Driver’s License Suspensions: How They Happen & How to Prevent Them
Getting a traffic violation here and there usually isn’t a big deal. You might have to pay a small fine or be inconvenienced with a court appearance if the circumstances call for it. But when you rack up several traffic violations, you might be in danger of getting your driver’s license suspended. Depending on the state and the offenses, your license can be suspended anywhere from a couple of months to several years. Learn what can cause your license to be suspended and what you can do to prevent if from happening.
You’re allowed to have a few minor moving violations on your license for things like speeding or running a stop sign. Your license typically becomes at risk of suspension when you’ve been convicted of 3 moving violations in a 3-5-year period. The specifics vary by state, of course, and there is usually an exception to this rule for young drivers. Certain states can suspend licenses for driver who are under age 18 after only one moving violation.
Usually, states use point systems to track and handle moving violations. Each type is assigned a number of points, and if a driver incurs too many points in a short period of time, they might be at risk of losing their license. Although states’ point systems are different they usually follow one of these protocols:
- Moving violations count as one point. When the violation involves excessive speeding, the violation counts as two points. When a driver incurs 4 points in a year, six in two years, or 8 in three years, they will have their license suspended.
- Minor violations, which include non-excessive speeding or illegal turns, count as 2 points. Violations that are considered more serous, like running a stop light or excessive speeding, count as 3, 4, or 5 points. When a person gets 12 points within a 3-year period, they will have their license suspended.
What to Do When Facing License Suspension
If you have multiple moving violations and you’re at risk of license suspension, you are allowed to have a hearing with a motor vehicle bureau officer before action is taken against you. You should probably be prepared for this hearing since your license depends upon it. You’ll want to consider various arguments and facts you can present that will work in your favor and convince the hearing officer to allow you to keep your license. Consider the following points:
1. The details of your moving violations. Were there are reasons you believe the violations should not have been issued? Why didn’t you fight the ticket when you had the chance? Explain the details surrounding your violations.
2. The circumstances of car accidents. If your received points on your license record because of traffic accidents, you’ll want to use this time to show how you weren’t at fault in those accidents or that the accident was a fluke and not reflective of your driving pattern.
3. Discuss your hardships. If you must drive to get to work or to care for someone in your family, now is the time to discuss that with your hearing officer. If you might lose your job over the license suspension, your officer might be more willing to have leniency.
4.Talk about your incurred mileage. Many people believe that when someone drives a certain number of miles in a year – typically more than 15,000 miles – they are bound to have traffic violations and accidents. If you’re one of those people who does a lot of driving, mention this to your hearing officer.
5. Promise to take on new driving habits. Talk about what you’ve done since your violations to make improvements in your driving and what you’ll do moving forward to limit the number of violations and accidents that you’ll experience.
Note that it might be helpful to hire a lawyer to help you prepare for this hearing or to accompany you on the day.
The best way to keep your license from being suspended is to prevent yourself from getting to the point of a hearing. Keep track of any points that you’ve incurred on your license and make sure to be extra careful about incurring anymore, especially if you’re close to the maximum.
License Suspension Due to DWI or DUI
It’s important to know that if you have received a DWI or DUI, the license suspension process is much different. Most states allow the police officer to suspend your license before you have even been convicted. This is how the process typically works:
If you are arrested because of a DWI or DUI, your license will usually be taken at the time of arrest and you’ll be given a temporary license that will expire in the near future. Your license will be suspended at that expiration date unless you are found not guilty at a hearing. At the hearing, you’ll be given the chance to argue your case. If you end up losing, your license will be suspended for a length of time, that time varying based on many different circumstances:
- Whether or not you refused a breath, urine, or blood test
- Whether your BAC level was .08% or higher
- Whether or not you have prior offenses or license suspensions
When you are charged with a DUI or DWI, there are typically strict consequences. You will definitely want to hire a lawyer to advise and represent you before your hearing.