How to Pay the California Driver's License Reinstatement Fee

by Mary Jane Freeman

Before you can get your suspended license back in California, you typically have to pay a reinstatement fee. The total fees you're required to pay will depend on why your license was suspended in the first place, but it doesn't stop there. Additional steps may be required, such as completing probation or providing proof of insurance. If you don't satisfy all the necessary requirements, the California Department of Motor Vehicles will not reinstate your license until you do.

License Suspensions

California drivers can have their licenses suspended by either the DMV or a court of law. When this happens, the driver is temporarily prohibited from operating a motor vehicle in the state. Driving privileges can be suspended for a variety of reasons, including driving under the influence, being involved in an accident without proof of insurance, failing to pay child support, driving negligently, having a mental or physical condition or disorder that impairs driving ability, and failing to pay a traffic citation or appear in court for a traffic ticket.

Types of Reinstatement Fees

The DMV charges drivers a variety of fees to reinstate their licenses after they have been suspended. As of 2015, the most common reissue fee is $55, which is the DMV's standard administrative fee. It is usually assessed when a license was suspended because the driver failed to pay a traffic citation or appear in court. Other fees the DMV may charge based on the circumstances include a $45 to $100 Preliminary Alcohol Screening fee, $100 Admin Per Se fee, $15 fee to add a license restriction, $20 fee to remove a license restriction, and $24 drug restriction fee.

Payment Methods

You can pay your reissue fees in a variety of ways. You can pay in person at your local DMV office with cash, check, debit card or money order, but not credit card. Payments by check or money order can be mailed to Driver License Inquires, Department of Motor Vehicles, P.O. Box 942890, Sacramento, CA 94290-0001. Payments by debit card, credit card and e-check can be made by phone at (800) 777-0133 or online at via the "Online Services" page. You can even send an electronic payment using your bank's online bill pay service.

Additional Reinstatement Requirements

There are usually additional steps you must take to reinstate your license besides paying all applicable reissue fees. The specific steps depend on why your license was suspended. For example, if your license was suspended for negligent driving, you must also pay court fines, submit proof of financial responsibility to the DMV and successfully complete negligent operator probation without being involved in an accident or receiving a traffic ticket.

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