Having a license is a milestone that most teens can't wait to accomplish. Your license gives you the freedom to go where you want to go, whenever you want. It's a major step on the road to independence.
But it can be suspended or revoked for legal reasons, usually due to unsafe or irresponsible behavior behind the wheel. And it does happen. As of 2019, 2.5% of Americans had their driver's licenses suspended.
Losing your license can be devastating, but it isn't always permanent. Here's what you need to know about suspended vs. revoked licenses.
What Is a Suspended License?
A suspended license is a driver's license that you are not allowed to use. A suspension is temporary, and you may be able to get your driving privileges back at some point. However, as long as your license is suspended, you’re legally unable to drive. There are two types of suspended licenses: indefinite and definite.
A definite suspension on your license comes with a time limit. The suspension ends after a certain number of days, often 30 to 120. This type of license suspension is typically a punishment for bad or illegal driving. Common reasons include alcohol or drug-related moving violations, a series of too many traffic tickets, or driving without proper insurance. The length and reasons for suspension vary by state, so check with your local DMV for more information.
An indefinite suspension doesn't come with an automatic expiration date. Instead, your license remains suspended until you take the required action. In most cases, this could mean paying a fine or fees that you owe or taking care of an outstanding traffic ticket. In some cases, an indefinite suspension might also be in place until you properly insure your vehicle.
Pro Tip: Many states use a points system to track drivers' safety on the road. If you rack up too many points, your license could be suspended. Check your driving record to make sure you're not in danger of losing your license.
What Is a Revoked License?
A revoked license is considered null and void by the government. In this case, the state cancels your driver's license permanently. If your license is revoked, you won't legally be able to drive in your state.
However, it may be possible to get a new license after your initial license is revoked in certain cases. To do this, you typically have to request approval from your state’s DMV, pay any fines, and go through the standard licensing process of your state. This often means starting over by taking a permit test, driver's ed courses, and a road test to prove you're a responsible, capable driver.
When a license is revoked, it's usually due to a serious offense. This could be a traffic conviction, failing a road test, or making false or fraudulent statements on official forms. Getting caught driving with a suspended license can lead to a revoked license, so it is important to follow the rules and take any license suspension seriously.
How Do I Get My License Back?
Every state has different rules and procedures, but many license suspensions require drivers to take a defensive driving course for reinstatement. Aceable offers convenient, online defensive driving courses to help you get back on track. It's an affordable way to get back in the driver's seat and make sure you have the tools you need to stay safe in the future.