This article was originally published Dec. 7, 2017, and updated in Jan. 2020.
Continuing to drive when you have a suspended license is a serious offense. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, up to 75 percent of convicted drunk drivers in some states continue to drive illegally with a suspended license. This statistic demonstrates that driver’s license suspension alone is not an effective way to prevent drunk driving recidivism, especially in states with less stringent drunk driving penalties.
For those who think it is worth the risk of getting caught, we answer the following question “What happens if you drive on suspended driver’s license and are caught?”.
State Penalties for Driving While License is Suspended or Revoked
Each state has its own laws that determine what will happen if you drive with a suspended license. In California, for example, you can receive jail time between five days and six months and pay fines between $300 to $1,000 for a first offense. In Iowa, you’ll receive a fine of $240 to $1,500 and a longer license suspension for an additional like period or for one year, whichever is shorter. In Texas, driving with a suspended license is a class C misdemeanor and has a fine of no more than $500.
Penalties Based On Reoffense of Driving Illegally
Other penalties may include community service, vehicle impoundment, seizure/destruction of license plates, permanent license suspension/revocation, all of which varies depending upon if it’s a first or subsequent offense. In Washington state, the penalty is called DWLS (Driving While License Suspended) and can include jail time in addtion to a extended period of license suspension.
Increased Time and Monetary Penalties
As you can see, the laws vary across states and per person. In addition to these penalties, your monitoring authority may add time to your ignition interlock device requirement. You might also be required to carry SR-22 insurance for a longer period of time, ultimately costing you more money than complying with your ignition interlock requirement.
Ignition Interlock Device Requirements
In all 50 states, it’s illegal to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you’re convicted of a DUI, you will receive some sort of license suspension. Many states either require drivers to apply for a restricted license or allow them to apply for a restricted license if they install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.
Ignition interlock devices are proven to be the most effective way to prevent drunk driving recidivism. Some drivers feel like they can get away with not installing an IID during their license suspension. If you are caught driving without an IID, you can face serious consequences, including license revocation, fines, tickets, vehicle impoundment, added time on your IID requirement and increased legal expenses.
What if I Don't Own a Vehicle?
Some people believe they can bypass the IID requirement if they don’t have a vehicle. However, when you are convicted of a DUI, have a license suspension and are required to drive only with an IID, you are breaking the law if you choose to drive without an IID. Learn more about what to do if you are required to install an IID but don’t own a car.
Intoxalock Can Help
Driving with a suspended license can be tempting, but it’s not worth the risk. If you need help installing an ignition interlock device or have questions about your IID requirement, call Intoxalock customer support at (833) 623-0200.