CRIMINAL DEFENSE • DISCIPLINARY INVESTIGATIONS & HEARINGS

Driver’s license suspension and revocation in New York

Posted December 3, 2015

Most New York residents are aware that a person’s driver’s license may be taken away if that person has committed a driving misdemeanor or a felony. However, very few people in the state understand the difference between a driver’s license suspension and a revocation. In this post, we will clarify the distinction.

A driver’s license suspension means a temporary revocation of a person’s right to drive in New York. The suspension period can be definite or indefinite. A definite suspension has both a specific beginning date and a specific termination date. Both dates are set forth in the order for suspension issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”). A definite suspension will automatically terminate on the specified date, and the right to drive will be restored upon payment of the suspension termination fee if the license is otherwise valid. An indefinite suspension ends upon satisfaction of the conditions stated in the notice of suspension. Generally, an indefinite suspension is a lesser penalty because the right to drive can be quickly restored as soon as the conditions are satisfied.

The revocation of a driver’s license is a more serious penalty than a suspension; it means that the person can no longer legally drive in New York unless and until the DMV gives its approval. The right to drive can only be restored if the driver seeks approval from the DMV after the period of revocation expires. The DMV may require a passing grade on both the written and driving tests and the payment of a reapplication fee. The DMV may refuse to restore a revoked license if the driver has a high risk driving record or fails to meet the Department’s other requirements.

Losing the right to drive can have serious adverse consequences for a person. Anyone facing traffic violation charges that can be punished with an order for either license revocation or suspension may wish to talk to an attorney who specializes in defending such charges. A conference with a knowledgeable and experienced attorney can provide a helpful analysis of potential penalties and an evaluation of the likelihood of obtaining a favorable plea agreement or an outright acquittal.

Source: New York Department of Motor Vehicles, Suspensions and Revocations, accessed on Nov. 28, 2015

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