Written by attorney Scott Ryan Ball

The Many Ways the CA DMV Can Suspend Your License

Everyone knows that being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol can result in the loss of your license, but did you know that there are literally dozens of other ways your license can be suspended? Be aware, here are some ways you can have your license taken away that you may not have realized: Driving under the influence of ANY drug. The law does not distinguish between illegal and over the counter drugs. This means that if your driving is impaired, you may be arrested for a DUI just as readily from being drowsy from too much NyQuil as being high on cocaine. Lack of insurance. If you drive in California, you must have a minimum amount of insurance coverage. If you are visiting or just moved to the state, be sure to check with your out-of-state insurance company to confirm they are authorized to do business here. Refusing to consent to a BAC test. Under California’s implied consent law, by driving a motor vehicle you are agreeing to consent to a chemical test of your breath or blood to determine blood alcohol content. Failure to appear or pay a traffic ticket. When you sign at the X on a traffic ticket, you are agreeing to pay the fine or appear in court. Failure to do so, even if you never receive anything in the mail, can result in your license being suspended. Too many points on your record. Four points in one year, six in two years, or eight in three years can result in your license being suspended by the DMV. Failure to pay child support. If you have failed to pay child support, your license can be suspended, and you may not know why even after you have been arrested. Vandalism/Graffiti. California law allows the courts to suspend a person’s license for up to two years upon a conviction of vandalism. If the person does not yet have a license, the court may delay the issuance of a license for up to three years. Possession of firearms or live ammunition. If a minor is convicted of possessing a concealable weapon or live ammunition, the court may revoke or suspend driving privileges. Other ways your license may be suspended include:

  • Engaging in prostitution in a vehicle within 1000 feet of a residence.
  • Engaging in a “speed contest" i.e. drag racing against another person or a clock.
  • Assaulting a driver, passenger, bicyclist, or pedestrian on a highway. (“Road Rage")
  • Failure to stop at a railway grade crossing.
  • Recklessly fleeing a law enforcement officer.
  • Leaving the scene of an accident or injury without filing a report.

It is important to be aware of the ways in which your license can be suspended so that you can avoid them. Driving on a suspended license is a criminal offense and can be punished by a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail. However, if you are charged with or are facing one of the above situations, it is important to have an experienced attorney on your side.

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