What To Do When Your Driver’s License Has Been Suspended

By | July 19, 2011

“License and registration please.”

These words can be unnerving enough during a routine traffic stop. But consider how these words feel when you’re driving with a suspended license. They probably sound like impending doom.

Needless to say, that’s not the type of situation you want to find yourself in. And while it might be tempting to think you can avoid traffic stops when you’re driving with a suspended license, it’s much easier – and much less worrisome – to take care of your driver’s license suspension the legitimate and legal way. Let’s learn how you can take action while your license is suspended in order to make your life a little bit easier. As easy as it was while you had a license? Not necessarily, but you’ll get there.

Check if a Permit is Available

When you get your license suspended and it’s your first offense, you may find that in some states there are certain types of driving permits available that will let you get behind the wheel during your suspension. Sure, these permits come with conditions of their own, but it certainly beats taking the bus everywhere.

What kinds of reasons might a state have to issue you a permit? The following:

  • Going to work. Obviously the state doesn’t want to interfere with your job, so there may be a permit issued that allows you to drive to and from work. You’ll still be limited in other capacities, sure, but that doesn’t mean you can’t at least handle the most basic of issues: your commute. Hey, you have to earn money even during a driver’s license suspension, right?
  • Attending school. If you’re a college student and you need to get to school, it’s possible you’ll be issued a permit for that purpose, much for the same reasons as we just saw as it related to a work commute. The state doesn’t want to stop people from going to college, but be sure that you check with your own state rules in this regard.
  • Court-ordered responsibilities. Of course, you have to get to court or to a driver’s class and that can be difficult if a bus schedule is unforgiving. That’s why it may be possible to drive to a driver’s class and back under certain stipulations, which is definitely a good way of getting your old driver’s license back.

Don’t Drive!

Without any of the above permits, make sure you don’t drive. It’s that simple. Having a driver’s license suspended is a tough situation, no doubt, but if you get caught driving without a driver’s license, then you’re about to enter an even more difficult situation.

It might be tempting to do some additional driving when you have a permit for certain purposes as well. Don’t give in to the temptation. Just because a police officer didn’t pull you over on your way to work is no reason to get a big head and use your car to shop at the mall. Act like the cops always know when you’re driving outside of your court-mandated limits, and you’ll do fine.

Contact Your State Office with Reinstatement Questions

Since individual states all regulate suspended licenses in their own way, there’s no one single rule for getting your driver’s license back. In fact, there are as many as 50 distinct rules. That’s why it’s a good idea to check with your local state departments in order to ask questions – this article can’t summarize all of the laws and regulations in place for each state without becoming something of a book.

If you’re stuck, just try asking any state driver’s regulation number you can find online and see if they can steer you in the right direction. But if you don’t give up that easy, try to find a specific number for your questions at an official state website. Watch out for sites that give you numbers but use “.com” domains – you want the official “.gov” domain somewhere in the website’s address.

Follow All of the Rules

Whether you get your reinstatement as fast as you want or not, you’ll have to follow all of the rules if you want your reinstatement to happen smoothly. That means listening to the court and asking any questions you have upfront so you’re not left wondering about them later. That also means you’ll have to put in some extra work into your transportation needs. Understanding bus schedules, taxi prices, walking distances – it’s all part of the non-driving equation. And remember that following the rules doesn’t mean you can’t be driven from point A to point B. It just means that you’ll have to find someone willing to give you a lift.

How to Cope without the Car

Of course, perhaps the most fundamental question is to figure out what you should do when a car isn’t available. What about shopping? Visiting friends? Family? Going out? All of these previous “necessities” suddenly become luxuries when you’re unable to drive. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy these luxuries, however.

First, try to find an appropriate bus pass. A good county or city bus system will be able to take you all sorts of places at different times of the day – and the better you memorize the bus schedule, the better you’ll be able to coordinate your errands together. Heck, you may even find out that some bus stops are scheduled at perfect times that mesh with your routine.

It’s also important to explore other options when buses aren’t available. Walk when it’s daylight and you have safe areas to pass. Use a taxi when in doubt – it’s a bit pricey but if you only use it once in a while, you won’t really feel like you’re wasting your money.

The most important thing to remember is that your lack of driver’s license is no reason you can’t live your life. Don’t feel like you have to cheat the law in order to be happy; instead, show your strength by adapting, being proactive in getting your license reinstated, and be sure to be diligent. Eventually, you’ll get behind the wheel again. Hopefully you’ll appreciate it that much more!

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