California License Suspension

In California, driving is a privilege, not a right. If the DMV determines that you aren’t using your driving privileges responsibly, they might choose to suspend your driver’s license.

Why Might My Driver's License Be Suspended?

License suspension usually occurs as a result of extremely poor or dangerous driving. Common causes of license suspension include getting too many California traffic tickets, driving uninsured, refusing to take a chemical sobriety test, DUI, or reckless driving. Each of these violations represents a number of “points” that will be added to your license through the California DMV point system.

If you acquire 4 points in a 12-month period, 6 points in a 24-month period, or 8 points in a 36-month period, your license will be suspended. Accruing points has the additional consequence of increasing your California insurance rates. In some circumstances, however, it is possible to mask points from your public record by completing an Online California Traffic School.

You may also have your license suspended after getting into legal trouble. For example, if you fail to honor a court summons or fail to pay child support, the courts may suspend your license.

If you are unsure whether or not your license is suspended, you can find out by completing and submitting the INF 1125 form at your local DMV.

What Do I Do If My License Is Suspended?

Having a suspended California driver license simply means that you are not permitted to drive until you get your license reinstated. You must also surrender your license to your local DMV or mail it to the following address:

Driver License Inquiries
Department of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 942890
Sacramento, CA 94290-0001

You might be permitted to use a restricted license to drive to your place of employment and back depending upon your personal circumstances. Check with your DMV office for details.

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What Happens If I Drive On a Suspended License?

Driving on a California suspended driver license is a misdemeanor. A conviction can lead to jail time and/or substantial fines. The severity of the punishment depends upon the particular reason why your license was initially suspended.

How Can I Appeal a License Suspension?

If your license is suspended, you still have the option of appealing your suspension. Simply visit of the Office of Driver Safety that has jurisdiction over your case. Once you have informed a representative that you wish to appeal your suspension, they will provide you with an appeal form. After filling out and submitting the form, you will be provided an appeal date within 1 or 2 weeks. On the date of your hearing, show up on time and present the case of why your license suspension is undeserved. Even if you don’t successfully appeal your license suspension, you might still be granted a restricted license that will allow you to drive to and from limited locations. This will give you some much-needed mobility while you are waiting for your full driving privileges to be reinstated.

What Steps Do I Need to Take to Restore My License?

Once you are able to reinstate your license, you will receive a Letter of Renewal in the mail. After you receive this letter, you will need to fill out and submit a license renewal form. Depending upon the reasons why your license was suspended, you may also be required to show proof of insurance. Drivers who have had their licenses suspended due to intoxicated driving will also need to fill out a DL 101 form.

After your license is reinstated, you will have a “probationary” license for a year. Any violation during this probationary period will result in your license being suspended again. As long as you drive responsibly and violation-free during this year-long period, you should have your full driving privileges reinstated.


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