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Is It True Your License Can Be Suspended For Life After A DUI Conviction?

License suspension is a common punishment for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In most cases, a person's driving privileges will only be revoked for a short period of time (e.g., 12 months). Sometimes, though, the state will permanently ban drivers from the roadways. Here's how that can happen and what you can do about it:

Two Reasons Your License Will Be Permanently Suspended

Being convicted of multiple DUI's is the most common way people have their driving privileges permanently revoked. Lifetime bans are the most severe punishment that can be meted out to drivers. Therefore, states typically reserve it for extreme circumstances, one of which is being continuously convicted of driving while intoxicated.

A lifetime ban will often be triggered by receiving three DUI convictions within a 10-year period of time, but this may vary depending on the state you live in. Be aware that most states include DUI convictions obtained in other states. So if you live in Washington, a DUI conviction received in Nevada the year before will be included in the tally, for instance.

Another reason your license may be permanently revoked is if you commit a dangerous crime in the vehicle while under the influence. For example, discharging a firearm while driving or evading police can result in a lifetime suspension of driving privileges as can killing someone in a drunk driving accident. In this case, your license can be revoked permanently on your first offense, depending on the severity of the crime.

Getting Your License Back

Although you may be subjected to a lifetime ban, it may be possible to restore some or all of your driving privileges. One common way of doing so is to apply for a hardship license. This is a restricted license that allows you to drive to specific locations, such as work or school. If you're caught driving to other places not allowed by the terms of your reinstatement, your license will be taken away again.

To qualify for a hardship license, you may have to wait until one or more of your DUI convictions fall off your record. In Florida, for instance, you cannot get a hardship license if you've been convicted of DUI two or more times, so you would have to wait until your record only shows one conviction.

Other requirements for a hardship license include:

  • Retaking the driver's test
  • Paying a fine or reinstatement fee
  • Obtaining drug and alcohol treatment

It's best to discuss the issue with a DUI attorney who can advise you on the best way to handle this issue and get your license back.