Driving While Suspended: Can You Be Saved by the Mail?

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Any time your driver’s license is suspended, the DMV will mail a letter to the address listed on your license alerting you to the suspension. This standard procedure opens the possibility for you to be driving on a suspended license without your knowledge. After all, they don’t call it “snail mail” for nothing!

What would happen if you were pulled over before you received the notification in the mail? Could you use the lag time to get out of being charged for driving without a valid license?

In many cases, a license suspension happens during a DMV hearing or as part of sentencing after being found guilty of a serious violation. In those instance, while a notification will still be sent via mail, you would have no excuse for not knowing that your license is invalid — a judge would have informed you of the suspension at the trial.

However, sometimes licenses are suspended because a driver accrued too many points on their license. A suspension can also occur if you are found guilty of speeding three times in 18 months (or twice in a work zone in 18 months). A situation like this could creep up on you, especially if you have a habit of just paying tickets without regard for how many points they carry or how long it’s been since the last violation.

Unfortunately, telling the police officer that you did not receive a notification (and therefore did not know your license was suspended) is not likely to get you out of being arrested. The law makes it your responsibility to know whether or not your license is valid. Every driver is expected to know the circumstances under which a suspension can occur and to be mindful of whether or not those circumstances apply to them.

If you suspect your license has been suspended, do not get behind the wheel! Driving without a valid license can result in a charge of Aggravated Unlicensed Operation (AUO). This is a criminal misdemeanor that can cost you up to $500 in fines and lead to 30 days in jail. A conviction could also cause your insurance premiums to skyrocket or result in you being dropped by your insurer altogether. If you or a loved one has been charged with driving without a valid driver’s license, it is urgent that you get legal representation to help fight for your rights and minimize the consequences. Call the Rosenblum Law Firm at 888-203-2619 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

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