by Lauren Baldwin, Contributing Author
It is against the law to drive while your driver’s license has been suspended or revoked. In a few states, including Oregon and Vermont, driving on a revoked or suspended license is a traffic violation with the penalty limited to a fine. In most states, however, this offense is a crime, for which a defendant can be sentenced to time in jail or even prison.
Your driver’s license can be revoked as a penalty for driving while intoxicated, failing to pay traffic fines, and for too many traffic offenses like speeding. The state also can revoke a driver’s license for failure to pay child support and failure to pay certain judgments.
In some states, the crime of driving on a revoked or suspended license is more serious if you have previous convictions for the same offense. The penalty can be higher (more jail time) or you can be charged with a felony rather than a misdemeanor. In other states, the seriousness of the offense is determined by the circumstances of the revocation or suspension. For example, driving when your license is revoked because of a conviction for driving while intoxicated is a more serious criminal offense than driving when your license is revoked for failing to pay speeding tickets.
Some states offer restricted drivers licenses that allow drives with revoked or suspended driver’s licenses to drive with an interlock device or to drive only to and from work or school. An interlock device checks the driver’s breath alcohol level and will allow the engine to start only if the test is negative.
If your driver’s license is revoked or suspended, in some circumstances t is possible to get the license reinstated. A knowledgeable attorney can help you by determining the reason for revocation or suspension and whether there are options for resolving the issue.
For more information about the offense of driving on a revoked or suspended license, see Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License, or consult with a criminal defense attorney licensed to practice in your state.