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 Kentucky 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 Kentucky 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 Kentucky driver's license to be suspended or revoked.
- Excessive Moving Violations. The state of Kentucky 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 within two years (or 7 points in two years if you are under 18), your license will be suspended.
- Driving Under the Influence. Your Kentucky 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. For a first time offense, your license will be suspended for 30-120 days, for a second, for 12-18 months, for the third 24-36 months and for the fourth, sixty months (five years). In addition to this you may also have to spend time in jail and undergo a treatment program. Refusing to take a chemical test will also result in suspension.
- 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 Kentucky must be properly insured. Failure to provide proof of valid auto insurance can result in your license being suspended.
- Other Driving-Related Violations. Your Kentucky 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 stealing a motor vehicle or any part of a motor vehicle, stealing gas, speeding, leaving the scene of an accident without giving aid or your identity, being convicted of reckless driving three times in one year, not completing or enrolling in a State Traffic School if ordered by the court, unlawful use of either your driver's license or another's to buy liquor, fleeing from the police, giving false information to the Transportation Cabinet, using a motor vehicle to commit a crime, homicide involving a motor vehicle and failure to complete a Graduate Licensing course within one year of getting your driver's license.
- Physical or Psychological Disqualification. The Transportation Cabinet 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 Transportation Cabinet notice or not appearing in court; failing to pay traffic tickets, fines or surcharges; and not paying child support.
- Withdrawal of Responsibility by Parents/Guardians for Teens. If your parent/guardian withdraws responsibility for you, your license may be cancelled and you will have to wait until you turn 18 to apply for another permit and license.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR KENTUCKY DRIVER'S LICENSE IS SUSPENDED
Having your Kentucky 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 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 Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. You can surrender your license in person at a Driver Licensing Field Office or a Circuit Court Clerk's office or mail it to:
Division of Driver Licensing 200 Mero Street Frankfurt, KY 40622
- 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 Kentucky TC.
- You can apply for a hardship license at your local Circuit Court Clerk's office, under certain circumstances. The fee for this is $5. More information on this can be found here.
APPEALING A SUSPENSION
If you receive a notice of suspension from the TC, and you wish to challenge the suspension, you may request a hearing in court. An administrative law judge or a TC 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 may remove points from the current driving record, 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
You will receive a notice from the TC 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 $40. The fee can be paid online or in person at a Driver Licensing Field Office or a Circuit Court Clerk's office. You can also mail a check or money order payable to the Kentucky State Treasurer. Mail the check to :
Division of Driver Licensing 200 Mero Street Frankfurt, KY 40622
- Apply for a standard license renewal to obtain a new license.
Note that after your license is restored, you may be subject to a probation period during which any new violations may result in an additional suspension of your Kentucky driver's license.