Each state has a list of reasons for eventual or immediate driver's license suspension, but we’ve collected six of the most common reasons a driver ends up with a suspended license.
1. Point Accumulation
Most states have a point system that assigns points to both minor and major traffic offenses. Once a driver reaches a certain number of points within a predetermined time period, he ends up with a suspended license.
License suspension for point accumulation usually lasts for a predetermined time period, the length of which depends on the number of points.
2. Repeat Violations
Generally, repeat violations (also called habitual offenses) refer to racking up a certain number of specific violations within a specific time frame.
For example, several states suspend licenses after drivers commit a certain number of reckless driving offenses (usually two or three) within a specific time frame (usually 12 months to three years).
NOTE: Depending on your state, you could receive a “habitual offender” status for getting a certain number of convictions within a certain time period, regardless of the specific violations.
3. Serious Offenses
Depending on your state, some serious violations (or convictions) lead to immediate license suspension.
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI), Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), Operating While Intoxicated (OWI), or whatever name your state has for it.
- Felonies involving a motor vehicle.
- Vehicular manslaughter or homicide.
- Leaving the scene of an accident.
- Fleeing or evading the police.
Your state's automotive law more concretely outlines these offenses.
4. Driving Record Inaccuracies
Driving record inaccuracies can include:
- A higher number of driving record points than you actually have.
- Traffic tickets that you beat in court or that the judge dropped because you completed traffic school.
- DUI convictions that you beat or of which you were found not guilty.
Accurate or not, any of the above items can lead to license suspension, so periodically check your driving record to make sure it reflects true information.
5. No Insurance
You could end up with a suspended license if you’re caught driving without auto insurance, or even without proof of insurance.
NOTE: Some states provide a little wiggle room here, meaning, if you’re caught driving without proof of insurance, you might receive a traffic ticket and instructions to show up at the DMV, city hall, or police station with proof by a certain date. Once you do, the officer or judge might drop your ticket or have you pay a fine and avoid suspension.
6. Plain Ol’ Forgetfulness
Maybe you were supposed to pay a fine and forgot. Perhaps your judge said if you attended traffic school he’d drop the ticket but you missed the cut-off date. Say you had a traffic court date and doctor’s appointment at the same time but didn’t make arrangements.
Any of these scenarios can lead to license suspension, so mark your calendar, set your cell phone alarm, stick Post-it Notes all over your home – do whatever you have to do to remember and meet your requirements and avoid a suspended license and the reinstate license process.