When you discover that your driver’s license is suspended the worst thing to do is just react. There are several different reasons why your driver’s license may be suspended and each should be handled carefully in its own way. The goal is to obtain a valid license as soon as possible.
From Suspended Driver’s License to Valid License
There are ways to unsuspend a driver’s license. Because your driver’s license is one of the most important things to have, you should look at all options in trying to get it back – beyond just waiting it out. Your valid license is invaluable.
A Plan To Get Your Valid Driver’s License Back
In order to have a plan you have to first know why your license is suspended. You can find this out by checking your license status [DL Check] as explained on my How To Check If Your Diver’s License Is Suspended page. The next step is to figure how to correct all the reasons without making your situation worse.
Filling In Your Knowledge Gaps
After you have done a DL Check you will have a list of reasons why your driver’s license is suspended. Next, you should obtain a complete driving history on yourself (see below on where to get this). You may have also received a letter from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles [Department or DHSMV or DMV]. This letter has valuable information on it so keep it.
The Official Driving Record
There is only one place that you should go for your complete driving history and that is the DMV. You can go to any local office and request it there or request a driving history abstract on their website. Make sure that it is a complete driving history covering all the years that you have been licensed. The Clerk of Court can also provide you this information but it is limited to a 7-year history. If you have been driving longer go to the DMV for your record.
The Types Of Suspensions
For a complete description of the types of driver’s license suspensions go to my What is a Suspended Driver’s License page.
Failure to Pay for a Traffic Ticket
Failure to pay for a ticket is the most common reason your license is suspended. Most people just run out and pay the ticket and think all is well. Be careful. This reaction can cause even more problems with your license. Just paying a ticket puts points on your license (if it is a moving violation). If you have several unpaid tickets you should first contact us and provide us with the documents listed above to see if we can help.
Financial Responsibility Obligations
This includes automobile insurance, child support, and driver’s license liens.
If you do not have automobile insurance and you have any car registered in your name the DMV will immediately suspend your license. You must obtain insurance to eliminate the suspension. If you have insurance you need to contact your provider and make sure they have notified the DMV.
If you sold or otherwise got rid of your car or truck you need to make sure you turn in your license plate to the DMV as soon after the sale as possible. The Department’s website has a very convenient Forms Page with such things as a bill of sale for the sale of an automobile. You should use this and keep it for your records.
The Department of Revenue [DOR] has the power to suspend the driving privileges of anyone behind on their child support payments. There is only one way to deal with this – satisfy the DOR. That means either get caught up or work out a payment plan that the DOR agrees to accept.
-Driver’s License Lien
If you are in a car accident you may be responsible for the damages incurred by the other driver(s). This is why you should always have automobile insurance (and uninsured motorist coverage). If you do not you will still be responsible for those damages. Under Florida law you can be made to pay for damages caused by negligently driving an automobile and lack of payment can result in a lien being placed upon your driving privilege.
To get out from under this suspension you will need to either pay the damages amount or work out a payment plan with the insurance company or law firm that placed the lien. Only by maintaining the payments will you keep a valid license.
Bad Acts; Court Payments
Certain criminal offenses have the collateral consequence of a driver’s license suspension if you are found guilty of committing the offense. With each of these suspensions the Department will require you to do something before you will be eligible for a hardship license or to reinstate your driving privilege completely. These requirements must be done. Contact the DMV for the things they require.
If you have a criminal case that has been resolved and you owe money, such as court costs, the failure to pay those costs can result in a driver’s license suspension. Thos costs must be paid.
A Word Of Caution Regarding DWLS and HTO
One of the biggest problems I have come across with people trying to fix their suspended license is the inadvertent misstep into another, much worse suspension. Driving With A Suspended Drivers License [DWLS] and Habitual Traffic Offender [HTO] are the two very big pitfalls that you can find yourself facing after you have seemingly fixed your driver’s license.
DWLS citations can accumulate and cause you to become designated as a habitual traffic offender. This is not good since it carries a 5-year license suspension. If you have unpaid tickets that are suspending your license make sure you know what those tickets are for (look on the driving record you obtained from the Clerk). If any are for DWLS do not just pay them. Contact my office immediately.
You May Need A Lawyer For A Suspended Driver’s Licenses
Let’s be serious. Your valid license is your bread and butter. You need it to go to and from work and everywhere else. You do not have time to waste trying to figure out how to get it back if it is more complicated than what I have explained above. You need your driver’s license back now, not six months from now.
Send me the information you have. If there is a way to get your driver’s license back I will let you know. You can decide if you want to hire me from that point.
More information about tickets and driver’s licenses:
- Speeding Tickets
- Careless Driving (Accident) Tickets
- Red Light Camera Tickets
- Commercial Driver’s License Issues
- Toll Tickets
- Suspended Driver’s License Issues