Driving on a Suspended License in Alabama

Criminal charges for operating a vehicle while your license is suspended or revoked.

By , Attorney · Santa Clara University School of Law
Updated January 08, 2021

As in all states, drivers licensed in Alabama who have been convicted of certain driving violations or other offenses face having their driving privileges suspended or revoked. Suspension means that the Director of Public Safety temporarily withdraws your license to drive. Revocation means that the Director of Public Safety terminates your license; to be licensed again after revocation, you must apply for a new license after your revocation period ends.

Driving while your license is suspended or revoked is a criminal offense.

Reasons for License Suspension or Revocation

Lots of circumstances can lead to license suspension or revocation. Some of the most common driving-related reasons that can result in the loss of driving privileges include:

  • driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that exceeds the legal limit (typically, .08% or more)
  • unlawful refusal of a DUI chemical test (a blood or breath test, for example)
  • being involved in a collision resulting in death, injury, or more than $500 in property damage
  • driving without insurance, and
  • accumulating 12 or more traffic violation license points in a two-year period.

The Director of Public Safety might also suspend or revoke your license for certain convictions, including:

You might also face license suspension for reasons unrelated to driving, such as having an unpaid judgment against you.

How Licenses Are Suspended or Revoked

Suspension and revocation periods vary depending on the circumstances. But, generally, the Director of Public Safety can't suspend your license for more than a year.

Drivers who are facing suspension or revocation have the right to appeal in court. When a suspension or revocation comes directly from the Director of Public (as opposed to a court), the driver is supposed to receive notice of the suspension or revocation and of the right to request a hearing.

Once your license is canceled, suspended, or revoked, you must surrender it by returning it to the Director of Public Safety. Refusal to do so is a misdemeanor. When your suspension period has ended and your license is reinstated, the Director of Public Safety must return your license to you.

Ignition Interlock Restricted Licenses

In addition to a period of suspension or revocation, drivers convicted of DUI offenses are required to use interlock ignition devices for an additional period of six months to six years, depending on the circumstances. Interlock ignition devices require drivers to blow into a device that tests for breath alcohol before starting the vehicle.

Occupational Restricted Licenses in Alabama

Drivers may be familiar with "occupational restricted licenses," which allow those with suspended or revoked licenses to drive to work, school, community service, or other specified activities. In many states, these limited driving privileges are available for certain drivers.

In Alabama, hardship licenses are available only in a few limited circumstances, including for participants in work release programs through the Alabama Department of Corrections and drivers who can show they have no other reasonable means of transportation.

Conditions for License Reinstatement

After your suspension or revocation period has ended, you must apply to the Director of Public Safety for reinstatement and pay fees to get your license back. The reinstatement fee is:

  • $275 for drug- or alcohol-related offenses
  • $175 for other revocations, and
  • $100 for other cancellations and suspensions.

A person whose license was suspended for medical reasons is not required to pay a reinstatement fee.

Penalties for Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License

Driving with a license that is suspended or revoked is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine between $100 and $500 and up to 180 days in jail. In addition to the fine and other costs, Alabama imposes an additional $50 penalty.

At the discretion of the Director of Public Safety, the driver's license may be revoked for an additional six months. And, under certain conditions, the vehicle driven by the person with the suspended license can be impounded.

Getting Help When Facing a Charge of Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License

As you have learned, driving after suspension or revocation is a crime that can result in fines, jail time, and other penalties. These are serious consequences that can affect your ability to keep a job, attend school, retain or secure insurance, and generally live your life. The law specifies a range of punishments, but the actual sentence will depend in many cases on how judges and prosecutors in your area view the offense. Only a lawyer familiar with how these cases are handled will be able to give you that information.

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