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Suspended License Information for California

Reinstate Suspended Drivers License in California

In the event you have incurred a drivers license suspension in California, you cannot operate a vehicle for a certain amount of time. Generally, the amount of time and the traffic fines associated with a suspended drivers license will vary based on a number of factors:

  • The severity of the offense
  • Whether the suspension is considered definite or indefinite
  • Whether the suspension was passed by the CA DMV or the state or federal court system

Note: You can check to see if your drivers license is suspended by obtaining a copy of your drivers record.

More Important Information on Suspended Licenses

Causes of a Suspended Driving License in California

There are plenty of ways that you can end up with a suspended or revoked drivers license in California. Some of these causes include:

  • Not appearing in court after receiving a traffic ticket.
  • Failing to pay traffic ticket fines.
  • Not having proof of car insurance.
  • Getting caught driving while not physically or mentally fit to operate a vehicle.
  • Not paying child support.
  • Driving under the influence.
  • Accruing too many points on your driving record.
  • Evading a police officer.

Drivers License Suspension Periods

One of the main factors related to a suspended drivers license in California is the suspension period. Drivers are often concerned about the period of time their driving privileges are unavailable. The period depends on the reason for drivers license suspension. Suspensions can last anywhere from as little as 30 days for a minor violation to a full year for serious offenses. There are even cases where you could lose your [/ca/california/drivers-license|CA drivers license]] indefinitely, such as if you have a physical or mental disorder.
DUI convictions, on the other hand, result in definite suspensions. If convicted of a DUI, your drivers license will be suspended for six months and you will be required to complete an alcohol awareness course in order to begin the process of suspended drivers license reinstatement. Evading a police officer is another example of a definite suspension. For this violation, you will incur up to one year in jail, and if someone is injured, you could receive:

  • Imprisonment in a state prison for up to seven years.
  • A fine between $2,000 and $10,000.
  • Both.

In addition, drivers license suspension will also occur if you refuse to take a chemical test. The suspension periods are definite and depend on your offense:

  • First offense: one-year suspension
  • Second offense: two-year suspension
  • Third offense: three-year suspension

California Traffic School

Points on your driving record are another common cause of potentially long suspension periods. In the event you want to remove points from your driving record and avoid suspension, or just simply reduce the amount that you pay for car insurance every month, a state-approved defensive driving course is the perfect solution for both cases. Driving points can accumulate against you quite quickly, resulting in a suspended drivers license in California, but by passing an online traffic school class, you will be able to remove points from your drivers record and keep auto insurance premiums affordable.

California Negligent Operator Treatment System

The CA DMV has your driving record on file, and they add ineach new incident you are convicted of. Basic driving record rules are:

  • If you commit certain violations on the road, you will incur points on this driving record.
  • If you accumulate four points within a period of 12 months, you will receive a six-month drivers license suspension.
    • You will be on probation for a period of one year, and both suspension and probation will take effect 34 days after your Order of Probation/Suspension arrives by mail.

Fortunately, the CA Department of Motor Vehicles will issue various warning letters before this can happen.

  • Level 1 Warning Letter:
    • If you accrue two points in 12 months
    • If you accrue four points in 24 months
    • If you accrue six points in 36 months
  • Level 2 Notice of Intent to Suspend:
    • If you accrue three points in 12 months
    • If you accrue five points in 24 months
    • If you accrue seven points in 36 months
  • Level 3 Probation/Suspension Notice:
    • If you accrue four points in 12 months
    • If you accrue six points in 24 months
    • If you accrue eight points in 36 months

Additionally, the CA DMV will also send Level 4 violation of NOTS probation and suspension notices in the event that you:

  • Are younger than 18 and break probation by engaging in a reported violation such as:
  • Commit a traffic violation or collision with a suspended drivers license.
  • Do not appear in court or pay traffic tickets during your probation.

Driving with a Suspended Driving License

If you are caught operating a vehicle with a suspended license, you will incur all of the following penalties:

  • Additional fines
  • Longer suspension
  • Possible time in jail

Thus, there is no reason to break this law and run the risk of these severe consequences.

Obtaining a Hardship License

If you violated traffic law by driving under the influence or not having proof of car insurance, you can apply for a hardship license, which is also known as a restricted. In the event you were charged with a DUI, you will have to participate in a DUI First Offender program. After a 30-day suspension, you will have to accomplish the following to receive hardship eligibility:

  1. Have your program leader provide the DMV with your Proof of Enrollment Certificate
  2. File for Proof of Financial Responsibility
  3. Pay the reissuance fee
  4. Apply for the "To/From/During Course of Employment and DUI Program" restriction

However, if your drivers license was suspended because of a lack of coverage, then you will have to do the following:

  1. Show Proof of Financial Responsibility to the DMV
  2. Pay Financial Responsibility fee
  3. Pay reissuance fee

How to Reinstate a Suspended Drivers License

As you can see, there are many ways to incur drivers license suspension. You should also note that the process to reinstate suspended drivers licenses varies depending on the reason for the punishment. The one constant is how you are required to reinstate your drivers license: In person at any local DMV office.
The reinstatement process for some violations is simple. If you did not appear in court, your suspension period is lifted when you do appear and pay the applicable fees. If you did not pay traffic fines, your suspension is lifted when you pay the fines. However, if your drivers license is suspended because you were deemed a negligent operator, reinstatement is more complex and involves:

  • Paying the reissue fee.
    • DMV accepts cash, checks, money orders, and debit/ATM cards
  • Paying the court fees.
  • Filing for proof of car insurance or financial responsibility.
  • Completing the Negligent Operator Treatment System(NOTS) probation period without any violations.

When charged for driving under the influence, the penalties you incur are severe, and the reinstatement process is more costly than other convictions:

  • Wait for your suspension period to conclude
  • Serve prison sentence (if necessary)
  • Pay reissuance fee
    • DMV accepts cash, checks, money orders, and debit/ATM cards
  • Pay court fines
  • Complete a DUI alcohol awareness program and submit a Notice of Completion Certificate to CA DMV
  • Provide one proof of car insurance or financial responsibility with:
    • SR22 insurance certificate
    • $35,000 cash deposit
    • Self-insurer certificate under CVC or
    • Surety bond

In the event you were involved in an accident and did not have proof of car insurance, your drivers license will be suspended. To reinstate your driving license, you must:

  • Serve your one-year suspension.
  • Pay the reissuance fee:
    • DMV accepts cash, checks, money orders, and debit/ATM cards
  • Submit one proof of financial responsibility, which you will receive from your car insurance provider.

Finally, if you must reinstate revoked drivers license or suspended privileges because you were driving with a mental or physical disorder, reinstatement requires you to submit:

  • A Driver Medical Evaluation form.
  • Additional medical information stating your status and that your condition no longer affects your driving ability.

Reinstatement Fees

The final step towards reinstating suspended drivers licenses is paying the required fees. They often look like this:

  • DUI reissue fee: $55
  • Court restriction fee (for second DUI offense): $15
  • Remove court restriction fee (for second DUI offense): $20
  • Financial responsibility reissue fee: $55
  • Financial responsibility penalty fee: $250
  • APS reissue fee (if younger than 21): $100
  • APS reissue fee (if 21 or over): $125

Related Links

Submitted by Sillyheart on 30th Mar 2016

My license was suspended in

My license was suspended in 1990. I got in an accident in which I was avoiding a head-on with some jerk and I crashed into a fence. The policeman on the scene did not site me but reported it to the DMV because he sensed I might have had some seizure, which I DID NOT. How could I prove it? The other driver took off. I had a hearing with the DMV in 1990 and my license was taken away. I was required to go to a Neurologist and get tested. I had an EEG done and an MRI. Nothing was found and nothing is wrong with me. I had hearings for YEARS AND YEARS until the DMV finally gave me my license back in 2000, which involved a three-year probation. Ten years! This is ridiculous.

I recently applied for a Bus Driver job and was turned down. I believe it was because of the H-6 printout I had to provide. To this day, stuff is still on my record despite having my license back for 16 years. The probation ended in 2003 and ten years from then is 2013. I thought things were only on your record for 10 years!

I have not been involved in any other accidents. Only one other thing is on my record and it’s a seat belt violation. I have zero points against me.

Will this suspension stick with me the rest of my life? How do I get these legal hearings, and whatever else, off my record? I can't read these DMV codes on the H-6.

Submitted by teentop89 on 7th Jan 2016

hi im a firefighter who got

hi im a firefighter who got in an accident on sep.26 2014. after i got out of hospital i was given a dui. i have a class B license and can get a restricted license but i have to downgrrade to a C license. I'm suppose to get my license back on june 8th, but if i dont downgrade will i still get my class B on june 8th.

Submitted by jonw on 21st Feb 2015

I was diagnosed with

I was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease 8 years ago and just applied for a handicap placard at the Ca. DMV for the first time, because of difficulty walking. In short, I complied with all of the requirements, but because my neurologist returned my medical info to the DMV 2 weeks late, they suspended my driver's on the spot. After 30 phone calls and 5 trips to different DMV offices over a month and a half, they finally lifted the suspension and I was cleared to drive.

What has made things even more of a nightmare, since I now have a suspension on my, what was a clean, driving record, my insurance premium went from $1000. to $2000. a year. I recently had to go on SS Disibility due to the disease. To add insult to injury, after contacting Director Jean Shiomoto Of the DMV and getting a letter acknowledging that it was my doctors clerical error, she still refused to help me. The law was made for people that intensionally don't comply with DMV requirements, not for struggling handicap people that didn't do anything wrong.

I can't believe the hardship that has been forced on me, when all I did was try and make getting around a little bit easier.

Submitted by NGVargas on 19th Feb 2015

I received a citation for

I received a citation for driving on a suspended license. The DMV order me to install an interlock on a vehicle in order to re install my licence. I just don't see how does having the interlock is an appropriate charge, if I was not under the influence. I just think that three years is ridiculous and it should be for drunk drivers. Those Breathalyzer are hazardous, you have to breath on them while driving and blowing hard can make people dizzy and maybe have an accident. So its dangerous. And three years is to much time, almost ridiculous.

Submitted by scottintheoc on 9th Nov 2014

My license was suspended

My license was suspended while administrative paperwork was held up. When the paperwork was received, the DMV restored my license. However, during the suspension, I was unaware as I had moved and wasn't notified properly. It wasn't until my auto insurance renewal that I had found out my insurance rate went up upwards of 40%. The suspension was not related to any moving violations, accidental or DUI. Paperwork was delayed. The DMV said they would not remove the suspension on my record. The Good Driver Discount was developed by the CA Insurance commission, but the DMV controls who gets the Good driver Discount. Who can I appeal my suspension to?

Submitted by pdxdave on 3rd Nov 2014

I had a DUI in CA in 1996 (18

I had a DUI in CA in 1996 (18 years ago - my only DUI ever) and paid the fine, but did not take the class (refused to take a religious-based AA class that forced me to A.) state that I was an alcoholic and B.) that I am a deist). As a result of refusing the class (there were NO non-AA classes available), my license was permanently revoked. Is there a time limit on such a revocation in CA? I now live in Oregon, which has a 15 year statue of limitations on fulfilling class requirements. Does the OR law allow me to get a new license despite California's perpetual driving ban, or am I forever forbidden from driving in ANY STATE because California requires me to make false religious declarations?

Submitted by Weevan on 21st Oct 2015

Good question. I had the same

Good question. I had the same experience 7 years ago. I slept 11 days in jail. I am an atheist too. The DUI lessons in Richmond freightened and offended me. I left CA for Portugal. Now I want to drive. Am totally sober but I still believe that when you die, you are dinner.

When can I get over this stigma? Will call this evening. The message of the classes is that drinking is bad. Drunk is bad. AA is not for me.

Submitted by Trizz2099 on 6th Oct 2014

Is it legal for insurance

Is it legal for insurance companies to raise your rate after your license has been reinstated for child support, a non driving related issue?

Submitted by 10rdiaz on 20th Apr 2014

If I have an out of state

If I have an out of state license do I still surrender my license to California DMV?

Submitted by Aaron78 on 8th Apr 2014

License help

License help

Submitted by domineek88 on 27th Jan 2014

is there a way to protest my

is there a way to protest my license being revoked? i am not sure how to go about this and can not seem to find any information either

Submitted by legare1231 on 11th Apr 2014



Submitted by kellyfofo on 18th Feb 2014

request a hearing in court

request a hearing in court

Submitted by syl3nt11 (not verified) on 22nd Jan 2014

good info

good info

Submitted by Kenken (not verified) on 8th Dec 2013

Rizaldy Reyes driving

Rizaldy Reyes driving Mercedes Benz black with plate 7BQP650

Submitted by Kenken (not verified) on 8th Dec 2013

somebody is driving without

somebody is driving without license name is rizaldy reyes driving a black mercedes benz with plate number 7BQP650 in Daly City california

Submitted by Parm808 (not verified) on 5th Dec 2013

I need to know even if my

I need to know even if my license is suspended i have a different ticket can i pay for that online or do i have to physically go to dmv

Submitted by legare1231 on 10th Apr 2014

To see if my license

To see if my license suspended

Submitted by legare1231 on 11th Apr 2014

Paulette hopper

Paulette hopper

Submitted by noreen on 28th Jan 2014

Pay on line for license

Pay on line for license

Submitted by Jeremias Tamayo Paz (not verified) on 23rd Oct 2012

This is what I have been

This is what I have been searching in quite a few web pages and I ultimately identified it right here. Wonderful post. I am so impressed. Could under no circumstances imagine of these a point is attainable with it…I imagine you have a excellent information in particular while dealings with these kinds of topics.

Submitted by dx (not verified) on 19th Jul 2012

I got pulled over for failing

I got pulled over for failing to yield in New Jersey (there for work, now back home in SoCal). I also had an open container in the back seat floor from a barbecue the weekend before. Two voilations, no arrest, no DUI. Because I was coming back and not returning to NJ, asked a captain and he suggested requesting an early hearing and paying the fines, which I did, and that the violations should not get reported back to SoCal. Well I now have two points and trying to figure out what options are available to reduce them and insurance premiums. Can anybody help?

Submitted by Justin33 (not verified) on 11th Apr 2012

Can you get in trouble for

Can you get in trouble for getting in a car with someone you know is not a licensed driver?

Submitted by mikey's dad on 17th Apr 2014

No you can not if you are not

No you can not if you are not the driver then your fine but you most likey will be walking if you do get pulled over

Submitted by juligraham (not verified) on 30th Jun 2013



Submitted by supermanfresh (not verified) on 11th Mar 2012

In the state of California is

In the state of California is it true that your license is cleared after 5 to 7 years of suspension????

Submitted by lb (not verified) on 4th Mar 2012

I am 20 years old and I have

I am 20 years old and I have a clean driving record. I got a ticket for running a red light and driving 35 in a 25. I know the light was yellow and I had 3 witnesses in my car. I just left school when I was pulled over within 1.5 blocks. The 2 cops that pulled me over were beyond rude. One kept asking me if I was drunk and flashed his flashlight in my face a few times. I told him I just got out of school and was dropping my friends off at home. I told him I don't have any tickets and he said too bad now you do. I asked if there was anything I could do cause I can't really afford to pay a ticket. I work 3 jobs and pay my own school and rent and recently married. He said too bad you are a bunch of spoiled brat college kids and if you have a car you can pay a ticket. I was shocked. I took my ticket it came in the mail $800.00. I decided to fight it in court and bring a witness. I went to court and the cop told the judge he was chasing me for 4 blocks and then in the same breath told him he pulled me over after 1.5 blocks and that I admitted to running the red light (which I never did)The judge asked my side I told him the light was yellow and so did my witness. The judge basically called us liars. He then asked me about an accident I was in last year and said it was my fault. I told him it was the other drivers fault and it is recorded as that. He said no it says it was your fault. (I have proof from my insurance the other party was charged and I was injured in the accident) He decided to fine me $800.00 and suspend my license for 10 days. I HAVE NO RECORD. This is 2 points. I asked if there was community service or if I could go to traffic school and if I could have a restricted license for work and school and he said no you are getting off lucky and maybe your little friend can drive you. He then took my license. I can not believe this is how are judicial system works. I am thinking of calling the DA or appealing it. I am not sure if there is anything I can do but this is so unfair. Does anyone have any advice?

Submitted by thephong (not verified) on 21st Feb 2012

I am from WA State and have a

I am from WA State and have a WA State Driver License. I got my license suspened. I got a ticket in CA and I have take care of it. I have pay a reissue fee for WA State DMV. Now I have to pay a CA reissue fee too? Why is that when i'm not getting a CA license? And how do I take care of it when i'm in WA State?

Submitted by hikaru51 (not verified) on 20th Dec 2011

I was caught driving with a

I was caught driving with a suspended license last month. My car was impounded etc. Luckilly, I was able to get everything straightened out, my license reinstated and I got my car back. I had a court date this morning written on the ticket that the officer gave me. When I showed up, the court both criminal and traffic had no record of me being called to appear. I was told that I needed to call both courts continuously to find out when I needed to appear. Is there anything I can do to get this resolved?

Submitted by chrisinla (not verified) on 27th Nov 2011

My license was suspended in

My license was suspended in 2009 because I failed to deal with a seatbelt violation. I have opted to continue driving in the meantime and did so without incident until last weekend when I was pulled over for speeding. I assumed that were I to be pulled over for a traffic violation while driving illegally, the consequences would be serious and immediate. But all the CHP officer (on a bike) did last Saturday was ask for the usual documentation and then issue a speeding ticket without comment on the status of my license.

Is there something I should do proactively (i.e. before the court date for the speeding ticket) to insure I don't face jail time or additional substantial fines. Does the fact that the officer in this case neglected to deal with the suspension or even check my license have any bearing on how/when I ultimately get my license re-instated?

Submitted by syd (not verified) on 21st Nov 2011

my lisence was suspended last

my lisence was suspended last november because of a traffice violation, i was speeding a year prior to it being suspended. i had set up payment plan with the court it was a total of 270$ and my plan was for 40$ per month. I was on my last month last summer and I could not pay the last 44$ due to the economy being so beat. i called the court to ask for an extension and they said they could not give me one. I was furious since I was being so faithful to them making my payments each month and on time and they could not help me out. So a month later they added a 300$ assessment to my ticket and they suspended my lisence. So i had to pay a full 344$ plus 226$ for speeding, like come on? really? funny how our own country aka the greatest country, keeps screwing us american's over.

Submitted by jovega2010 (not verified) on 4th Nov 2011

i got pulled over without a

i got pulled over without a permit last year for having a back light out. i got a ticket of about $350. i payed it off in three months. can i still get my permit after paying the ticket and almost year with no traffic violation or any trouble with the laws

Submitted by danderson82 (not verified) on 13th Oct 2011

I had received a dui and

I had received a dui and refused the field test, so i was told that my license would be revoked for 3 years. However I just got off the phone with the DMV and they told me i was eligible for a restricted license. Is this at all reasonable or sound right, because it doesnt sound right to me. It just doesnt sound right to me. please someone with experience or knowledge of how this works please let me know.

Submitted by monicah (not verified) on 5th Sep 2011

So I just got in a wreck, not

So I just got in a wreck, not that bad, but I don't have insurance yet because I literally Just bought it. I've never had a car before now and I've been living and going to school in LA for the past 2 years. Could I still get my license suspended? I was told if you are living here as a student you don't have to get a CA id... and so since I've been a student this whole time and never had a car, how could they get me? I'm so confused and I'll be pissed if it gets suspended...

Submitted by jap (not verified) on 1st Sep 2011

is it possible that your

is it possible that your license will get suspended if some people reported you as a bad driver? Cause earlier i was driving and then the car infront of me sudden break and then i tried to not hit that car so i change lane and then my car slipped from fast lane all the way to the slow lane. and then i slow down and there was old guy pulled me over and then i pulled over and he just starts yelling at me, and he said that he will report me to DMV safety cause im bad driver. I am very positive that I didnt hit his.

Submitted by rolo26 (not verified) on 29th Aug 2011

I was driving my dad's car

I was driving my dad's car when I was involved in an accident. I was not under the insurance so I paid all the damage that was done to the other vehicle. Now my license is suspended because I did not provide Financial Responsibility. So my dad's car was insured by not me, is that enough to suspend my license?

Submitted by bonbon123 (not verified) on 27th Dec 2011

Did you ever find the answer

Did you ever find the answer to your question? I'm going through the same thing right now, not sure what to do!

Submitted by TEAMWILSON (not verified) on 22nd Aug 2011

My drivers license has been

My drivers license has been suspended because of failure to pay traffic tickets. I need to drive to work , to pick my kids up from school and to doctors appointments. How do I apply for a restrictive license in order o do limited driving?

Submitted by shirley383 (not verified) on 12th Feb 2012

i went to renew my caifornia

i went to renew my caifornia drivers licence and had a hold on my licencefrom arizona for no registrayion on a van i bought. acar ran a redlightand hit the car in front of me. it demolished myvan. threy didnt give tow it or giveme a ticket. i dont know aboutit till now. they wont lift the hold till its paid. im on a limited 66 yrs disabled.on crutchets homless and was living in my van;ineed to get a restricted licence, i cant go to the doctors ,my hip is poped out. i cant do what i have to get done ,iam on a limited income.ihave to pay more for cabsand people to take me places.can i get apayment plan and a restriicted licence? the ticket is 395.00 and it is in mesa arizona.

Submitted by Rhonda1970 (not verified) on 24th Feb 2012

I would try contacting a

I would try contacting a place called interfaith in escondido. They are a church based program that helps alot of homeless people, all people if you qualify. look em up in the phone book or on line, i am sure they can help you. Or the catholic charities sometimes help too.

Submitted by rovert76 (not verified) on 7th Aug 2011

Driver's license suspended

Driver's license suspended for unpaid parking ticket, which after not being paid on time resulted in a $300 civil assessment on top of the the parking ticket. Not being able to come up with the $450 at the time, but needed to work, I was pulled over and then cited for driving on a suspended license. I paid payments on the fees, but while doing so, I was pulled over again and again cited for driving on a suspended license. I haven't any moving violations. This is because I failed to pay the original parking ticket on time. I have made payments in amounts many times more than the cost of the original ticket. This last time I was pulled over, my car was taken and impounded for 30 days. I did not have the money to get my car back, so it was sold at auction. The fees I need to pay are now over $2000 and has been sent to the Franchise Tax Board for collection. I am told I cannot make the payments, but must come up with the total amount due in one lump sum. I have gone to court and denyed a restricted license more than once. I have no car, no money, and am about to be fired due to difficulty getting to work as on the bus it takes nearly 3 hours to get to work one way and the bus is not always on time. My family members no longer want to give me a ride. Is there anything I can do?

Submitted by shannin13 (not verified) on 18th Dec 2011

Im in this exact same boat

Im in this exact same boat guys! Its total BS/ FTB took my return this year, and all that is left is 710.00, from initial 3200$. Mostly fees. Since FTB took?paid some of fees, NOBODY can tell me how to pay the remaining 710! WTF?? My life sits in limbo between DMV, FED TAX Board, and Courts. The kicker? I did community service hours, 135 hours to erase the majority of fines. Apparently I was supposed to pay a 30$ fee when i turned in my hours....didnt know this. they mailed my original hours back to me (wrong name on envelope), ant WRONG address, similar street. And I'm penalized for this? so unfair....worst part, my license is supended, but ALSO EXPIRED within the time this is all going on. Lovely.......

Submitted by ghost562 (not verified) on 9th Jul 2011

If my cousins 15 and got his

If my cousins 15 and got his license suspended for possession of marijuana and does not own a license than when will his license suspension take in affect.

Submitted by victoria valenti (not verified) on 7th Jun 2011

I was driving someone else

I was driving someone else car,my license is suspended but can the DMV suspended the other person license if that was the car I was driving, the other person was not driving i was

Submitted by MiamiBeach1 (not verified) on 2nd Jun 2011

If someone has a suspended

If someone has a suspended license from another state, is it possible to go to California DMV and obtain one? Will it pop up that his drivers license is suspended in another state?

Submitted by freemanOdaLand on 22nd Jan 2014

Yes it will

Yes it will

Submitted by mattyfitch (not verified) on 21st Feb 2012

Did you ever get the answer

Did you ever get the answer to this question

Submitted by Scottt (not verified) on 10th Oct 2011



Submitted by Anonymous on 3rd May 2011

I lost my license due to

I lost my license due to unpaid fines i have bout 700.00 paid off and the paper they sent me said the liability amount is 668.00 what does that mean and can i try and get my license back now?

Submitted by 2005lancer (not verified) on 2nd May 2011

All My D.U.I. fees are paid,

All My D.U.I. fees are paid, I purchased my auto insurance and got my SR22, filed it at dmv santa ana. I renewed my licence and paid my registration fees but I still canot get my licence plate tags. What do I do?