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Suspended License Information for California

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).


There are a variety of reasons why your California driver's license might be suspended. Some of these are related to specific driving violations, while others may be due to violation of other State laws. Following are some of the most common reasons for a California driver's license to be suspended or revoked.

  • Excessive Moving Violations. The state of California operates on a point system, in which drivers accumulate points on their license for every moving violation they commit. If you accumulate 4 points in a year or six points in 2 years or 8 points in 3 years, your license will be suspended. If you accumulate too many points, you will be put on driving probation for a year and your license may also be suspended or revoked.
  • The Negligent Operator Treatment System Program (NOTS). Drivers in California who are 18 years and older are affected by this program. This program is based on a series of negligent operator points which are added to your driving license over a specific period of time. Warning letters will be issued to you for the same. More information on this program can be found here.
  • Driving Under the Influence. Your California driver's license will be suspended if you are found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The length of the suspension depends on the severity of the violation and whether it is a first or repeat offense. A first time offense (if you are over 21 years and you took a chemical test and the result was 0.08% body alcohol content) will see your license being suspended for four months. A second offense for the same within 10 years will result in suspension for a year. If you are under 21 years of age and you took a chemical test and the result was 0.01% BAC or more, your license will be suspended for a year.
  • Refusal of a Drug/ Alcohol Test or a Failed Test. If you refuse to take a blood or alcohol or urine test, you can get your license suspended or revoked.
  • Driving with a Suspended License or no License. Driving with a suspended license will lead to an increase in the length of the suspension, and you may also be imprisoned for up to five years. The duration of the additional suspension varies depending on the reason for the underlying suspension. Your driver's license may also be suspended if you do not have your license with you while you are driving.
  • Driving without Insurance. All motor vehicles driven in California must be properly insured. Failure to provide proof of valid auto insurance can result in your license being suspended. Your license will be suspended for four years if you are found to be driving without insurance. It may be returned to you after the first year, if you submit the proof of insurance to the DMV. You will need to ensure that you continue the insurance fro the next three years as well.
  • Other Driving-Related Violations. Your California driver's license may also be suspended if you engage in reckless driving, are found to be at fault in a fatal accident, or if you abandon your vehicle on a public highway. If you fail to report an accident within 10 days and where another person was injured or killed, or if incurred damages exceeded $750, you are liable to have your license suspended. You will need to file a "Report of Traffic Accident" for this.
  • Physical or Psychological Disqualification. The DMV's Chief Administrator can order a re-examination of any person who may not be fit to drive. An individual's driving privileges may be suspended if the re-examination finds they are physically or psychologically unable to drive safely.
  • Medical Conditions. If you suffer from a loss of consciousness, poor judgment, poor vision, lack of agility or decreased alertness, you may face a license suspension. For more information on this, check here.
  • Vandalism. If you are found guilty of vandalism, your license can be suspended for a year. If you are not old enough to drive, your right to apply for a driver's license can be delayed by a year.
  • Non-Driving Reasons for License Suspension. A variety of non-driving violations or issues can result in your license being suspended. These include: not responding to a DMV notice or not appearing in court; failing to pay traffic tickets, fines or surcharges; and not paying child support. If you default on your child support payments, your license can be suspended. In this case you will be given a temporary license for 150 days. You will need to contact the Department of Child Services (DCSS) about this.

If you believe your license has been suspended due to one of the reasons listed above it is advisable to speak with a Traffic Ticket Attorney or DUI Attorney.


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 three most important things to be aware of following a license suspension are:

  1. 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:
    Driver License Inquires

    Department of Motor Vehicles

    P.O. Box 942890

    Sacramento, CA 94290-0001

  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.


If you receive a Notice of Scheduled Suspension from the DMV, and you wish to challenge the suspension, you may request a hearing in court. An administrative law judge or the DMV Chief Administrator will hear your case, and determine whether your driver's license should be suspended or not. In addition, drivers whose license may be suspended due to accumulating excessive points may be eligible to enroll in a Driver Improvement Program. Completing a Driver Improvement Program removes three points from the current driving record, and in some cases can enable an individual to avoid having his license suspended.


You will receive a Notice of Restoration from the DMV after you have completed your suspension period. The notice will include complete instructions regarding how to get your license back. Generally, you will need to:

  1. A reissue fee is a fee paid to reinstate a driving privilege which has been suspended or revoked. The following is a list of reissue fees:
    $15 to add a court restriction

    $20 to remove a Driver License restriction

    $24 drug suspension

    $55 reissue fee (the most common type of reissue fee)

    $100 Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS)

    $100 Admin Per Se (APS)

    $85 APS (partial payment of the $100 APS fee)

    $45 APS (partial payment of the $100 APS fee)

  2. Apply for a standard license renewal to obtain a new license.
  3. If your license was suspended due to negligent operator points you will have to:
  4. Pay a reissue fee to the DMV and also pay fines to the court.
  5. Show proof of auto insurance.
  6. Complete the negligent operator probation period successfully - i.e. without violating any traffic rules or being involved in an accident.
  7. If your license was suspended due to DUI:
  8. You will have to complete the mandatory probation period.
  9. Pay the reissue fee to the DMV.
  10. Show proof of auto insurance (California Insurance Proof Certificate, SR-22).
  11. Complete a DUI Treatment Program and file a Notice of Completion Certificate (DL 101).
  12. Pay the required court fines.
  13. A restricted license may be issued to you during your probation period if certain reinstatement requirements are met.
  14. If your license was suspended due to a medical condition:
  15. You will have to provide a satisfactory Driver Medical Evaluation (DS 326) and other information stating that the condition no longer exists and you are able to drive the vehicle.
  16. If your license was suspended because you failed to pay a traffic violation (FTP) or appear in court (FTC), you need to:
  17. Pay your fines or appear in court.
  18. Pay the reissue fee to the DMV.

Note that after your license is restored, you will be subject to a Mandatory Probation Period of one year, during which any new violations may result in an additional suspension of your California driver's license.


Reviews of Suspended License Information for California

Dude that's rough. Sorry man. I'm on the being shafted side of the government too.

i got my license taken due to a dui, but when i went to court the case had been suspended, i was told by the clerk to go to the dmv and get my license back but know the dmv wont let me'

My car was impounded because my brother-in-law didn't have a license. We went to the tow company to try and get the car. Of course they wouldn't release the car, but while I was inside my brother-in-law went to my car got in and drove it out of the tow yard. He told me he was going to do this, but I didn't believe him. Well the cops came looking for the car. It is hidden away and I pretended to be pissed that the tow company lost my car. Everyone thinks I know where the car is. Truth is I don't. But what do we do now. If I get the car back can they arrest me for driving my own car.

Suspending an individuals drivers license because of non payment of child support is unconstitutional.

Department of Motor Vehicle must only limit its regulatory activities related to those of motor vehicle and traffic safety related issues.

In a just judicial system, punishment can be only imposed, when an individual has been found guilty after being charged and has been subjected to due process.

Since in Child support service system, No man is charged with a sin, offense or a crime and there has never been a due process, the collaboration of DMV with the DCSS is simply a conspiracy committed to bring harm against one's individual rights.

Suspending licenses, levying Bank accounts , Garnishing Wages, are the modern forms of Inhumane punishment against delinquent individuals.

Per Constitutional of United States of America, No man can be punished Twice for the same crime, after he has been found guilty It is called Double Jeopardy. But again, in 21st century America, still Government has the ability to violate the mans constitutional rights and get away with it in a broad day light. Delinquency is not a crime even in back villages of Pakistan.

Driving is not a privilege, is an absolutely necessity to the mans survival.

Harboring illegal aliens is Felony. It is a Federal Law. The Federal Government is in violation of its own laws.

Democracy, Hypocrisy, Democracy, Hypocrisy, ummm , what can i say?

they say if one is over 55 and after suspention for failure to pay for 5 years it can be released ,, i will see when i go to DMV..

It is unconstitutional and cruel and unusual

to punish people with loss of suspended license

who have clean driving record

but who have child support and Failure to Pay tickets,

punishment for not having $100,000 a year

[like those who make the laws and fines],

this forces men to take children away from mothers

and breaks up homes,

jobs with child care would be a better answer,

to hold hostage a person's freedom because of money and not because of crimes is unconstitutional,

there are not enough jobs,

not to mention people get sick and suffer, I have and my child have become disabled from those who are not handling the pesticide poisoning of our water and air and FOOD, yes poisoning our FOOD,

Department of Motor Vehicle must only limit its regulatory activities related to those of motor vehicle and traffic safety related issues.

To make good drivers look like bad drivers is Slander and Libel making them lose jobs is cruel and inhumane to make a law abiding citizen look bad by suspending their license and puts them in a bad light for no reason other than not having a $100,000 a year job,Per Constitutional of United States of America, No man can be punished Twice for the same crime, after he has been found guilty It is called Double Jeopardy. it is a crime not having a $100,000 a year job.??

Please stop wasting our tax dollars and become sustainable, stop laying up men in jail when they can be growing their own food and working and paying to care for their families, what are you teaching them laying them up and serving them food and washing their clothes when they can work. having their families in poverty send money as if held hostage,,,food should be planted, fields should not be laid bare of food and full of weeds that is sprayed with 'RoundUp', wasted food should be given to chickens and pigs and save the state money feeding the schools and prisons,,,

,Who is this that is fighting against the poor by these insane laws, Those who work 40 hours a week should not live in poverty' but be able to support their families. why are you punishing the poor for being poor,?

In other words, you would like to continue to be a deadbeat dad and not support your children. You do not want any consequences for your deadbeat actions. Typical. Meanwhile, the mom is struggling to make ends meet. You "men" are pathetic. Food, clothing, education, are also a necessity and yet so many of you decide to punish them by not paying Child Support. You act like a child, you should be punished like a child. Pay your child support and stop complaining.

Do you ever think about the children? It is called child support for a reason; it helps children obtain there goals, meet medical and dental expenses, go to school with comfortable shoes and clothing, have a haircut and a healthy lunch. Your individual rights were waived when you decided to become a father to a child, certainly not a parent or you would be happy to support your child no matter what!

I so agree with you, they only punish the poor, while Paris hilton can get stop 4 times in one month and nothing happens. People need to realize the law only is made to punish the non rich

I fainted, (confirmed with medical tests) and was told not to drive. Have not driven for 1 month. Had the medical evaluation form filled out and now must send that into the Driver Safety Branch. I feel like I'm being punished for doing the right thing and checking out may medical episode. I'm afraid my papers are going to slog through the system and leave me without driving for months. There has to be a faster way to resolve cases that do not fall into the category of real medical issues. The is stressful for me and my family.


My son recently fainted and we are facing the same issue. Any pointers for how to get through the situation. My son is not driving now but appears ok

I understand totally. I feel like my rights have been stripped. I went in today and due to the fact that I passed out he suspended my license. Ido not have a problem driving. You have got to be kidding me. Anyhow..I am very interested to hear what has happened to you since this post. I was just told today it is being suspended. Did a bit of research and there is a DMV form Note:15. You will have to provide a satisfactory Driver Medical Evaluation (DS 326) and other information stating that the condition no longer exists and you are able to drive the vehicle. This I believe is my next bet. What was your next step?

I have recently gotten a call from an insurance company claiming that I was involved in an accident which I actually had no part in. My former neighbor claims that I hit his parked vehicle. This did not actually happen and there are no witnesses to claim otherwise. However, his insurance company is trying to tell me that they can suspend my license if I don't respond to his claim. Is this actually possible, or is the insurance company just trying to scare me?

I imagine that if you fight it, you could win. Don't just roll over, if not for yourself, then for everyone elses rights as well. Unless you're already on a "probabtion" from driving of some kind.

i had my lisense suspended when i was a freshmen in high school but even then i didnt have a lisense i did not then nor do i have one now i still have an other 3 months till my suspension is over but i never got a notice from the dmv. am i still able to get my permit even though my lisense is supposed to be suspended? how can i know for sure if my lisense did get suspended.

I got a "Notice of Intent to Suspend" and to provide proof of liability insurance which could be done via the internet. I can not find a link to provide this information to the DMV. Could you help to find this link? Thank You.

I got a "Notice of Intent to Suspend" and to provide proof of liability insurance which could be done via the internet. I can not find a link to provide this information to the DMV. Could you help to find this link. Thank You.

I had my license revoked due to a DUI in February 2010. I have had a restricted license to get to and from work. I will be able to get my regular license back on February 14, 2011. In order to get the restricted license I had to file an SR-22 form. It has been less than a year since I filed the form. Do I need to do this again in order to receive my regular license?

there is a person in los angeles driving on a suspended lic and no auto insurance yet this person has been stop and nothing as been done to stop this and she drive with children in car and has had many accidents and still nothing as been done why is this

Have you tried reporting or speaking with police upon the matter? Eventually she wil!l be caught, they always do. My mother thought driving with no license, registration, and insurance was going to last. It did for a couple of years. Yes 2 years! But eventually, the right cop got her and took her car. I love my mother to death but I'm not for going that far into risking being arrested and she knew the results behind what she was doing was wrong.

LA County suspended my license for child support, since that time, I have paid a number of fines from being pulled over (just random stops and dui check points). I had a child support amendment court date, but they still won't release my license from their end. I will be a college graduate in may 2011, but many of the careers that I have applied for require a drivers license and I can't seem to get any help in resolving this matter. Does anyone have any good advice or know a good knowledgable lawyer that can help me.

im an older lady who just had his graduation at ucla and his dad never wanted to pay its your kid pay what you can so you show the courts your tring otherwise stop complaining and beind a dead beat dad who doesnt pay child suport cuz now im going throughit all again this time all the way to him loosing his lic so be a good dad pay your suport.

woman from lake tahoe

I shall simply say to be silent on matters in which you do not know the full situation. I do not know this mans sitjuation but I haven't been ABLE to pay child support due to me getting arrested then fired and being unemployed for R months. No one wants to hire someone with a record. All I did was I had a loaded gun(used for work) in my trunk when I went to my exes house. She came by and took a bunch of my stuff and I forgot to take out the gun. Because of that I spent a month sleeping in my car. I got evicted. My car taken away. My license revoked. No job. No food for weeks at a time. I can no longer be a security guard like I was. And I don't have experience in anything else. I'm 20 years old and frankly. Old woman from lake tahoe I think you should go complain elsewhere because worse things can happen. Oh yeah did I mention that my ex is the one who cheated and won't let me see my kids.

Sincerely, emo papabear

Quit blaming your situation on other things. You messed up by not finding a way to pay for you children. Did you ever wonder how your kids were eating or if they were eating. Why do these losers need a license when obviously they aren't working to pay their support for their kids, but I'm sure they are spending the money they do earn on going out themselves. Sorry your ex cheated, but thats no excuse not to provide for your children!!!!! A MAD, MAD MOTHER

I had to do the same thing,so i went to court an received 50% custody,why should the mother always get custody and the father has to work to pay the mother to sit on her ass!! if i have to pay for the mother to raise the child then she shouldn't have the child.most of the time the mother does not use that money for the child, but for herself.wake up men!! fight for your rights,it's time for women to accept some responsibility and accountability.

I think suspending deadbeat parents, or anyones license's for anything other then driving related offenses is a tragically mis-guided "tool". It makes as much sense as breaking one of their legs to enforce payment. Here in California, not being allowed to drive can and at times, does culminate into the loss of everything.....your job, your car...your home. your dignity.... The whole encharito..If your thinking that, if the dead beat's "paid" their support payments like any responsible human, they could of avoided loseing everything...your absolutely right. But the vast majority of these so called dead beats got behind not because they refused to pay,but because they were unable to pay because of financial difficulty. Taking away their further ability to make money and catch up on their debt should be avoided, not embraced.

suspending license to drive except for unsafe driving is Unconstitutional, it is Excessive Bail and discrimination of the poor,

I just found that my driver's license was suspended because I missed a telephone appointment regarding information from my doctor. I missed that call because my cell phone wasn't functioning properly and it registered as a missed call. I called to ask to reschedule the phone interview. The earliest appointment available is January 5th, 2010. My license has been suspended until then, even though I've done nothing wrong. Isn't there anyway this can be resolved? I am in a doctor's care and now I can't drive to my doctor appointments! I live in Santa Barbara, and routinely go to UCLA Medical Center for blood work and prescription renewal. Can't the interview be rescheduled in a timely manner? I can't go holiday shopping? or visit friends and family because my license is suspended over a missed telephone call? Please help.

I got a traffic ticket and I haven't been able to pay it, I have already pleaded guilty to a judge, asked for an extension and got it, unfortunately I am a student and I haven't found work to pay off this ticket, so now the court have forwarded my violation to GC services and I have to pay them 480 dollars. And they are threatening to suspend my license, which seems bad for both parties because if they do that I wont be able to go look for work to pay for the ticket.

But my question really is if they do suspend my license and I file an appeal at the DMV do I have any kind of chance of getting an extension on the fine I have to pay, because these people at GC services are not very good at listening.

my license was suspended due to driving on expired license and failing to pay the fees. It has now been over a year, I still owe nearly 3000 dollars due to tickets and towing and impound fees. The debt has been passed on to the California state franchise tax board, and they claim I can not get my license back untill I have paid in full, They are garnishing my wages, but due to having no license I'm not making much. I'm up for a promotion, but need to be able to travel, thus kind of a catch 22. Any reccomendations?

i think if your wages have already been garnished and therefor it is being paid for dmv should at least give u a to and from work Laurie from tahoe

I had my brother in law's car impounded because I was driving on a suspended license. I was pulled over at a routine check point. They tell me that they can't release the car to my brother in-law who is the registered owner until I clear up my license issues. There is a 30 day hold on the car. What can or do I need to do so my brother in-law can get his car back? Please help! I know.....I'm an idiot and I feel really bad that my brother in-law is in this situation because of me. Help!

If your brother-in law was AWARE of the fact you were driving on a suspended and still let you drive his car, then YES, they can hold his car for 30 days.

If he did not know your license was suspended prior to letting you drive his car and can prove it to the agency (CHP, or PD ) who had it towed with 30 day hold they may release it to him sooner. He would still have to pay all towing and storage fees.

if the car doesnt belong to you your brother can get it out after the thirty days probly w a big bill to pay inpound is usually about 75-00 p da

the same thing happened to me as far as impounding the car but you might have to wait until that 30 day hold is up i paid a police department fee of 180 plus the impound fee of 600. basically you have to wait it out and pay the final fee so calculate how much it will cost at the 30 day point and get that money......

Same thing happened to me. My fiance was driving my car. Turned out his license was suspended, hold for 30 days. I tried calling the detective to see what to do about getting the car out earlier she had an horrible attitude and just said he has to either fix his license within the 30 days or get it out afterwards. We eventually got it out afterwards a family member loaned us the money. We had to pay a total of $1,473 apparently the tow company charged by the hour. So either he gets it out if you fix your license or after the 30 days are up or he can get another car. It is extremely expensive as you can see. Sorry!

I'm replying to the comment about a guy who was in prison for drunk driving on a suspended license I think it said..(i can't get back to the comment right now)

Anyhow, if I read it correctly there was a prior dui involved and/or a suspended license.. My advice to you to that person on how to get their license back. DON'T.

Two people driving drunk at the wrong place wrong time?

That's kind of a HUGE sign not to be taken lightly.

Trust me. I have a friend who's in prison for a lot longer because of the same situation.

The next time (and there will be a next time if he drives again) he can and will probably end up being charged with murder. The other driver won't be drunk next time. It will probably be someone's family, or child.

agree here no licence at all period

My driver license had revorked for one year from 04/11/2008 to 04/11/2009.Now the time

was over and I did paid the amount $55.00 to have my driver license back ,until now almost

three weeks I did not reciever my .What should I have to do to get back my driver license?

i was driving with a friend, and a person in front of us, brake checked us, and was driving out of control. we almost got in an acciedent, we pulled in front of them and pulled over, they followed, we got out to see what was going on and some confrintation had happened, and a window had been broken on accident, myself got charged with a vandalism charge for breaking a window, i went to court and my liscense was suspended for a year, i dont think that was right, to the fact that i was not driving and the confrintation was at both parties, mine and theres. So is there anyway of petitioning this so i can at least get a work liscence.

i support myself and now cant drive, my work is in newport, while ill live in laguna..

what can i do..

Be safe with yourself & think for self .

You can not do that again. Don't put yourselves in a position, or vehicle with people who are going to be stupid and pull something like that. It never ends well.

Even if a driver in front does a "brake check" it's because people shouldn't be tailgating other people's bumpers. You're supposed to count One one thousand, TWO one thousand, THREE one thousand.

I cannot believe that your DL can be suspended just for not having your license in your possession, but my guess is that it is suspended if you do not take care of the ticket in the allotted time given on the ticket?

i have a DUI can I still apply for a M1 licence

If your normal drivers license is still under suspension then the answer is no.

My license was suspended for a year due to a DUI. I went to a local DMV to apply for a restricted license to go to work but it was denied. I been doing everything the court told me to do so I don't understand what the problem could be. I have a family to support, my wife doesn't work to to a medical condition and I have 2 kids. DMV told me that my excuse is not good enough so what else do I need to apply for one ?????????????

A lawyer perhaps.

Scenario: Driver's license revoked due to DUI accident involving Death. Two equally intoxicated drivers in wrong place at the wrong time. One dies, one goes to prison and is due to get out in late May 2009. One in prison had not priors, and at the end of May will have paid his debt to society. What steps must he take to get his license reinstated? Is a lawyer necessary? Can anything be done while waiting for release from prison? He has been without a license for just over two years. Any words of wisdom? I will also check with the prison....