234Most people in California are heavily reliant on their cars. For this reason, those who find themselves with a suspended license are more than eager to get it reinstated. The ways to get a license reinstated depends on the reason for which it was cancelled, suspended or revoked in the first place.

This post will walk you through some of the options to have your license reinstated in California.

A driver’s license in California may either be

  • Cancelled

  • Suspended

  • Revoked

Cancelled Licenses

Cancelled licenses mostly result from administrative errors and can be the easiest to resolve.

Drivers who have had their licenses cancelled need to reapply for a license following the same process as for applying a new license. The only exception is that you may be asked to supply some additional documents. These include

  • Proof of legal residency or citizenship,

  • Social security number and

  • Fingerprints, and

  • Payment of the $31 application fee

Suspended Licenses

A license in California may be suspended for a number of reasons. For example; suspensions are issued for repeated incidents of less serious violations such as reckless driving. They may also be issued for failure to pay fines associated with some of these violations.

Reinstating a license after a suspension requires meeting the mandated terms and conditions.

  • Depending on the reason the license was suspended, the terms and conditions might include:

    • Completion of a substance abuse program

    • Completion of a driver training course

    • Proof of payment for fines owed

  • Once the conditions of the suspension are met, the driver must file for reinstatement of his or her license on DMV form 44.

  • Proof of insurance is also required in addition to payment of a reinstatement fee.

  • The fee depends on the reason due to which the license was suspended and ranges from $24 for suspension because of illegal drug possession to $125 for suspension because of a DUI.

Certain violations come with mandatory suspensions.

  • Negligent operators who have more than the allowed number of points against their driving record in a given period of time must have their license suspended for six months. Completion of traffic school is required in order to reinstate the license.

  • Drivers who are convicted of DUI for the first time in a 10-year period may have their licenses suspended for 6 to 12 months, depending on several factors. The factors considered include whether other drugs were involved, whether anyone was hurt, and how high the driver’s blood alcohol was.

Proof of insurance and completion of three to nine months of DUI treatment are required in order to apply for license reinstatement.

Revoked Licenses

Licenses may be revoked when people commit a single serious violation such as felony or several semi-serious violations, including misdemeanor crimes. Failing to appear in court for any of these crimes may also result in a license being revoked.

If a revoked license needs to be reinstated, the process is same as that for a suspended license reinstatement. However, there are exceptions to this rule and in some cases a revoked licence cannot be re-instated.

In cases where revoked licenses cannot be reinstated

In California, the crime of felony assault with a deadly weapon, where a vehicle was the weapon results in that person’s license being permanently revoked. In most other cases, a revoked license may be reinstated after a period of time that ranges from one to five years, provided that certain conditions are met.

In cases where a crime automatically result in a person’s license being revoked

If a driver is charged with reckless driving or hit and run and anyone is injured, he or she will have their license revoked for one year. Second and subsequent DUI convictions in a 10-year period result in the driver’s license being revoked for a period of three to five years.

  • The conditions for reinstating a license revoked due to reckless driving or hit and run with injury include 24 hours of traffic school as well as any fines and/or jail time.

  • The conditions for reinstating a license revoked due to DUI include variable amounts of time in DUI treatment and proof of insurance.

  • Some but not all DUI offenders are required to have an ignition interlock fitted in their vehicle before their license can be reinstated.

Although we have a lot of options to have our licenses reinstated, it would be wisest to always be very careful when behind the wheel and to keep ourselves up-to-date with the ever changing traffic rules and guidelines applicable in the state.


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Scott Desind

Scott Desind | Traffic Ticket Attorneys The Traffic Ticket Attorneys, Desind and Klijian, have over 25 years of experience fighting traffic tickets. Our attorneys are well respected and known for their experience in fighting traffic tickets, specialized knowledge of the law and procedures and results by the court personnel, officers, deputies, competitors and clients.