Driver’s license suspensions can happen for a number of reasons, from a failure to pay child support to serious driving infractions such as reckless driving, drag racing or a DUI.

Typically, if you have a suspended license in one state, you must deal with the suspension there and get that license reinstated before you obtain a new license in another state. States will allow you to exchange an out-of-state license for a new license when you move within the U.S. However, the driver’s license you are turning in needs to be valid.

Most importantly, if your license is suspended, don’t drive.

Jason Turchin, Esq Attorney with the Law Offices of Jason Turchin in Weston, Florida.
Jason Turchin, Esq
Attorney with the Law Offices of Jason Turchin in Weston, Florida.

“If someone has a prior conviction for driving with a suspended license and continues to drive, they could be subjected to punitive damages or additional criminal charges if they get into a car accident for their willful failure to follow the law,” says Jason Turchin

Key Highlights
  • You cannot get a new license in a new state while your license is suspended.
  • States check the National Drivers Register (NDR) when a person applies for a driver’s license.
  • Until you meet the reinstatement requirements of your state, your license will remain suspended.
  • You will have to take a driving skills test to get your license reinstated if it has been suspended for more than a year.

Can I get a driver’s license in another state?

No. You cannot move to another state and obtain a driver’s license (DL) there while your license is still suspended in your previous state.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the administrator of the NDR and states that the NDR contains a listing of names and related identification, provided by State driver licensing officials, of those “problem drivers” whose licenses have been canceled, denied, suspended or revoked or who have been convicted of certain serious traffic violations.

All states check the National Drivers Register (NDR) when a person applies for a driver’s license.

You can also check the NDR to see if you’re listed as a Problem Driver Pointer System (PDPS)

Can another state suspend your license?

Another state may suspend your license for a number of reasons. Getting too many speeding tickets, driving under the influence or leaving the scene of an accident may result in an out-of-state license suspension. Also, the state where the suspension is issued will inform your home state’s DMV using the National Driver Register.

If you are moving to a new state and your current driver’s license is suspended, contact the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for your new state to see what advice they can give you about getting a license.

Learn more If I move to another state does my driving record follow me

What happens if your license is suspended in another state?

If your driver’s license is suspended in another state, there isn’t much you can do about it. You will receive a notice from the state’s DMV. Read your license suspension/revocation notice carefully. It will have instructions on when and how to get your driver’s license reinstated.

Getting a license in another state after the suspension is no easy task. Depending on the severity of the charges, you may be prohibited from driving for a specific amount of time. Also, you may need to complete some classes before being allowed to drive again.

Certain cases might require taking driver’s license tests. And if your license is suspended due to DUI, you may be asked to take a class on substance abuse for your privileges to be reinstated.

How long does the suspension in another state last?

Your license will remain suspended indefinitely until you meet all the state requirements and get a new license. There is no limit as to how long the suspension will last.

You may have to take written, vision and driving skills tests in order to show you are prepared for the road. However, if your license has been suspended for more than a year, then you will have to take the driving skills test.

Are you still confused about your license status?

If you’re not sure whether your driver’s license is still suspended, make an appointment with your local DMV and visit an office in person or contact the DMV via phone or online.

Expert Advice
Kevin Malone Public information officer for the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.

Kevin Malone

Public information officer for the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.

“You can check the status of a Nevada license and obtain reinstatement requirements by visiting dmv.nv.gov and using the Contact Us form,” said Kevin Malone.

“Nevada checks the National Driver Registry at each application for a driver’s license original, renewal or reinstatement.”

What is the Driver License Compact?

The Driver License Compact or DLC is an agreement between states to share information about traffic violations, drivers’ license suspensions, and revocations. The motto of the compact aligns with its purpose: “One Driver, One License, One Record.”

There is a federal requirement for state licensing agencies in the U.S. to check applicants for driver’s licenses against the NDR.

This mandate is intended to help prevent problem drivers from “license shopping,” meaning a person would go to a different state to get a new license when their current license is suspended or revoked by the NHTSA. Keeping problem drivers off the road is critical to the NHTSA’s goal of reducing highway fatalities and injuries.

If your license is suspended, can you get it back?

What happens when your license is suspended? Well, with a suspension in one state, you should be listed on the NDA database. To check and see if you are listed on it there is a form you must complete and have your signature notarized, and then mail the completed form to the National Driver Register. Forms that are not notarized will not be processed by them. You then can find out if you are listed on the NDR.

You can get your driver’s license reinstated, but you’ll need to make sure you follow your state’s requirements prior to obtaining a new license.

What happens when the suspension is resolved?

When your suspension or revocation is resolved, then your first step is to get a clearance letter from the state where it was issued, which you’ll have to request and make sure it’s compliant with all state requirements. You will also need a copy of your current driving record that is not more than 30 days old.

Take these documents along with your expired driver’s license to your DMV in order to have the suspension manually removed and pay a fine for reinstatement, which can vary depending on state law.

Sources:

  1. NHTSA “National Driver Register.” Accessed May 2022.
  2. NHTSA “Problem Driver Pointer System.” Accessed May 2022.
  3. Nevada DMV “Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles Official.” Accessed May 2022.

– Michelle Megna contributed to this story.

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Laura Longero
Executive Editor

Laura is an award-winning editor with experience in content and communications covering auto insurance and personal finance. She has written for several media outlets, including the USA Today Network. She most recently worked in the public sector for the Nevada Department of Transportation.