Suspended Drivers License in Wisconsin
Have you temporarily lost your license? Don’t worry. It may be inconvenient for a while, but it’s not the end of the world. And there are many ways to regain your driving privileges, too. Here’s everything you need to know.
First: What Happened?
Was your Wisconsin license suspended, or revoked? Technically speaking, license suspension is the loss of driving privileges for less than one (calendar) year, whereas license revocation is the loss of driving privileges for more than one calendar year.
Second: How Did It Happen?
There are actually several ways a person can lose their license. Here are some of the most frequently seen reasons:
- Excessive Moving Violations: Like most states, there’s a strict Wisconsin point system, where drivers are awarded points for moving violations. If a driver accrues too many Wisconsin traffic tickets and violations they’ll find themselves with too many points. Too many points in a given amount of time and you will face strict penalties. The point values vary with the severity of the violation, but if a person accrues 12 or more within a period of 12 months, their license will be suspended.
- Violating Wisconsin OWI Laws: This one should come as no surprise, and it applies to drugs as well as alcohol. The length of your DUI-related suspension will vary, depending on the severity of your violation, and whether or not it’s your first offense.
- Driving without Insurance: This is a very serious offense, and the state of Wisconsin does not take it lightly. If you’re caught without insurance, or cannot provide proof of insurance, you can have your license suspended.
- Etc: Other reasons vary widely, like trying to get a fake license by providing false information, or attempting to alter the information on your own license, or, if you have failed to settle a vehicle-related accident fine that you owe to the court.
What Happens Next?
Once you’ve determined the reason the Wisconsin DMV suspended your license, you need to establish the duration. You can call the court to find out, or find out in-person if you have to go in to surrender your license. You can also order your driving record report, which will spell out if your license is currently valid. This report also shows the current points on your record, and in some cases, information on accidents you’ve been part of.
However long your suspension, you probably want to plan for the worst. That means: pump up those bike tires, download the bus schedule, and call in ride favors – just because you can’t drive, doesn’t mean you can’t get things done.
Once you’ve figured out how to get around during your suspension, you can then begin to focus on getting the suspension lifted.
If you’re facing a suspension, you may still be able to get an occupational license. This operates like a restricted license, and allows you to drive only to and from work, church, or other places that will be indicated on the license, and at specific time of the day, too. There is usually a 30 – 120 day waiting period before you can apply for the occupational license, so you’ll still need that bike!
Once your suspension has been lifted, there is a process you must go through to get your license officially reinstated. Ahead of time you will want to prepare a letter with all your pertinent information (name, DOB, WI drivers license number, etc), along with a check for $50 and send it to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. In some cases, you will need to provide proof of insurance, and in other cases (you lost your license altogether) you will even need to go through the reapplication process all over again.
Suffice it to say, you can avoid the whole “suspended license in Wisconsin” mess entirely simply by being a safe and conscientious driver.