License Suspension vs. Revocation after a DUI Conviction

It’s a bit strange to look at a driver’s license as a privilege rather than a right. But, driver’s licenses are considered government property, and the government reserves the right to revoke or suspend them if necessary. Most of the time, license suspension or revocation comes from a DUI arrest conviction or refusing blood alcohol testing.

License Revocation vs. License Suspension

When a driver’s license is suspended, the driver can not operate a motor vehicle for a period of time. If the driver drives despite this, they could be charged with an offense, sometimes resulting in revocation. A license revocation is more serious than a suspension, whereas the latter is more of a warning than a punishment.

In the case of revocation, the license is completely revoked, and the driver no longer owns a license. More often than not, civil or criminal offenses that trigger license suspension are similar to those that trigger a revocation. If you are facing a license suspension, try applying for a hardship license to help you move around.

Situations That Trigger a License Suspension


According to administrative license suspension laws, certain situations warrant the automatic suspension of licenses. Some of these include an individual refusing to submit to a blood, urine, or breath test when their vehicle was stopped. In states that uphold these laws, one is considered to have given implied consent for BAC (blood alcohol content) testing with the license.

Additionally, in many states, a driver can face a license suspension if they are stopped legitimately and their BAC shows at least 0.08 percent. In most states, there is a mandatory license suspension for a driver who refuses a blood alcohol test or breathalyzer. Meanwhile, this is a different penalty from suspensions imposed because of a DUI conviction.

Situations That Trigger a License Revocation

Actions that lead to license revocation are often serious, like if you have had multiple DUIs. Other actions include conviction of driving on a suspended license and getting a particular number of points for offenses. Racing, hit and runs, and DUIs may trigger a license revocation after multiple offenses.

Also, your license may be revoked if you were convicted of a drug crime, used altered license plates, or did not respond to a court summons. Failing to comply with a child support order is grounds for license revocation in most states. Meanwhile, once a license is revoked, one has to wait for a set time before applying for another and taking the required tests.

Furthermore, since having a driver’s license is a privilege, you may not be able to get a revoked license back. License revocation is often at a judge’s discretion; they determine whether or not to revoke your license. Thus, hiring an attorney in a case that may result in your driver’s license revocation is important.

Consequences and Duration of Suspension


When it comes to a DUI conviction, one of the immediate consequences is the suspension of your driver’s license. License suspension typically occurs for a specific period determined by the laws of your jurisdiction, and it serves as a temporary restriction on your driving privileges. The duration of a license suspension can vary depending on various factors, such as the severity of the offense, any prior convictions, and the state’s regulations. During this period, you may be required to abstain from driving entirely or have limited driving privileges, such as driving only to work or with an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle

Administrative and Judicial Processes

License suspension resulting from a DUI conviction can involve both administrative and judicial processes. The administrative process typically occurs through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or a similar agency in your jurisdiction. Upon being charged with a DUI, your license may be temporarily suspended pending an administrative hearing or review. During this process, you have the opportunity to contest the suspension and present evidence to support your case.

The hearing officer will consider factors such as the legality of the traffic stop, the accuracy of the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test, and any other relevant circumstances. On the other hand, the judicial process involves the criminal court system, where you face DUI charges. The court may impose a separate suspension or take into account the administrative suspension when determining the penalties for the DUI conviction.

Reinstating Your License

After serving a license suspension or revocation period, you may be eligible to reinstate your driving privileges, but the requirements and processes can vary depending on your jurisdiction. Typically, reinstating a suspended license involves paying a reinstatement fee, completing any necessary alcohol or drug education programs, and providing proof of insurance coverage. Additional requirements may include installing an ignition interlock device in your vehicle or obtaining an SR-22 insurance certificate.

Reinstating a revoked license is often more challenging and may require a more extensive process, such as attending a hearing, completing rehabilitation programs, or demonstrating a significant period of sobriety. It’s essential to familiarize yourself with the specific reinstatement procedures and meet all the requirements to ensure a smooth and successful restoration of your driving privileges.


Conclusion: Can You Appeal?

Each state has rules with which the court or judge determines the duration of an administrative license suspension. The severity of the case also plays a role in determining the success of an appeal. The laws also dictate whether the driver with the suspended license can appeal the ruling. In most cases, an appeal must be made within a few days of the arrest or citation. If an appeal is made, a hearing will be held in court to decide whether to restore the driver’s privileges. However, if DUI charges are brought against the driver and they are convicted, the suspension will still take effect.

Having a DUI conviction on your record can have severe consequences, including losing your driver’s license. It is important to work with a skilled DUI lawyer to help you navigate the legal system and fight for your rights.