How Can I Get My Suspended License Back?

Driving a car in the United States is a privilege, and that privilege is granted to eligible people through a driver’s license. For someone to successfully receive a driver’s license, they have to pass a series of tests and meet certain requirements, such as minimum age and vision requirements, citizenship, and more. Because driving legally is a privilege, it can be revoked if people break the laws of the road or fail to complete certain mandatory tasks, such as renewing their registration. However, if someone has their license revoked, they may be able to get it back depending on the circumstances surrounding its loss.

What Are the Requirements to Get a Driver’s License?

Every state has different requirements and testing that must be completed for someone to be eligible for a driver’s license. In California, the process for receiving a first-time driver’s license is as follows:

  • Learner’s Permit: Californian citizens can apply for a learners permit at the age of 15 and a half years old. A DMV issued drivers education class must also be completed. To receive this permit, a written exam must be passed and the DMV must be provided with the following information:
    • Date of birth and address
    • Social security card
    • Proof of residency
    • The completion certificate issued by the drivers education course
    • The application fee
  • Provisional Driver’s License: Once someone has reached 16 years of age and has had their learners permit for 6 or more months, they can take the in-person driving test to receive their driver’s license. Before taking this test, they must also complete at least 50 hours of supervised driving, 10 of which must be at night. To take the test, a driver must bring proof of insurance for the car they are going to be using for the test. For the first year, the following restrictions apply to new drivers:
    • No driving after 11 PM or before 5 AM
    • No passengers younger than 20 are allowed in the vehicle with the new driver unless a licensed driver over 25 is present

What If I’m Already Licensed from Another State?

If you have moved to California from another state where you were already licensed to drive, the process to switch over to a California license is relatively simple.

New residents only need to visit their local Department of Motor Vehicles location and pass both the written test and vision test. Driving tests will be waived if both of these tests are passed, and you will receive a California license.

Why Would a Driver’s License Be Suspended?

The state of California wants to keep the roads as safe as possible for its citizens, and sometimes they believe they are doing so by revoking the driving privileges of people who have been convicted of certain crimes. There are many situations that could lead to the suspension of a driver’s license, but these are some of the most common:

No Insurance

If a driver is involved in a car accident when they do not have an active car insurance policy, their license will be suspended for at least one year. Drivers are eligible to have their license reinstated after that year if they can prove they have obtained insurance.


If a driver is arrested for driving under the influence, their license will be taken by law enforcement officials, and they will be given an Order of Suspension. This order allows them to drive for the following 30 days, after which their license suspension will begin. In this situation, the DMV will review the police reports and other information from the incident and decide whether the suspension is necessary. If they decide the suspension is warranted, the suspension will remain in effect for 4 months for the first DUI conviction and 1 year for another similar conviction that occurs within 10 years.

Alcohol in the Vehicle Below the Legal Drinking Age

If a driver who is less than 21 years of age is pulled over and alcohol is present in the vehicle, their license will be suspended for a full year. The only exception to this rule is if the alcohol is factory sealed and there is someone of legal drinking age present in the vehicle. This suspension rule also applies to any driver younger than 21 who is pulled over with a blood alcohol level of 0.01% or more.

High Number of Points on License

If a driver receives a significant number of points on their license due to convictions for certain traffic crimes, their license will be suspended. This suspension will take place if a driver receives:

  • 4 points on their license in a 12-month period
  • 6 points on their license in a 24-month period
  • 8 points on their license in a 36-month period

Chemical Test Refusal

Anyone arrested under the suspicion of DUI in California must comply with chemical testing to confirm whether drugs or alcohol were present in their system at the time of arrest. Anyone who refuses said testing will have their license suspended. Anyone 21 years of age or older who refused to comply with blood, urine, or breath testing at the time of their arrest could be subject to the following:

  • Driver’s license suspension of 1 year for the first offense
  • Driver’s license suspension of 2 years for another offense within 10 years of the first
  • Driver’s license suspension of 3 years for a third offense within 10 years

Child Support in Arrears

A driver can have their license suspended if they are responsible for paying child support and fail to do so within 30 days of the due date. A warning letter will be sent out which gives the driver 150 days to work with the Department of Child Support Services to catch up on their past-due payments. If a solution is reached, the license will be reinstated.

How Can I Get My Suspended License Reinstated?

The loss of driving privileges can be life changing for people and can cause difficulty in their work and social lives. Each suspension is unique and given in an attempt to keep the roads safe, so although there is no one strategy to get a suspension over-turned, there are some things that might ease or speed up the process.


Although this may seem redundant, sometimes waiting is the best option when it comes to the suspension of driver’s licenses. If someone is facing a short suspension of 30 days, it may not be worth the lawyer fees and time spent trying to get it turned over.


If someone is issued a license suspension they believe is not warranted, they can request that their local DMV holds a hearing regarding the issue. This request must be made no later than 10 days after receipt of the suspension. These hearings are simply intended to decide whether the suspension should be reversed (sometimes temporarily), not whether someone is guilty of the crime or issue that led to the suspension.

Restricted License

Anyone who lost their license due to a DUI or for failing to have proper insurance can apply for a restricted license while they wait for their suspension to end. These licenses can only be used for specific purposes, such as work, school, and doctor visits. The steps to apply for a restricted license are:

  • Get into a DUI program for first offenders and file Form DL-107, a proof of enrollment form (this step only applies to people who received a suspension due to DUI)
  • Show proof of insurance and financial responsibility
  • Pay any fees associated with receiving a re-issued license

Complete Stipulations

Some license suspensions come with the caveat of requirements or stipulations in addition to simply waiting. For example, someone may be ordered to attend specific courses, pay fees, or complete a certain amount of community service hours before their license can be reinstated. Completing such tasks as soon as possible can help prove to the court that a driver is serious about getting their license back.

Get Insured

Anyone with a suspended license will need to ensure that they are properly insured prior to seeking the return of their license. Purchasing a higher amount of insurance may show the court that the driver in question understands why insurance is necessary, especially in the case of a license suspension due to a lack of insurance.

Reinstatement Paperwork

Anyone seeking the reinstatement of their suspended license will need to go to the appropriate Department of Motor Vehicles office to fill out paperwork. In addition to the reinstatement paperwork, they will need to show proof of their insurance.

Pay the Necessary Fees

All drivers trying to get their license back will have to pay a fee of $14 to the Department of Motor Vehicles to have their license reinstated. Certain drivers will have to pay additional fees depending on their specific case.

Contact an Attorney Today

If you have had your license suspended and you are seeking reinstatement, contact The Law Office of Brian C. Andritch today. With more than 18 years of experience working in criminal law and defending drivers, we offer all our clients aggressive and quality defense. We understand that there is a person behind every case and are empathetic to the specific stories of our clients. Losing your license is hard and can feel demoralizing at times, and we will work hard to get you back on the road. Contact us today at (559) 484-2112 or via our contact page.

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