When you were first learning to drive, your mother or father might have repeated this phrase that many other New York parents say to their children: "Driving is a privilege not a right." If you're now a parent yourself, you might have already experienced those moments where you are speaking to your child, but it sounds like your own mother's or father's voice is coming out of your mouth.
The fact is, although it's a colloquial quip of sorts, used to inculcate the idea of the serious responsibility and benefits involved with becoming a licensed driver, the message itself happens to be true. There are actually various situations that can result in losing one's driving privileges, either temporarily or on a permanent basis.
Can they take your license away?
If you depend on your vehicle to get to school or work every day, receiving a notice in the mail saying your license is being suspended can come as a shock and cause immediate and potentially long-lasting inconvenience. Below are some of the most common factors associated with drivers' license suspensions:
- Points: Quite opposite of games and competitions where the more points you score the better, accumulating points on your driving record is not a good thing. Such points are penalties for various types of infractions. How many points correspond to each type of penalty varies by state. In all states, however, if you get too many, your license may be suspended.
- Document errors: It's no secret that where there are systems, there are often mistakes as well. If a driving record contains inaccurate information, it could still lead to a license suspension because of the information listed. Drivers may be able to avoid such problems by regularly reviewing their records to check for accuracy.
- Criminal offenses: There are certain things that are criminal offenses, not traffic violations, and several of which may result in immediate license suspension or revocation.
- Lack of insurance: Not only must you retain current auto insurance, you must typically carry proof of that insurance in your vehicle as well. Failing to do either may place your license at risk for suspension.
Even in situations where there's been an obvious mistake, it could still take some time to rectify the situation. In the meantime, you could face having no means for transportation. There are also circumstances that activate an automatic license suspension, such as refusing a lawful request to submit to a Breathalyzer or other chemical test if pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. In New York, that means a one-year suspension the first time you refuse chemical testing.
Testimony that you refused to take chemical tests can also be used against you in court if you are charged with drunk driving. This means a prosecutor could tell a jury that you refused to take tests upon request, which could obviously negatively impact the outcome of your situation. If you're worried about driver's license suspension for any of the above (or other) reasons, you can discuss the situation with someone used to dealing with such matters, such as an experienced defense attorney.