Legal Blog

What Happens if I’m Caught Driving with a Revoked License?

02 December 2022 | OWI,  Traffic Violations,  

Attorney Sean Hessler

Written by
Sean Hessler

02 December 2022

OWI,  Traffic Violations,  

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It can be frustrating if your Indiana license is revoked or suspended. It’s essential to follow the law and refrain from driving if you don’t have privileges. However, you still have options if you get caught driving with a revoked license.

An experienced traffic lawyer can help you navigate legal issues involving a revoked license. The more you understand, the better chance you will have to avoid the harshest penalties.

Why Would My License Get Revoked?

People often refer to a license as being revoked when it is suspended. In Indiana, a license may be suspended indefinitely, which has the same effect as being revoked in other states.

You may get a suspended license for the following:

  • Excessive Moving Violations – Indiana uses a point system, and excessive points may result in a suspended license. If you get more than 18 points, you will have to attend an administrative hearing at the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles. You may be placed on probation, or your license may be suspended. The BMV may also require you to take a Driver Safety Program (DSP) or Defensive Driving Course (DDC) before you can get your license back.
  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI) – If you are caught driving while intoxicated, your license will be suspended for up to two years. The exact length of time your license is suspended depends on the severity of the violation and whether it was a first offense.
  • Driving with a Suspended License or Without a License – If caught driving without a valid license, you may be imprisoned for up to five years. Your license suspension will be extended for an additional period of up to two years.
  • Driving without Insurance – If you are driving without current insurance, you may face a suspended license of 90 days for a first-time offense and up to one year for subsequent violations within three years. Additionally, you will have to submit an Affidavit of Current Insurance (SR50) or Proof of Future Financial Responsibility (SR22).
  • Other Driving-Related Violations – Your driver’s license may be suspended for any driving-related violation, such as reckless driving or excessive speeding. If you are found to be at fault for a serious accident, your license may also be suspended. If you have out-of-state tickets, Indiana may suspend your license.
  • Disqualification for a Disability – Your license may be suspended temporarily or permanently (often called “revoked”) if you have physical or psychological disabilities that make it unsafe for you to drive.
  • Other Non-Driving Reasons – Your license may be suspended for various non-moving reasons, including failure to appear in court, failure to pay traffic tickets, failure to pay child support, owing money to the BMV, or expulsion from school.
  • Habitual Traffic Violations – If you are repeatedly convicted of certain traffic violations within ten years, you may be considered a habitual traffic offender. If two or more significant offenses are related to an OWI/DUI, you may get a suspension for life or revocation.

Revoked vs. Suspended: What’s the Difference?

In most states, a revoked driver’s license differs from a suspended one. When your driver’s license is revoked, it has been altogether canceled. You must submit to an investigation to get it back.

However, a suspension means that you cannot drive with your current license for a period. Your driving rights will be returned later.

Indiana does not officially “revoke” driver’s licenses. Instead, license suspensions might last indefinitely, depending on your circumstances.

Consequences for Driving with a Revoked License

Driving with a revoked or suspended license is a severe offense. You may face financial and criminal penalties.

First Time You’re Caught

According to Indiana Code (I.C.) 9-24-19-1, anyone who operates a vehicle on a public roadway without driving privileges or having a suspended or revoked license is guilty of a Class A infraction. A Class A infraction can result in a fine of up to $10,000.

While this is only a “notice” that you may potentially face additional penalties, it can significantly impact your life. The financial impact of such a high fine can be devastating.

First Offense After Notice

If caught driving with a suspended or revoked license a second or subsequent time, you will face a Class A misdemeanor, according to I.C. 9-24-19-2. This applies to violations within ten years.

What Does Class A Misdemeanor Mean?

With a Class A misdemeanor, you may face up to five years in prison. Additionally, your driver’s license will be further suspended for up to two years more than your original suspension period.

Habitual Traffic Violations

Habitual traffic violations (HTV) include multiple violations of certain traffic offenses within a certain period. They can result in severe penalties, up to a lifetime suspended license.

What Makes Someone a Habitual Traffic Violator?

A habitual traffic offender is a person who, within ten years:

  • Violates two major offenses which result in injury or death
  • Violates three major offenses
  • Accumulates ten moving violations, including one major offense
  • Drives with a license that’s been suspended for HTV

Significant violations include reckless homicide in a motor vehicle, fleeing the scene of an accident, OVI/DUI, drag racing and speeding, and other serious offenses.

What is a Class D Felony?

If a person is catastrophically injured or dies due to a serious traffic offense, they may face a Class D felony. That can result in between six months and three years in prison, along with a $10,000 fine, according to I.C. 35-50-2-7.

What is the Reinstatement Process?

Once your suspension period is finished, you must go through the reinstatement process. This involves submitting proof of insurance and paying reinstatement fees. You can do most of the process electronically or with the assistance of an experienced license reinstatement lawyer.

If your suspension period is not finished, you may still be able to get driving privileges with a hardship license. This will allow you to drive to and from school, work, or other necessary places while your driver’s license is suspended.

How Can a Lawyer Help Me?

Indianapolis criminal defense lawyer Sean Hessler has extensive experience working with people who have license suspensions. We know that you need to get your driving privileges back to return to everyday life. We aim to help you get back in your car as quickly as possible.

Call Hessler Law P.C. today at (317) 886-8800 or contact us online for a consultation.