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 Indiana 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 Indiana 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 Indiana driver's license to be suspended or revoked.
- Excessive Moving Violations. The state of Indiana operates on a point system, in which drivers accumulate points on their license for every moving violation they commit. If you accumulate 18 or more points on your current driver record, you will be called for an administrative hearing by the BMV. At this hearing, a decision will be taken to place you on probation or to suspend your license or for you to take a driving course.
- Driving Under the Influence. Your Indiana 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. If you fail the blood alcohol test, your license may be suspended for up to six months. A refusal to take the test will result in your license being taken away immediately and a suspension of up to a year. If your blood alcohol content is more than 0.08%, your license may be suspended for up to 90 days or two years.
- 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. If you are found driving with a suspended license you will have to face a further 90 day suspension period along with your current suspension time.
- Driving without Insurance. All motor vehicles driven in Indiana must be properly insured. Failure to provide proof of valid auto insurance can result in your license being suspended.
- Other Driving-Related Violations. Your Indiana 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. Other reasons include failing to yield to an emergency vehicle, not completing a compulsory driver improvement course and out-of-state tickets.
- Physical or Psychological Disqualification. The BMV 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 Bureau of Motor Vehicles notice or not appearing in court; failing to pay traffic tickets, fines or surcharges; not paying child support, owing money to the BMV due to bounced checks.
- Expulsion from School. If you have left school or been expelled from it, your license is liable to be suspended.
- Habitual Traffic Offenders .If you have been charged and found guilty of any of the following offenses within a 10 year period, you will be considered a habitual traffic offender and will have to face a 10 year suspension period. The offenses include:
- Two major offenses which result in injury or death, including:
- Reckless homicide while operating a motor vehicle.
- Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter while operating a motor vehicle.
- Fleeing from the scene of an accident which involves death or injury and not providing information or assistance.
- Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, which results in death.
- Operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of more than 0.08% which results in death.
- Three major offenses including:
- Driving with a BAC of more than 0.08%.
- Driving with a suspended license, the reason of suspension being the motor vehicle was used in a crime.
- Reckless driving.
- Operating a motor vehicle without a license.
- Drag racing and speeding.
- Using a motor vehicle for a criminal recklessness.
- Fleeing the scene of an accident or filing an accident report.
- Any crime in which a motor vehicle is used.
- Any of the offenses listed in the section before this.
If you are found driving with a suspension due to the above, you will be guilty of a crime and could lose your driving privileges for life.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR INDIANA DRIVER'S LICENSE IS SUSPENDED
Having your Indiana 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. If you believe your license may be suspended due to one of the reasons listed above it is advisable to speak with a traffic ticket lawyer or a DUI-DWI lawyer.
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 Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles. You can surrender your license in person at a BMV branch office, or mail it to:
Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles 100 N. Senate Ave. Indianapolis, IN 46204
- 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 Indiana BMV.
- You may also apply for a hardship license.
- The following forms may be used to provide information to the BMV-
- SR16 -This form is used by courts to notify the BMV that a driver has been charged with, failed to appear for, or failed to pay a traffic violation that involves a motor vehicle. This form also notifies the BMV when the above has been complied with.
- SR17 - This form is used by courts to notify the BMV that a hardship license will be issued to the driver concerned. This form also provides information on the period of the license and of any limits on the driver's driving privileges.
- SR21 - This form must be completed and submitted by any driver involved in an accident that results in injury, death or damage to property amounting to over $1,000. The form should be signed by the insurance company, stating the insurance amount. It should be mailed within ten days of the accident.
- SR22 - This form is used to show proof of insurance by drivers who have been convicted of an offense which requires them to have insurance for a three-year period. The form must be filed with the BMV for three years from the date declared by the BMV.
- SR23 - This form is used to show proof of insurance for vehicle convoys.
- SR31 - This form and the package that goes along with it is used by drivers who need to show another financial proof other than insurance.
- SR33 - This form is used by the court to inform the BMV of the amount of money owned by the owner or operator of a motor vehicle.
- SR50 - This form is used to show proof of current insurance.
APPEALING A SUSPENSION
If you receive a notice of suspension from the BMV, and you wish to challenge the suspension, you may request a hearing in court. An administrative law judge or a BMV representative 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 four points from the current driving record for the next three years, and in some cases can enable an individual to avoid having his license suspended.
It is also a good idea to seek the advice of a traffic ticket lawyer or a DUI-DWI lawyer, based on the reason for the suspension.
RESTORING YOUR LICENSE
Licenses can be reinstated for the following suspensions:
- Out-of-state tickets that have been paid.
- Defensive driving reinstatements.
- For not showing proof of insurance for a three year period following an accident or traffic violation.
- For not showing proof of insurance for a compulsory three year period.
- For not showing current proof of insurance.
- For not paying a ticket or failing to appear in court.
You will receive a notice from the BMV 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:
- Visit a reinstatement centre. The BMV does not process reinstatements by phone or by mail.
- If your license was suspended for a writing a check that bounced at the BMV, you can reinstate your license by contacting the Administrative office at the address given below:
Indian Government Center North 100 North State Avenue, Room N440 Indianapolis, IN 46204
- Apply for a standard license renewal to obtain a new license.
- The reinstatement fees are:
For the first reinstatement - $150 For the second - $225 For the third - $300 Additional - $300
Note that after you license is restored, you may be subject to a probation period during which any new violations may result in an additional suspension of your Indiana driver's license.