With Americans in general and New Yorkers, in particular, being so dependent upon their cars for transportation, it's easy to mistake a driver's license as a right rather than a privilege.
Unfortunately, that just isn't the case. Not everyone has a driver's license, and in order to get one, you have to prove your knowledge and ability. Just as you had to initially prove that you knew how to drive when you got your first driver's license, your continued behavior behind the wheel demonstrates that you haven't forgotten the basics.
When a driver fails to prove that he or she understands and follows the rules of the road by racking up moving violations, then it's possible that that driver's license will be suspended.
If you are facing the suspension of your license or if your license already has been suspended in New York, then there are steps that you can take. Remedying your situation may be as easy as hiring an attorney. A suspended license reinstatement may be within your reach.
What Can Cause a NY License To Be Suspended?
The average driver might be surprised to learn just how many situations can lead to a suspended license.
A driver may receive an indefinite suspension when they fail to respond to a court summons. Note that such a failure to appear or respond does not have to relate to traffic court. Anytime that a person ignores this type of summons for any type of legal matter, they are subject to losing their driving privileges. Occasionally, a warrant for your arrest also may be issued.
Drivers who fail to report an accident that caused more than $1,001 in property damage also may have their license suspended for an indefinite period. If you are involved in a car crash with significant property damage, then it is imperative to report it using the Report of Motor Vehicle Accident form within 10 days.
An indefinite suspension similarly will come into effect if you fail to pay the fine on a traffic ticket. The suspension continues until you pay the fine, and it may mean that your out-of-state driver's license is suspended as well.
Other reasons for an indefinite suspension include the failure to pay child support, unpaid state income taxes and an unpaid judgment originating from an uninsured motorist.
Anyone who is caught behind the wheel without proper insurance also is subject to a license suspension. Typically, this suspension lasts for up to one year. Drivers who are convicted of this offense may go to jail for as many as 15 days and be subject to a fine of as much as $1,500.
Perhaps one of the most common causes of a suspended licence in NY is the accumulation of too many points. When it comes to calculating how many points to suspend license in NY, it's vital for drivers to know that 11 or more points can result in a suspension.
When a driver receives a ticket for speeding or another moving violation, a conviction means that a set number of points is added to their driving record. If they receive a second or subsequent conviction within 18 months of the first conviction, then the new points are added to the existing ones. With some moving violations adding five or six points per ticket, it is easy to see how a license could quickly become suspended.
If a license is suspended for the accumulation of points, then the suspension period typically lasts for 18 months, which is counted from the date of the first violation. It may be possible to complete a defensive driving course to bring your points total down by as much as four points, and this may help you to avoid a suspension.
A license may be suspended for 90 days when a driver is convicted of Driving While Ability Impaired. Also referred to as DWAI, this citation is issued when a test reveals that a driver is high while behind the wheel and their impairment is less than the threshold of .08. Should the driver receive a second DWAI conviction within five years, then they may be facing a six-month suspension.
Individuals who are convicted of DUI or DWI similarly may have their driving privileges suspended. Many variables are used to determine the length of the suspension in these cases. Among these is whether the driver is a first-time or repeat offender and the precise measurement of their blood alcohol content. Particularly lengthy, one-year suspensions are given to drivers who are convicted of Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated.
A host of other violations may lead to a suspended license. These may include:
How to Get a NY License Reinstated
Each driver with a suspended license may have to take a different approach to have their license reinstated. This is because the path to reinstatement involves resolving the underlying reason for the suspension.
For instance, if the driver's license was suspended for failure to pay a traffic ticket fine, then the driver is required to pay the fine.
A driver who failed to respond to a traffic ticket is advised to consult with an attorney before doing anything. Most frequently, the client will be advised to pay the court the necessary Suspension Termination Fee. This payment effectively lifts the suspension, and the driver can go on to fight the ticket that caused the suspension.
Instead of simply pleading guilty to this ticket, the attorney may advise pleading not guilty so that a trial can be set. This means that you may be able to avoid some fines, points, surcharges and insurance rate increases.
If a Default Conviction has been entered against you for failure to respond, then you attorney can submit a Request to Reopen a Default Conviction.
A driver's license may be suspended when they acquire too many points in an 18-month period. By hiring an attorney, it may be possible to file a Motion to Vacate, which essentially is a request to undo the subject conviction. From this point, the attorney can work toward having the charges reduced, such as to a non-moving violation. This approach similarly may work when the driver has been convicted of speeding.
When someone is caught driving without insurance, they may have a chance at suspended license reinstatement when they pay a penalty to the DMV for each day that they were uninsured. This typically only works if the insurance lapse lasted for 90 days or fewer. Alternatively, the driver could prove that they actually had insurance during this time.
Is There a Difference Between a Suspended License and a Revoked License?
When your license is suspended, whether for a definite or indefinite time period, your driving privileges are reinstated at the end of the specified term or upon completion of the DMV or court requirements.
When your license is revoked, it does not mean that you can never obtain another driver's license. However, you will have to wait for a revocation period, which can extend for one year or longer and then apply for a new license.
This process usually involves a request for permission from the DMV before submitting the application. Occasionally, the DMV will require the driver to take the written exam or driving test again along with paying the relevant fees. The DMV is not obligated to grant such a request.
A license may be subject to revocation if a person drives without insurance or is involved in a car crash while uninsured. Drivers who are convicted of several serious traffic offenses or DWI violations similarly may be subject to revocation. False statements on an application for a driver's license further may provide the basis for revocation.
Who Should I Call When I Receive a Suspension Notice?
If you receive a suspension notice or believe that your driving privileges may soon be suspended for any reason, then it is sensible to call a NY traffic attorney. By acting quickly, it may be possible to stop your license from being suspended. If not, then it still may be possible to shorten the term of suspension or have the charges against you reduced.
Losing driving privileges can negatively affect all areas of your life, and the penalties for being caught driving while suspended are severe. Contact a qualified attorney to learn about all of your options for proceeding today.