at a local DMV office. Depending on your circumstances you may be allowed to drive (only) to work and back.
How To Reinstate Your License:
Not everyone has the option to reinstate; in fact license suspension can range from 30 days for a first-time conviction for reckless driving to an indefinite amount of time if you have been diagnosed with a permanent physical condition that prevents you from safely getting behind the wheel. Below are a handful of common scenarios that might offer some insight. Your best bet is to consult an attorney for expert advice.
Get Your License Back After A DUI
- Make it through the mandatory suspension period, complete a possible prison term, or both.
- Complete a DUI treatment program, and then file a Notice of Completion Certificate (DL 101).
- Make an appointment to visit the DMV to pay your reissue fee and file proof of financial responsibility (California Insurance Proof Certificate, SR 22).
- Pay the court any fines you might owe.
NOTE: If you meet certain reinstatement requirements you might be able to obtain a restricted license before you complete your mandatory suspension period. Consult a DUI attorney or the DMV.
Physical/Mental Condition or Disorder
If you are deemed medically unfit to drive you must obtain clearance from a certified medical examiner and
- Obtain a satisfactory Driver Medical Evaluation (DS 326) and any other proof from a physician that indicates you can safely get behind the wheel.
- Make an appointment to submit your paperwork.
- Conditions that involve a loss of consciousness, decreased alertness, poor judgment, diminished vision, and lack of agility are grounds for license suspension. The DMV provides extensive information on this matter including general guidelines for handling physical or mental conditions.
A Car Accident Without Proof of Financial Responsibility
If you are involved in an accident and do not have insurance, you must complete the mandatory, one-year suspension, and make an appointment at the DMV to:
- Pay the reissue fee.
- Show proof of financial responsibility (California Insurance Proof Certificate, SR 22).
Unpaid Traffic Citation/Failure to Appear in Court
Go to the court to pay your citations and possibly appear before a judge. The court will give you either a Failed to Pay (FTP) or a Failed to Appear (FTA) abstract noting you have fulfilled whatever the requirement may be. Then make an appointment at the DMV to pay your reissue fee.
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