Your Driver's License FAQ

When can my driver's license be suspended or revoked?

Driving a car is considered a privilege -- and a state won't hesitate to take it away if a driver behaves irresponsibly on the road. A state may temporarily suspend your driving privileges for a number of reasons, including:

  • driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • refusing to take a blood-alcohol test
  • driving without liability insurance
  • speeding
  • reckless driving
  • leaving the scene of an injury accident
  • failing to pay a driving-related fine
  • failing to answer a traffic summons, or
  • failing to file an accident report.

In addition, many states use a "point" system to keep track of a driver's moving violations: Each moving violation is assigned a certain number of points. If a driver accumulates too many points within a given period of time, the department of motor vehicles suspends her license.

If you have too many serious problems as a driver, your state may take away (revoke) your license altogether. If this happens, you'll have to wait a certain period of time before you can apply for another license. Your state may deny your application if you have a poor driving record or fail to pass any required tests. For more information, see Nolo's article Traffic Fines, License Suspensions, and Traffic School.

Finally, a few states revoke or refuse to renew drivers' licenses of parents who owe back child support.

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