"Driving is a privilege and not a right." In Louisiana, this saying is borne out through the many ways your license may be suspended or revoked. A number of criminal convictions, driving offenses, and other matters can cause the loss of your license. If you drive while your license is suspended or revoked, you could be charged with a crime.
Reasons for Suspension or Revocation
Your Lousiana driver’s license may be suspended or revoked for many driving offenses. For example, it may be suspended or revoked if you if you:
- are the driver in an accident resulting in death or injury to another
- have committed frequent enough traffic offenses that the state believes you disrespect traffic laws and disregard others’ safety, or
- are habitually negligent or reckless when you drive. (La. Rev. Stat. § 32.414(E).)
Criminal convictions relating to your driving may also result in a license suspension. Your license may be suspended if you are convicted of:
- driving under the influence
- manslaughter or vehicular homicide
- negligent homicide resulting from a vehicle
- a felony, if a vehicle was used to commit it
- failure to stop at the scene of an accident if you caused injury or death to someone, or
- three charges of reckless driving within a year. (La. Rev. Stat. § 32.414(A)-(B).)
Your license may be suspended or revoked for other driving offenses, criminal convictions, and other matters.
Reinstating Your License
You should not drive while your license is suspended or revoked. In some cases, you may be able to receive an early reinstatement or a restricted license if you can show that you need to drive to earn a living. (La. Rev. Stat. § 32:414.) Interlock ignition devices may be required if you receive a restricted license for some alcohol-related suspensions. (La. Rev. Stat. § 32:414.) Drivers must blow into the devices to show they are not intoxicated before operating their vehicles.
You may also be required to pay reinstatement fees before your license will be valid again. The fees depend on the reason for the suspension or revocation. In general, the reinstatement fee is $60. (La. Rev. Stat. § 32:414(H).) If your license was suspended or revoked for an alcohol-related offense such as DUI, it may be $100, $200, or $300, depending whether you have prior convictions. (La. Rev. Stat. § 32:414(I).)
In certain cases, including suspensions for DUI, you may be required to show proof of financial responsibility for your vehicle before your license will be reinstated. (La. Rev. Stat. § 32:896.)
If you are considered a habitual offender, you must show that you are financially responsible for your vehicle and pay a $100 reinstatement fee after your period of suspension or revocation ends. (La. Rev. Stat. § 32:1479.)
Charges for Driving After Suspension or Revocation
Driving on a suspended or revoked license is a crime. If you are charged, your sentence may depend in part on the kind of license that you had and whether you have previous convictions for driving on a suspended or revoked license.
If you have a Class D or E driver’s license, the maximum sentence could involve a fine of up to $500 and six months in jail. (La. Rev. Stat. § 32:415 (C)(1).
If you have a class A, B, or C driver’s license, the maximum sentence could involve
- a fine of up to $5,000
- six months in jail, and
- a civil penalty of up to $2,500 . (La. Rev. Stat. § 32:415 (C)(2).)
In certain situations, you could be
- fined a minimum of $300
- sentenced to a minimum of seven days in jail, and
- subjected to a civil penalty of $1,250 or $2,500. (La. Rev. Stat. § 32:415(D).)
For any conviction of driving on a suspended or revoked license, your period of suspension or revocation could be extended for a year. (La. Rev. Stat. § 32:415(B).)
Legal Help for Charges of Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License
If you are charged with driving on a suspended or revoked license, consider discussing your case with an attorney. A conviction brings the possibility of jail time, fines, penalties, and extended license suspensions or revocations. These serious consequences could make it difficult for you to stay employed, complete your education, retain or obtain insurance, and go about many other daily tasks. While Louisiana law provides a range of penalties for the crime, the prosecutor and judge on your case will have a hand in setting your sentence. A lawyer who knows how your area views the crime and is familiar with how these cases are typically handled will be able to give you specific information about your situation.