How to Reinstate a Suspended License in California?

Reinstating a suspended license in California demands attention to detail, compliance with specific requirements, and a systematic approach to resolving outstanding issues. Whether due to unpaid fines, traffic violations, or other reasons, understanding the process of license reinstatement is important. A seasoned car accident attorney can help you handle the various complications associated with the DMV process.

Photo of a Police Checking DL

Why Can a License Get Suspended in California?

Before you can start the reinstatement process, it is essential to know why your license was suspended in the first place. Common reasons include:

  • Unpaid fines or tickets
  • DUI convictions
  • Accumulated points on your driving record
  • Failure to appear in court
  • Lack of insurance coverage

Steps to Reinstate Your Suspended License

Fulfill Suspension Requirements

Depending on the reason for suspension, you may need to fulfill certain requirements. These can include:

  • Paying outstanding fines or fees
  • Completing a court-ordered driving or traffic school
  • Serving a mandatory suspension period
  • Fulfilling probationary requirements for DUI convictions

You should consult an experienced California DMV attorney to ensure that you have met all the conditions imposed during your suspension period.

Obtain a Notice of Suspension

You would need to contact the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or check your driving record to obtain a Notice of Suspension. This document outlines the specific requirements for reinstating your license and provides valuable information on any outstanding issues. This can be a complicated document to understand so you may want to speak with a qualified license reinstatement lawyer first.

Attend a DMV Hearing (if required)

For certain offenses, such as DUI convictions, you may need to attend a DMV hearing. Get in touch with an experienced DUI law firm and have them take a look at your Notice of Suspension for more information on whether a hearing is necessary and how to schedule it. 

If your suspension is related to a DUI conviction, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle. Complying with this requirement is essential for license reinstatement.

Submit Required Documentation

Your lawyer will compile all necessary documentation, including proof of completion for any required programs or courses. They will submit these documents to the DMV as part of your reinstatement application.

Pay Reinstatement Fees

Reinstating your driver’s license in California involves addressing various administrative costs and fees imposed by the DMV. The standard administrative cost for reinstating a suspended or revoked license is $55. These are some other types of fees:

  • Drug Suspension: If your license was suspended due to drug-related violations, an additional reinstatement fee of $24 is applicable.
  • Adding a Court Restriction: Should your reinstatement process involve adding a court restriction, there is an additional fee of $15.
  • Removing a Driver’s License Restriction: If your license has specific restrictions that need to be removed during the reinstatement process, a fee of $20 applies.
  • Zero Tolerance Law Violation (Drivers Under 21): For drivers under the age of 21 who violated the Zero Tolerance Law for Alcohol Use, the administrative fee is higher at $100.

Payments can usually be made online, by mail, or in person at a DMV office.

Reapply for Your License

Once you have satisfied all requirements, submit a new driver’s license application to the DMV. You should be prepared for a potential written or driving test, depending on the length of your suspension.

Duration of License Suspension for California Drivers

The California DMV and the court system impose different suspension periods for various infractions:

DUI Convictions

For a first-time DUI offense, the license suspension period is typically six months. However, it can be longer if there are aggravating factors. Subsequent DUI offenses may result in longer suspension periods.

Refusing a DUI Test

Refusing to take a chemical test for DUI can lead to a one-year license suspension for a first offense and longer periods for subsequent refusals.

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving convictions can result in a suspension, typically ranging from 30 days to six months, depending on the circumstances.

Excessive Points on Driving Record

Accumulating too many points on your driving record within a specific timeframe can lead to a license suspension. The length of the suspension varies based on the number of points.

Driving Without Insurance

Driving without insurance can lead to a one-year license suspension.

Drug-Related Offenses

Drug-related offenses can result in license suspension, the length of which depends on the nature and severity of the violation.

Other Offenses

Offenses, such as a hit and run, can also lead to license suspension, with the duration determined by the specific violation.

How to Get a Restricted License in California

If your California driver’s license has been suspended or revoked, obtaining a restricted license can allow you to drive under certain conditions. To get a restricted license, you would need to:

  • Verify your eligibility and enroll in mandatory programs.
  • Settle reinstatement fees.
  • Complete the application and provide proof of insurance (SR-22).

Consequences of Not Having Your Suspended License Reinstated

If you do not apply to reinstate your license in California after it has been suspended or revoked, you may face:

  • Continued Suspension: Ignoring the suspension does not lift the restrictions on your driving privileges.
  • Accrual of Penalties: Failing to address your license suspension may result in additional penalties, fines, and fees.
  • Legal Consequences: If caught driving without a valid license, you could face legal consequences, including fines, vehicle impoundment, and even potential criminal charges.
  • Extended Suspension Period: Some suspensions may result in an extended period of ineligibility for reinstatement if not addressed promptly.
  • Insurance Consequences: Delaying the reinstatement process may result in higher insurance premiums when you eventually try to get coverage.
  • Potential for Worsening Legal Issues: Ignoring a license suspension can exacerbate legal issues and may lead to additional charges or complications, especially if the suspension was related to serious offenses such as DUI.

Regain Control of Your Driving Future with Focused DMV Representation in California

Whether you are dealing with license suspension, DUI charges, or other DMV-related matters, our experienced California attorneys at The Roberts | Jeandron Law Firm can provide you with strong legal representation from start to finish. To schedule your free consultation, call us at (949) 208-9854 or fill out this online contact form.

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