Whether a motorist experiences a suspended drivers license or revoked drivers license in Wisconsin, it is important to understand that his or her privileges to operate a motor vehicle have been restricted for a set period of time. Driving with a suspended license is illegal and can result in financial penalties as well as legal consequences.

To reinstate drivers licenses in Wisconsin, drivers must meet the criteria set forth by state law to undergo the process of reinstatement. Motorists can appeal for reinstatement from a local Division of Motor Vehicle (DMV) so they can recover their driving privileges upon completing the terms of their suspension or revocation. Information about drivers license reinstatement can be found in the sections of the outline below.

Reinstating a Wisconsin Suspended License

Upon completing the drivers license suspension or revocation conditions, WI drivers can apply for reinstatement to regain driving privileges. It is unlawful to drive with a revoked drivers license or with a suspended status, therefore it is imperative a motorist restore his or her license prior to returning behind the wheel. Driving with a revoked license in Wisconsin can result in a criminal or civil charge after the first offense or penalties and jail time after the second offense.

Operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license leads to being charged with a civil offense, but no penalties or jail time. To find a drivers license status, motorists can simply refer to his or her WI driving record where it states if driving privileges have been suspended or revoked.

How to Reinstate a WI Suspended Drivers License

To reinstate revoked drivers licenses in Wisconsin, motorists must first determine if they are eligible for license restoration, which can be found on a driving record. A Wisconsin driving history will state the date of eligibility in the same section as other requirements to qualify for license reinstatement. Restoring a revoked drivers license requires proof of insurance except in the cases of first offense of operating while intoxicated (OWI), refusing to take an alcohol or drug test or not complying with a Driver Safety Plan.

Reinstating suspended drivers license status requires a motorist to supply a filing for proof of insurance except in the case of suspension under safety responsibility and damage judgment laws, which encompass situations such as an uninsured motorist. In some cases, drivers can participate in a traffic school course to avoid point accumulation that can result in a suspension.

The terms of reinstating drivers license standing may require the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) as ordered by a court in specific situations, such as a first offense OWI. For either a suspended or revoked license, reinstatement may require the motorist file for an SR 22 certificate from his or her insurance company, depending on the circumstances of the suspension or revocation.

Until a revoked or suspended driving license in WI has been restored, motorists will receive a driving receipt from the DMV as a temporary identification to operate a motor vehicle until the new card is issued. Out-of-state residents who choose to move back to Wisconsin after a suspension or revocation may be subject to the state’s eligibility requirements.

Suspension Periods in Wisconsin

WI motorists with a revoked or suspended WI driving license are eligible to apply for an occupational license after a waiting period of 15 days in standard cases. However, state law dictates different waiting periods for varying traffic offenses, such as a two-year waiting period for habitual traffic offenders (HTO) or no waiting period for demerit points.

A drivers license suspension resulting from an OWI-related violation varies in waiting period depending on the blood alcohol content (BAC) level at the time of arrest and the number of related offenses a motorist has previously been charged with. An OWI suspension or revocation can range from no waiting period to 60 days. A Wisconsin suspended drivers license status will remain so for 30 to 120 days, depending on how many times a driver refuses to adhere to a breathalyzer test. Two or more OWI-related violations in a five-year period will result in a one year waiting period.

Points on driving record history will result in various suspension periods depending on the type of license a motorist holds and the number of points accumulated. For drivers with a probationary license, an accumulation of points between 12 and 30 will result in a six-month suspension. Drivers with a provisional license who incur over 30 points will receive a one-year driver’s license suspension.

For Wisconsin motorists with a regular driving license, which includes a commercial driving license (CDL), the following rules apply:

  • 12 to 16 points – two-month suspension.
  • 17 to 22 points – four-month suspension.
  • 23 to 30 points – six-month suspension.
  • 30 or more points – one-year suspension.

You can check drivers license suspension status by reviewing your WI driving record. New Wisconsin residents applying for a driver’s license who have an out-of-state conviction for a serious offense such as attempting to elude an officer, drug-related or OWI-related violation will receive a state driver’s license with subsequent suspension or revocation.

Wisconsin Point System

WI drivers license points are applied to a motorist’s record when a moving-traffic violation has been reported by the court to the DMV. Demerit points are assigned based on the level of severity of an infraction and the type of license a driver has, such as regular, commercial or motorcycle. Driving license points are higher when the moving violation is more serious, such as attempting to elude an officer, and lower for less dangerous violations, such as obstructing traffic.

The traffic points system in WI assigns demerit points ranging from two to six, depending on the nature of the violation. A drivers license suspension will occur in the event of 12 or more accumulated points within a 12-month period. To remove points from license records in Wisconsin, you can attend an approved traffic school to reduce up to three points one time within a three-year period.

Traffic School in Wisconsin

Drivers may be able to reinstate suspended drivers license status by attending a state-approved traffic school if the suspension is a result of an accumulation of 12 to 14 demerit points. Wisconsin offers three types of defensive driving courses for motorists wishing to reduce points, avoid suspension or simply improve their driving abilities.

Traffic safety school is designed for the review of basic safety on the road and anyone can attend such a class. Group dynamics Wisconsin driving school courses are usually dedicated to first-time OWI offenders, which can help a motorist circumvent drivers license suspension. The multiple offender program driving course is designated for second-offense OWI charges, and may or may not allow for driver license reinstatement.

Types of Wisconsin Driver’s License Suspensions

A suspended drivers license in WI can result from an excessive number of moving violations. The state’s point system dictates an accumulation of 12 or more points in a 12-month period leads to license suspension. A revoked drivers license stems from habitual offenses and multiple suspensions.

Conviction of an OWI charge, which includes operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, will also lead to license suspension or revocation. A drivers license suspension can result from charges such as reckless driving, driving without insurance, failure to pay settlements incurred from moving violations, including accidents, or supplying false information on a license application.

Wisconsin OWI Suspensions

A revoked drivers license under an OWI charge will have the duration extended by the number of days served in jail for the conviction. To reinstate a revoked drivers license after an OWI conviction, Wisconsin drivers must provide proof of an occupational license or installation of an IID.

OWI charges for drivers over 21 years of age are more severely penalized than for drivers under the age of 21. Similarly, motorists holding a CDL will also be subject to serious consequences for driving under the influence.

Wisconsin Occupational Drivers License

A WI provisional drivers license is issued to motorists who qualify for restricted driving privileges due to personal circumstances in the case of a suspended or revoked license. Occupational licenses can be used to operate a motor vehicle for the purposes of traveling from home to work, school, place of worship, and to maintain a household.

Maintaining a household includes grocery shopping, medical appointments and pharmacy visits, laundry and gas station patronage. A provisional driving license may not be used for recreational purposes such as visiting friends and family or attending a social or sporting event.

A Wisconsin restricted license for occupational reasons includes the number of hours a motorist can be on the road. The occupational license allows for 12 hours of driving per day and up to 60 hours per week. The provisional license application submitted to a DMV must indicate which counties a motorist will be driving in. If a driver needs to travel between states, he or she must first check with WI state law if such a condition is allowed.

A citation after driving with a suspended license or revoked license can be filed on a motorist’s record if he or she operates a motor vehicle with an occupational license outside of the specified restrictions.

Applying for a Wisconsin Occupational License

WI motorists must first check their eligibility for an occupational license. To apply for provisional driving licenses in WI, drivers must comply with the criteria for suspension or revocation under the following conditions allowed by specific state laws and statutes:

  • A drug conviction (not including juveniles).
  • A habitual traffic offender.
  • Failure to pay child support.

Occupational licenses cannot be issued for drivers of commercial vehicles as dictated by the Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1999.

Getting restricted license privileges requires drivers to fill out the appropriate form with information about where they will be driving to and for what purposes. The application should include a copy of proof of identity, residency and insurance, as well as the application fee. For drivers license suspension or revocation resulting from an OWI charge, applicants must provide proof of installation of an IID device on their car if it has been mandated by the court.

Wisconsin provisional license applications must be submitted in person to a local Wisconsin DMV service center and require a minimum of two hours for processing. Motorists may receive an occupational license the same day of submitting the request depending on the office’s service hours.

Note: Submitting a provisional license application and paying the fee does not ensure an occupational license will be issued to the querying driver. Assessment of a restricted license is up to the discretion of a WI DMV office.

Fees to Reinstate a WI Drivers License

To reinstate drivers license status, Wisconsin motorists must pay the appropriate fees as dictated by state law. The circumstances of revocation or suspension indicate the following fees for restoration:

  • Standard reinstatement fee – $60
  • Reinstatement for OWI conviction – $200
  • Reinstatement from cancellation – $28

For drivers who require an IID installation to reinstate a Wisconsin drivers license, the costs vary based on the type of device necessary to comply with the vehicle’s ignition system. All installations have an initial fee, a monthly service price, a removal fee and an annual cost. Depending on the device used for the car, the annual cost can reach up to $1,130.

If eligible, a suspended drivers license can be reinstated online. Wisconsin drivers may be asked to complete the restoration process at a local DMV service center. Motorists also have the option to reinstate a revoked drivers license via post, which can be addressed and sent to the P.O. box of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. The mail-in method requires payment of the $60 reinstatement fee attached to the application.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 3 2020.