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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

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