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Top 7 nondriving violations for license suspensions



Man hanging suspended from clothes lineThe American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) is pushing for states to eliminate laws that suspend your license for nondriving violations such as truancy, fuel theft and failure to pay child support or parking tickets.

In a 2012 report, the AAMVA identified 59 nondriving offenses that can lead to suspension of a driver’s license. All 50 states and the District of Columbia allow withdrawal of driving privileges for at least some nondriving-related reasons. The AAMVA followed up that report last year with a "best practice" guide urging states to rescind these laws, saying that such suspensions for "social nonconformance" are:

  • Not effective in preventing drivers from breaking such laws.
  • Overwhelming court, licensing authorities and law enforcement resources that could be more effectively used to focus on traffic-related scofflaws.
  • Making it difficult for drivers on the margins of society and/or in rural areas to stay employed, trapping them in a cycle of fines and driver suspensions.
  • Resulting in more than one-third of the drivers with suspended licenses losing their driving privileges for reasons completely unrelated to driving.

The report, "Best Practices Guide to Reducing Suspended Drivers," cites the following as the most common non-driving related reasons for license suspensions among 43 jurisdictions surveyed:

1. Failure to comply with a child support order

2. Minor – alcohol possession/consumption

3. Fuel theft

4. Failure to pay a non-moving violation

5. Fraud/misuse of a driver's license

6. Truancy/fail to attend school

7. Controlled substances conviction

The AAMVA best-practices report urges states to consider repealing these laws and replacing them with the following alternatives:

  • Garnishment of wages
  • Exempting drivers behind on child support payments from losing their license if "such suspension is found to be an impediment to employment"
  • Amnesty programs allowing qualified drivers to reduce time of or eliminate suspensions
  • Court ordered community service
  • Opting out of the federal mandate requiring loss of license for drug convictions

Bi-partisan support for new law in Indiana

At least one state is listening. A bill that becomes law in January in Indiana erases many of the automatic suspensions for nontraffic violations, gives judges more discretion in license suspension cases and includes a restricted license provision.

David Powell, head of the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, in a written statement, called driving on a suspended license “a crime of poverty.”

“In my county, most of the cases I saw were people who couldn’t afford their reinstatement fees, so they just kept driving and just kept getting caught and caught and caught,” he said.

The consequences are harsh:  In Powell's state, the first time someone is caught driving with a suspended license, it's a Class A infraction with a $150 fine. The second offense is a Class A misdemeanor with a fine of up to $5,000 and up to a year in jail. A third time is a Class D felony, with a jail term of up to three years and a fine of up to $10,000. Once more and it’s a Class C felony and up to eight years in prison. License reinstatement fees escalate from $100 to $300 for each offense. Additionally, once your license is reinstated, you will likely pay high car insurance rates because insurance companies will consider you a high-risk driver with lapsed coverage.

“We’re not taking away the authority of judges to suspend the licenses of drivers who are dangerous and shouldn’t be on the road,” Rep. Jud McMillin, R-Brookville, who authored the bill, said in a written statement. “What we are doing is giving them the authority to fashion a sentence that fits that person. There needs to be a mechanism for judges to allow people who’ve committed those crimes to work their way back into society.”

Nondriving offenses that can mean a suspended license

The AAMVA notes that the list below is not comprehensive, but instead is a compilation of responses from 43 states and provinces regarding nondriving-related suspensions:

Offense       Jurisdiction

  • Abandoned vehicle: NY
  • Advocate overthrow of government: NY
  • Altering, defacing signs/signals: SC
  • Assaulting a traffic officer: NY
  • Assembling/operating amusement park ride while intoxicated: TX
  • Auto/cargo theft: CA, GA, MN
  • Boating while intoxicated: TX
  • Bomb threat/volatile chemical: MI, NY, TX
  • Bounced/bad check: AR, CO, FL, LA, ME, MD, MN, NE, RI, UT, VT
  • Buy/sell liquor without a license: AZ
  • Child in need of services: NH
  • Controlled substances: AR, GA, IN, IA, MI, MN, MT, NY,OR, PA, TN,TX, UT, VA
  • Department of Health overpayment: TX
  • Dispensing gas to a dirt bike: MD
  • Failure to appear/comply/pay(nonmoving violations: AZ, AR, CT, FL, HI, ID, IA, LA, ME, MI, MT, NE, NH, NF, OR, SK, TX, UT, VA, WI, WV
  • Failure to complete education program: CT, SC, TX, VT
  • Failure to obtain hack license: NY
  • Failure to pay alimony: NE
  • Failure to pay child support: AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, LA, ME, MD, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NH, NM, NY,  ND, OH, OR, PA, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, SC, VA, WA, WI, WY, WV
  • Failure to pay parking violation(s): IL, MI, MN, RI
  • Failure to pay tax: LA, OR, SC, VT
  • Failure to pay tolls: IL, ME
  • Failure to submit to genetic test:FL
  • False public alarm: VT
  • Felony: MT
  • Fictitious plate/registration/inspection:CT,TX
  • Flying while intoxicated:TX
  • Fraud/misuse of a driver's license: AR, CA, CO, FL, GA, ID, LA, MI, MN, MT, NE, ND, OR, PA, RI, SK, SD, UT, WA, WI, WV
  • Fuel piracy/theft: AR, CO, FL, GA, IL, IN, IA,LA,  MD, MI, MN, MO, MT ND, OH, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, WA, WV
  • Handicap space/placard violation: AR, IL
  • Immigration/visa expiration: MN, TX
  • Identity theft: CT
  • Littering/from a motor vehicle: AR, OR
  • Minor - alcohol possession/consumption: AR, CA, CO, CT, GA, ID, IN, IA, MD, MI, MT, NH, NM, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WI
  • Minor - controlled substances: CA, IA, WA
  • Minor; using false ID to purchase alcohol: IN, MD, MI, NY, TN, TX, VT, VA
  • Minor – possession of a firearm: AZ, CA, FL, VA, WA
  • Minor – tobacco violation: OR, TX, VT
  • Minor in a bar: UT
  • Open container/possession - passenger: FL, IL, MI, MN, NM
  • Outstanding U.S. District Court citation: MD
  • Parental withdrawal: CO, GA, IA, MN, ND, TX, VT, MO, MT, SC, UT
  • Perjury: OH
  • Prostitution/solicitation/failure to appear at john school:CA, FL, SK
  • Providing false information to law enforcement: MI
  • Public intoxication/consumption: IA, TX
  • Sell/buy alcohol to/for a minor: MN, SD, TX, VT, VA, WY
  • Sex offender violation: NH, TX
  • Soliciting with HIV:OH
  • Solid waste burning: VT
  • Theft: FL
  • Tow truck driver graft: CA
  • Truancy/failure to attend school: AZ, CA, GA, ID, IL, IA, LA, NM, OH, OR, PA, TX, VA, WI, WV
  • Unattended child in a running auto: WA
  • Unpaid college/student loan: IA, MT
  • Unruly child /juvenile suspension: OH
  • Vandalism/graffiti: CA, FL, TX
  • Weapon/threat in school: AR, IN, IA, OH, OR, PA, TN, VA

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8 Responses to "Top 7 nondriving violations for license suspensions"

    Texting and/or being on the phone while driving should be added! There are so many accidents because this is allowed in many states.

  2. Bert Smith

    Why isn't Delaware listed as prescribing penalties for any of these offenses?

  3. william lee

    You will not lose your license but you can receive a ticket or maybe be arrested in Pascagoula, Mississippi for fishing from horseback on Main Street.

  4. TyBryant

    Add Virginia as a state that can suspend your driving rights if you fail to pay a parking ticket. I got suspended for a simple ticket that I had no idea I got, but after talking to the judge it was lifted.

  5. bob okerfelt

    How come Massachusetts isn't listed anywhere? A lot of these laws apply here.

  6. Barry

    I can see using a credit rating for a new insured person (less than 5 years). However, if a person has been with the same insurance agency for over 30 years, the company should use past performance for setting rates.

  7. Richard

    Lost my license in Virginia for failure to show proof of dog vaccinations (they wouldn't accept out-of-state proof).

  8. Rao

    I just realized you can get your license suspended for moving out-of-state without informing the VA DMV.