The State of Arkansas will suspend or revoke your driving privileges for a number of different reasons, including alcohol-related offenses, poor driving behavior, or criminal convictions. If you drive with a suspended or revoked license, you'll likely face criminal charges that come with the possibility of jail time, fines, and further revocations or suspensions.
This article covers the various ways your license can be revoked or suspended and the penalties you'll face for driving during a suspension or revocation.
When your license is suspended or revoked, it generally means that the state has taken away your driving privileges. In other words, while the suspension or revocation is in place, you can't lawfully drive.
In many states, "revocation" and "suspension" are used synonymously, they mean the same thing. However, some states use the term "suspension" to mean a temporary loss of privileges and "revocation" to mean the permanent loss of privileges. But even in states where revocation is permanent, the driver can typically apply for reinstatement after a certain period of time.
In Arkansas, a suspension is considered a temporary loss of driving privileges, and a revocation is considered the termination of driving privileges. However, the only significant difference between the two is when it comes to reinstatement (see below).
The Office of Driver Services can suspend or revoke your license for a range of driving or other offenses. Some of the more common reasons for suspension or revocation include alcohol- and drug-related offenses and accumulating points on your record for traffic violations.
Some alcohol- and drug-related offenses can lead to license suspension or revocation. The list includes:
In addition, drivers younger than age 21 who are charged with driving with a blood alcohol content of .02% or more will face license suspension.
Arkansas' Administrative Point System assigns points to various traffic violations, such as speeding and reckless driving. If you accumulate 14 or more points within 36 months, you'll be looking at license suspension.
A number of other reasons can lead to suspension or revocation, including:
In addition, the office may revoke your license if you are in the United States illegally.
Duration of suspensions and revocations. The time period of your suspension or revocation depends on factors such as the reason for the suspension or revocation and whether you have previous offenses or convictions. Driving while intoxicated, for example, carries a 120-day license suspension for the first offense and a 24-month suspension for a second offense within five years.
Notice and requesting a hearing. In some situations, the office must notify you if it suspends or revokes your license. You may request a hearing in writing within 20 days after you receive notice. In some cases, such as a points-based suspension, a hearing will be automatically scheduled.
DWI suspensions. If you are arrested for certain alcohol-related offenses, including DWI, police can seize your license immediately and issue you a receipt that will allow you to drive for 30 days, after which a suspension occurs. Again, you can request a hearing within 20 days to review the proposed suspension.
Arkansas drivers whose licenses have been suspended may be eligible for a restricted license that allows them to drive to work, school, or other essential places if they have no other means of transportation.
In some DWI cases, the office may allow drivers to install an interlock ignition device and drive while their licenses are suspended. Interlock ignition devices require drivers to blow into a device to ensure they are not intoxicated before driving. The devices may be required after the suspension period ends.
You can be charged with a crime if you drive with a suspended or revoked license. The offense is a misdemeanor that carries:
And, if the original suspension or revocation was related to a DWI offense, the penalties are
The driver will also be given an extended period of suspension or revocation.
You can reinstate your license after your suspension period ends. If your license is revoked, you'll have to apply for a new license after you become eligible.
In addition to any other fees, the reinstatement fee is generally $100 multiplied by each order to suspend or revoke your license—meaning, your reinstatement fee may be more than $100 if multiple orders suspended or revoked your license.
You should consider consulting a lawyer if you are charged with driving after suspension or revocation. As you have learned, the crime can result in jail time, fines, and longer suspension or revocation periods. Your ability to get to work or school or to obtain insurance may be affected. Although the law provides the minimum and maximum penalties, in reality, your sentence will depend on the attitude toward the charge of judges and prosecutors in your city or county. An attorney who is familiar with these cases in your area is best able to advise you on your charges.