What Is the Difference in a License Being Suspended or Revoked?

by Tina Amo

Your state can suspend or revoke your license if you commit a serious offense while driving. While the former takes away your driving privileges for a defined period, a revocation is more permanent. The laws in your state determine which infractions merit which sanction.

License Suspension

When your license is suspended, you lose your driving privileges for a specific period of time. The amount of time depends on the severity of the offense. You can get it back at the end of the suspension after you have paid any fines. Common causes for a suspended license include multiple moving violations, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, refusing to take a blood-alcohol test and driving without liability insurance.

Suspension Process

As a general rule, you are entitled to a hearing before a motor vehicle bureau officer before your license is suspended for multiple moving violations. You may represent yourself or hire a lawyer to argue your case. If your argument is convincing, your license will not be suspended.

In the case of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the arresting officer will take your license and issue a temporary one. You can request a hearing, but if you lose your license will be suspended when the temporary license expires.

License Revocation

You also lose your driving privileges when your license is revoked. This covers a longer period, and when the timeframe specified in your state expires you have to apply for a new license. This involves retaking the vision test, written knowledge test and driving skills test.

Offenses that often lead to a revoked licenses are the same ones that lead to a suspended license, but displayed more often or at a more serious level. They include multiple DUI convictions, driving with a suspended license and failing to comply with a child support mandate.

Reinstating Your License

You can initiate the process of regaining a license after you have satisfied the requirements of your suspension or revocation. Depending on your state, such requirements may include enrolling in a traffic school, getting an SR22 certificate of insurance from your insurance company and paying reinstatement fees.

Some States allow residents to apply to reinstate their suspended license online. If your license was revoked, however, it cannot be reinstated in this manner.

About the Author

Tina Amo has been writing business-related content since 2006. Her articles appear on various well-known websites. Amo holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration with a concentration in information systems.