Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License in Kentucky

Criminal charges for operating a vehicle with a suspended or revoked license.

By , Attorney · University of San Francisco School of Law
Updated November 14, 2022

Your Kentucky driver's license can be revoked or suspended for a variety of reasons. If you drive while your license is suspended or revoked, you risk criminal charges and the possibility of having to pay fines and serve jail time.

This article explains the various reasons for license suspension or revocation and the penalties you'll face if you continue to drive on a suspended or revoked license in Kentucky.

What Does It Mean to Have Your License Suspended or Revoked?

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.

General Differences Between Suspension and Revocation

In many states, "revocation" and "suspension" are used synonymously and 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.

Difference Between Suspensions and Revocations in Kentucky

In Kentucky, a suspension and revocation are the same in most respects. Each type of revocation or suspension has reinstatement requirements. But the labels "suspension" and "revocation" don't make much of a difference.

What Are the Reasons for License Suspension or Revocation in Kentucky?

Below are some of the most common reasons a driver might face a license suspension or revocation in Kentucky.

Common Reasons for License Suspension in Kentucky

A driver might be looking at a period of license suspension for any of the following reasons:

  • your driving causes or contributes to an accident that kills or injures someone
  • you are a habitually reckless or negligent driver or you've committed a serious traffic violation
  • you've been convicted of assault and battery committed with a vehicle
  • police gave you a citation or summons and you failed to appear in court
  • you fail to produce proof of vehicle insurance when ordered to by a court, or
  • the state considers you a habitual violator of certain vehicle insurance laws, meaning you have operated a vehicle without insurance three times within a five-year period

However, this is just a partial license of the reasons for suspension. Lots of other violations can lead to a suspended license. For example, failing to pay child support can result in license suspension.

Common Reasons for License Revocation in Kentucky

License revocation is normally the result of some type of criminal conviction. Here are some of the most common reasons a driver's license might be revoked:

  • vehicular homicide (manslaughter or murder)
  • using a vehicle in the commission of a felony
  • three convictions for reckless driving within 12 months
  • hit-and-run
  • a second or subsequent conviction within five years for not having vehicle insurance, and
  • fraudulent use of a driver's license to purchase alcohol.

Again, this is just a partial list of violations that can lead to revocation.

What Are the Penalties for Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License in Kentucky?

If you're caught driving while your privileges are suspended or revoked, you'll generally face criminal charges.

Standard Offense Driving While Suspended or Revoked

In many situations, driving on a suspended or revoked license is a class B misdemeanor. A class B misdemeanor carries a maximum fine of $250 and up to 90 days in jail.

Driving on a DUI-Related Suspension or Revocation

If you drive while your license is suspended or revoked for driving under the influence, you can be charged with a class B or class A misdemeanor or class D felony and will face the following penalties:

  • six-month license revocation, up to $250 in fines, and up to 90 days in jail for a first offense (class B misdemeanor)
  • one-year license revocation, up to $500 in fines, and 90 days to one year in jail for a second offense within ten years (class A misdemeanor), and
  • two-year license revocation, one to five years in prison, and $1,000 to $10,000 in fines for a third or subsequent offense within ten years (class D felony).

These penalties are even more severe if the driver was under the influence when the present offense occurred.

How do You Reinstate a Revoked or Suspended License in Kentucky?

After your period of suspension or revocation has ended, you generally must pay a fee to reinstate your driving privileges. In most cases, the reinstatement fee is $40.

However, depending on the situation, you might have to meet other conditions (like getting caught up with child support payments) or retake driving examinations before you'll be able to drive again.

Legal Help for Charges of Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License

Driving on a suspended or revoked license is a crime with potentially serious consequences. These consequences can affect your employment and many other aspects of your life. So, if you've been arrested for driving with a suspended or revoked license, it's a good idea to get in contact with a knowledgeable attorney who can help.

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