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 Minnesota 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 Minnesota 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 Minnesota driver's license to be suspended or revoked.
- Excessive Moving Violations. The state of Minnesota does not operate on a point system, in which drivers accumulate points on their license for every moving violation they commit. However, your license can still be suspended, revoked or cancelled if you commit moving violations.
- Driving Under the Influence. Your Minnesota 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. Refusing to take a test can also result in your license being suspended.
- 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 without a license the suspension period is as follows:
- For a first time offense in five years - 30 days
- For a second - 90 days
- For a third-180 days
- For four or more - 12 months
- Driving without Insurance. All motor vehicles driven in Minnesota must be properly insured. Failure to provide proof of valid auto insurance can result in your license being suspended. If you have had no prior offense of this during five years, your license will be suspended for 30 days, a first offense during five years will result in a 90 day suspension, a second, in 180 days, third or subsequent offenses will result in a year's suspension. Information on license revocation due to insurance offenses can be found here.
- Other Driving-Related Violations. Your Minnesota 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. If you are convicted in an accident where there was a fatal injury or death, your suspension period will be 90 days if another person was injured and 180 days if the person was killed.
- Physical or Psychological Disqualification. The Division of Driver and Vehicle Services 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 Division of Driver and Vehicle Services notice or not appearing in court; failing to pay traffic tickets, fines or surcharges; and not paying child support.
- License Misuse. Your license can be suspended if you misuse it in any way. A first time offense in a five year period will result in a 90 day suspension, a second or subsequent offense in a five year period, in 180 day suspension.
- Criminal Vehicle Homicide/Manslaughter and Fleeing from a Peace Officer. If you are charged with any of the above, your license will be suspended for a year. If you are convicted of either of the offenses, your license will be later revoked.
- School Bus Violations. Your license will be suspended for this for the following periods:
- 30 days for the second offense in five years.
- 180 days for the third.
- 12 months for the fourth and subsequent offenses in five years.
- Limited License Violations. If you are convicted of violating a restriction on a limited driving license your license will be suspended for:
- 30 days if it is a first time offense in a five year period.
- 90 days if it is a second time offense in a five year period.
- 180 days if it is a third.
- 12 months if it is a fourth offense or more in a five year period.
- Habitual Violator. If you are a habitual violator, your license can be suspended for:
- 30 days if you commit four traffic offenses in a 12 month period or five traffic violations in a 24 month period.
- 90 days if you are convicted of four traffic offenses within a year or if you are convicted of five traffic offenses within two years.
- A year if you are convicted of eight or more offenses within two years.
REASONS FOR DRIVER LICENSE REVOCATIONS
- A Crime in which a Motor Vehicle is use. Your license will be revoked for a year if you are convicted of this offense.
- Perjury/False Affidavits or Statements. If you are convicted of any of these in relation to giving information on your motor vehicle or ownership of it, your license will be revoked for 180 days.
- Gross Misdemeanors. If you have been convicted of:
- Three gross misdemeanors within 1 year, your license will be suspended for 30 days.
- Four gross misdemeanors within 1 year it will be 90 days.
- Five or more gross misdemeanors within 1 year it will be 12 months.
- Leaving the Scene of an Accident. If you leave an accident scene without giving first aid, your license will be revoked for:
- 180 days if the other person has been injured.
- 12 months if the other person was killed.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR MINNESOTA DRIVER'S LICENSE IS SUSPENDED
Having your Minnesota 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 Minnesota Division of Driver and Vehicle Services. You can surrender your license in person at a Driver License Office, or mail it to:
Driver and Vehicle Services 445 Minnesota St. Suite 168 St. Paul, Minnesota 55101
- 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 Minnesota DDVS.
- You may also apply for a hardship license if you wish to drive to work/school or have to receive medical treatment. You can call (651) 296-6911for more information on this.
APPEALING A SUSPENSION
If you receive a notice of suspension from the DDVS, and you wish to challenge the suspension, you may request a hearing in court by filling this form. An administrative law judge or the DDVS 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 may be eligible to enroll in a Driver Improvement Program. Completing a Driver Improvement Program 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 DDVS 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 the restoration fee of $680 if your license was suspended due to drugs/alcohol/or for a criminal offense involving a motor vehicle. For all other offenses including a no fault insurance revocation the fee is $20. The fee can be paid in person at a Driver License Office. You can also mail a check or money order payable to:
Driver and Vehicle Services 445 Minnesota St. Suite 168 St. Paul, Minnesota 55101
- 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 of one year, during which any new violations may result in an additional suspension of your Minnesota driver's license.