One of the most devastating penalties of a DUI is having your license suspended. If you have served your suspension, however, it can be confusing and frustrating to figure out how to reinstate your license so you can drive again. Recently on our forum a driver asked, “I received a DUI two years ago and my suspension is complete. How do I reinstate my license?”
Unfortunately, the requirements to reinstate your license are determined by your state’s laws. The good news, however, is there are several general steps that are required in all states.
To find your specific reinstatement requirements you will need to contact the Department of Public Safety (or equivalent administrative office) in your state and find out what restrictions remain on your license.
Next complete the following steps to reinstate your license:
Understand what has happened to your license.
Talk to the DPS and find out what exactly has happened to your license. If your license was suspended instead of revoked the steps may be a bit simpler. If your license has been revoked, however, you may have to attend an alcohol awareness class, pay a fine, and complete other court requirements.
For example, if you have been convicted of DUI in California to reinstate your license you may have to take the motor vehicles test again (including the road test, vision test and written test), complete the drunk driver program for the first California DUI offense, pay the license reinstatement fee of $125 to the CA DMV, purchase SR-22 insurance and forward proof to the CA DMV, and possibly install an ignition interlock device on your vehicles.
Get the proper insurance.
Your driver’s license will not be restored after a revocation or license suspension if you have not purchased the appropriate insurance. In most cases a driver convicted of DUI will also have to contact their insurance company and have them send the DMV an SR22 form, which is a certificate attached to an auto insurance policy that is issued to the requesting state to show proof that you have insurance. If at any time you decide to cancel your insurance, the insurance company will notify the DMV by issuing an SR26 cancellation form.
Request a hearing
In some cases the state may require that you attend a hearing to reinstate your license. Talk to the DMV if you have questions about whether a hearing is required. If it is you can generally request a hearing to reinstate your license by submitting a petition request to the DMV or the court.This petition is a formal document that should encourage the court to hear your case. Some drivers hire DUI lawyers to attend hearings with them and argue their case.
Each state will have very specific requirements for reinstatement if your license has been suspended or revoked. State laws vary so it’s important to contact the appropriate agency in your state and identify what steps you need to take. You may or may not need help from a lawyer.
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