How to Reinstate a Suspended New York License

Your New York driver’s license may be suspended for any number of reasons. These reasons include serious traffic violations, accumulating too many DMV points, and failure to maintain automobile insurance.

It is criminally illegal in New York to drive when you know OR SHOULD KNOW that your driver’s license or privilege is suspended. A suspended license also makes it difficult to live your life (and can result in substantially higher insurance premiums). 

When your driver’s license is suspended, you will want to remedy the situation as quickly and efficiently as possible.

This Article will discuss some of the reasons why license suspensions occur in New York—and how you can reinstate a suspended New York license.

Is your New York driver’s license suspended? Our traffic attorneys are experienced in lifting license suspensions to restore your driving privileges. We are ready to give you free advice as to your available options. Call us now at (212) 683-7373, or fill out our online form today.

Common Reasons for New York License Suspension

License and privilege suspensions occur for a number of different reasons, and how you clear them depends on the reason for the suspension.

Multiple Traffic Tickets

Accumulating 11 or more DMV points on your driving record within 18 months will also result in a suspended New York license.

Timely attending a DMV-approved Point and Insurance Reduction Program (PIRP) course will allow you to deduct 4 points from your accumulated total.

Auto Insurance Lapse 

If your license has been suspended due to a lapse in your automobile insurance coverage, the license can usually be reinstated by obtaining new coverage, providing proof of that coverage to the Department of Motor Vehicles and paying a fee.  For lapses greater than 90 days, you have to wait for the suspension period to end (one day of suspension for every day of lapse).

Drunk or Drugged Driving Charges

Your driver’s license can be suspended or revoked as part of a criminal conviction for drunk or drugged driving.

The exact charge levied against you will determine whether your license is suspended or revoked. It will also determine the length of time for which the license is suspended or revoked.

For example, a conviction for Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol (DWAI) carries a mandatory 90-day license suspension penalty. A conviction for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), on the other hand, carries a mandatory 18-month minimum revocation penalty. 

Given its seriousness and the mandatory nature of suspension and revocation penalties for conviction on such charges, it is highly recommended that you contact a New York traffic attorney immediately when you are charged with drunk or drugged driving.

Junior Driver Rules Violations

Violating the Graduated License Law Restrictions if you are a driver under the age of 18 will also result in a suspended New York license.

These rules vary depending on where you reside in New York State. The junior driver rules are different if you reside in New York City or Long Island, for instance than if you reside in Upstate New York. Restrictions include a requirement for supervised driving, among other things.

Failing to comply with junior driver rules can result in a 60-day suspension or revocation of your license.

Failure to Answer a Traffic Ticket

Failure to answer a traffic ticket will result in a suspension of your New York license. This suspension will persist until you dispute or pay the underlying ticket.

A New York and Long Island traffic attorney will be especially useful in assisting with this form of license suspension.

Failure to Pay a Driver Responsibility Assessment (DRA)

The more traffic tickets you accumulate in New York, the more likely you will be required to pay a Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee, or DRAF.  Accumulating 6 or more points on your New Your driver license within 18 months will require the payment of a DRAF.

If you fail to do so when required, your license will be suspended until the fee is paid.

Failure to File an Accident Report

Failure to file a motor accident report will result in a suspension of your driver license. This form of suspension will need to be addressed with the filing of the report and any additional steps required to remedy the initial failure.

Failure to Pay Child Support

Failure to pay court-ordered child support obligations will result in an open-ended, or indefinite, license suspension.

To reinstate a New York driver’s license suspended for failure to pay child support, you must contact your local child support enforcement agency or the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA).

Failure to Pay New York State Tax Obligations

Likewise, the failure to pay New York State tax obligations will result in a suspension of your driver’s license.

These suspensions must be cleared and reinstated through cooperation with the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance as to your particular tax payment requirements.

Administrative Review Suspensions

A medical condition preventing you from driving safely may also result in an administrative review suspension of your driver’s license.

This would occur if your physician reports that you suffer from such a condition to the DMV. The suspension will remain in effect until your doctor certifies that you no longer suffer from the impairing condition.

To reinstate your license when it has been suspended due to a medical condition, you must follow the steps outlined by your physician and the DMV’s medical consultant from New York’s Department of Health.

This form of suspension does not require the payment of a fee to reinstatement your license.

Definite vs. Indefinite License Suspensions

Some New York license suspensions are definite while others are indefinite.

Definite license suspensions are those which carry a specific term. Under a definite suspension, you will be unable to drive for a fixed period of time, after which you may pay the requisite fees (see below) and take whatever other steps are required to reinstate your license.

The following bases for license suspension are definite:

  • Drunk or drugged driving convictions;
  • Traffic point accumulation;
  • Junior driving rules violations.

An indefinite license suspension, on the other hand, is one that carries no fixed term. The suspension will last until you fulfill the condition resulting in the suspension.

These include:

  • Failure to answer a traffic ticket;
  • Failure to pay DRAF;
  • Failure to maintain continuous auto insurance;
  • Failure to file motor vehicle accident reports;
  • Child support payment failures;
  • New York State tax debt payment failures;
  • Additional failures to maintain or obtain auto insurance.

What Happens if I Drive with a Suspended License in New York?

Driving with a suspended license or privilege in New York can result in both criminal charges and an increase in your auto insurance premiums.

From a criminal standpoint, you can be charged with a crime called “aggravated unlicensed.” This charge carries the possibility of further fines and even imprisonment in some cases.

From the standpoint of insurance costs, your auto insurance premiums can increase for as long as 36 months if you are caught driving on a suspended license.

How Much Does It Cost to Reinstate a Driver’s License in New York?

The State of New York charges a suspension termination fee for the reinstatement of a driver’s license.  Your license or privilege will not be reinstated until this fee is paid.

How Can a New York Traffic Attorney Help to Reinstate Your License?

Regardless of whether you are dealing with a definite or indefinite New York license suspension, an experienced New York City and Long Island traffic attorney can maximize your odds of license restoration.

Our New York traffic attorneys will review the nature of your license suspension or revocation, and the underlying reasons for the suspension, and help you to understand the steps that must be taken to reinstate your license.

Is your New York driver’s license suspended? Our traffic attorneys are experienced in lifting license suspensions to restore your driving privileges. We are ready to give you free advice as to your available options. Call us now at (212) 683-7373, or fill out our online form today.

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Rodríguez T.
    April 8, 2023 10:46 pm

    There is a 60-day definite suspension on my license. If I pay a termination fee before 60 days, can I get my license back before it expires? Or should I definitely wait 60 days to get my license back?

    • Matthew Weiss
      April 9, 2023 7:56 am

      Rodríguez T,

      From what you write, you need to wait until your 60-day suspension expires before you can drive. The termination fee applies when you’ve served your suspension period and, then, want to get your license reinstated.

      Matthew Weiss

  • Ursinio nunez
    December 6, 2022 8:29 pm

    I have either a suspende or revoked license for an accident 40 years ago, need to take care of this problem so I can a license in my state

    • Ursinio Nunez,

      We can help you get your license reinstated. Call us tomorrow at 212-683-7373.

      Thank you,
      Matthew Weiss
      Attorney Advertising


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