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 Alabama 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).
REASONS FOR DRIVER'S LICENSE SUSPENSIONS
There are a variety of reasons why your Alabama 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 an Alabama driver's license to be suspended or revoked.
- Excessive Moving Violations. The state of Alabama operates on a point system, in which drivers accumulate points on their license for every moving violation they commit. If you accumulate 12 or more points on your current driver record, your license will be suspended. The number of points determine the period of suspension. For example -
- If you accumulate 12-14 points in two years your license will be suspended for 60 days.
- 15 - 17 points in a two year period results in a suspension for 90 days.
- 18-20 points in a two year period will see you having your license suspended for 120 days.
- 21-23 points in two years will result in your license being suspended for 180 days.
- 24 and more points in two years - suspension for 365 days.
- Driving Under the Influence. Your Alabama 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.
- 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 Alabama must be properly insured. Failure to provide proof of valid auto insurance can result in your license being suspended.
- Other Driving-Related Violations. Your Alabama 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. The Safety Responsibility Act which is in force in Alabama requires you to file Form SR-13 within 30 days of being involved in an accident. If you fail to do this and if you are responsible for the accident, your license can be suspended.
- Physical or Psychological Disqualification. The Motor Vehicle Divisions 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.
- 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 Motor Vehicle Commission notice or not appearing in court; failing to pay traffic tickets, fines or surcharges; and not paying child support.
- Other reasons include:
- If you are incompetent to use a motor vehicle.
- If you have mutilated your license or permitted fraudulent use of it.
- If you have been convicted of fleeing away from a police officer or of racing on the highways.
- If you have been convicted of several traffic offenses for traffic violations.
- If you have committed an offense in another state, which if committed in Alabama would result in suspension or revocation of your license.
- If you are between the ages of 15-18 and withdraw from school before graduation under certain conditions.
Your license may also be revoked if:
- If you are convicted of manslaughter or homicide involving a motor vehicle.
- If you have subsequent convictions of driving under the influence.
- For perjury, regarding driving laws or information about your license.
- If you are involved in an accident and do not stop, give help in the said accident.
- Using a motor vehicle in a felony
- Driving under the influence of drugs.
Alabama does not issue a hardship or work/school license if your license has been suspended or revoked. 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.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR ALABAMA DRIVER'S LICENSE IS SUSPENDED
Having your Alabama 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:
- If your license has not already been taken away from you in court, you must surrender it to the Alabama Motor Vehicle Division. You can surrender your license in person at a Driver License Office, or mail it to:
Driver License Division P.O. Box 1471 Montgomery, AL 36102-1471
- 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 Alabama MVD.
APPEALING A SUSPENSION
If you receive a Notice of Scheduled Suspension from the MVD and you wish to challenge the suspension, you may request a hearing in court. An administrative law judge or the MVD 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.
RESTORING YOUR LICENSE
You will receive a Notice of Restoration from the MVD 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:
- Pay a restoration fee of $100. You can also mail a check or money order payable to:
Alabama Department of Revenue Motor Vehicle Division P.O.Box 327650 Montgomery, AL 36132 -7650
For a revoked license, you will have to pay $175. For alcohol or drug related offenses, the fees are $275 for a suspended license or revoked license. Additional drug related fees are $25. Failure to pay child support or a failure to surrender the license within 30 days results in fines of $50 each.
- Apply for a standard license renewal to obtain a new license.
Note that after you 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 Alabama driver's license.