Driver’s License Suspension for DUI
I was charged with a DWI. What will happen to my driver’s license?
If you refused to provide a breath sample, your license will be suspended, unless you file for an administrative hearing and win the administrative hearing. If you provided a breath sample, your license will probably be suspended anyway.
Act Quickly to Contest Your Driver’s License Suspension
Suspension Hearings in Louisiana
Look closely at the paperwork the police gave you during the arrest process. It will tell you how long you have to file for an administrative hearing, and it’s generally fifteen days from the arrest. Although administrative hearings are harder than they used to be, because the law now says that the police officer isn’t required to show up (and cops not showing up was an easy way to win, years ago), but it’s still worth a shot to avoid license suspension. Once you’re convicted of driving under the influence, it’s a different ballgame, requiring
- installation of an intoxilyzer lock,
- showing of hardship,
- or seeking a restricted license.
Suspensions and Convictions on Your Driving Record
Did you know that your driver’s license will be suspended if you have a bench warrant for a traffic ticket for more than a couple of weeks? Traffic courts regularly provide lists of bench warrants to DMV, and DMV suspends the driver’s license for failure to appear in traffic court.
Your license may be suspended for failing to turn in a license plate on a vehicle that’s been sold, or for letting insurance lapse and failing to pay the monetary penalties imposed by DMV for letting insurance lapse.
Louisiana doesn’t use a point system for suspensions, but insurance companies use point systems to run up your car insurance. Moving violations are reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles, which in turn shares its information with the insurance companies. Moving violations include
- improper lane usage,
- running a red light,
- or blowing through a stop sign,
before you get to …
- careless operation,
- reckless operation,
- failure to maintain control,
- or DUI.
Depending on the insurance company, failure to use a seatbelt or child restraint may be considered a moving violation resulting in higher insurance fees.
Each jurisdiction has its own customs and internal rules about how traffic tickets are handled, such as when a moving violation will get moved down to a non-moving violation, and not all of those rules are written down. Often, going to a traffic school or defensive driving class will convince a prosecutor to reduce from moving to nonmoving, other times they’ll want to see a valid driver’s license and an explanation of why the driver didn’t have the license on his/her person, or why it was suspended, before reducing the charge.
Conviction of driving while intoxicated or vehicular negligent injuring ensures the suspension of a person’s driver’s license. Installation of an ignition interlock (intoxilyzer lock) may be enough to justify getting a hardship or restricted license, although it may depend on a person’s overall driving record. A high BAC reading or multiple convictions for DUI will increase the length of the suspension to two or four years and may have other consequences.
Caught Driving on a Suspended License
Getting cited for driving under suspension is a misdemeanor, which can be punished by up to six months in jail, and a fine of not more than $2,500.00, or both, depending on the type of driver’s license you’ve got, and the specifics of your situation. In addition, any person convicted of driving under suspension gets their license suspended for an additional year, starting from the date it would’ve been reinstated. That means you go through the reinstatement process, finish your current suspension, and start another year of not driving. If the suspension is due to a DUI or vehicular injury charge, you may be ordered to install an intoxilyzer lock on the vehicle, even if it was not required by the court which sentenced you for the DUI/vehicular injury.
Not having a driver’s license on your person – that is, a licensed driver who forgets their license at home – generally gets a fine, and has to show up to court to prove they’ve actually got a driver’s license. Failure to pay the fine may result in suspension of the driver’s license, indefinitely.
Driving without a license is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500 for regular cars, and penalties increase for driving trucks or big rigs, or causing injuries.
Reinstate Your Suspended License
Title 32 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes provides for a legal action to try and force the DMV to issue a license, if it’s been improperly denied or suspended. On the other hand, the DMV is a particularly stubborn aspect of state government, so negotiating is often the better method. Most of the time, getting driving privileges back is a matter of payment to the DMV, or sometimes, going to class or installing an ignition interlock device, but every circumstance is different. Clearing old bench warrants for traffic matters can be expensive, but it is also required, so that the DMV can see that there are no warrants on the driver that would prevent reinstatement.
Get Help Quickly for a Suspended Driver’s License
If your license has been suspended, rightly or wrongly, don’t waste time waiting to get another ticket for driving under suspension, get an experienced traffic lawyer to help you. Baton Rouge traffic attorney, Joseph K. Scott, III, prosecuted tickets for years, and has helped drivers get their licenses reinstated for years.
Fines and charges are sometimes negotiable, and stacks of traffic tickets are intimidating, but having an attorney to help you set up payment plans with the courts and DMV, who can negotiate with the prosecution, the court, and the bureaucrats, is a real advantage to a person who needs to drive legally again.
Quit riding dirty and getting nervous every time law enforcement gets in the lane behind you, call Joseph Scott and get your license straight.