If you're been convicted of a DUI, then you likely lost your right to drive -- i.e., your driver's license was taken away. To get back the freedom of the open road, you'll have to get someone official to reinstate your license after the DUI proceedings are done.
The exact process differs depending on the state you live in, but generally the way you go about getting your license back involves a series of similar steps.
Spoiler alert: You may have to spend time (and maybe a lot of it) at the DMV as you go through process. But other than that, the steps to reinstating your license aren't too difficult.
The first step to regaining your driving privileges is determining how exactly it was taken away. Some DUIs result in a suspended license, while in other cases your license is revoked.
That distinction makes a real difference. It's much easier to reinstate a suspended license as compared to a revoked one.
If your license was just suspended, you normally have to pay a fee and provide proof of insurance. That may require a visit to the DMV, depending on your state.
If your license was actually revoked, there's a bit more to it. Here are the general requirements to get it restored:
- Complete all court requirements. You may have to attend an alcohol awareness class, take a driving course, or pay a fine, but whatever it is, get it done. Until you complete of all the court's requirements, you won't get your license back.
- Get proof of insurance. Most states require insurance, and some need specific proof to reinstate your license. Call your insurer to get the paperwork done ahead of time.
- Show up at your hearing. You might have to attend a hearing before the court will allow your license to be reinstated, depending on how serious your DUI charge was. If that's the case, take it seriously because if it doesn't go well, you won't get your license back.
- Pay the fee. On top of any court fees you have to pay, there's generally a reinstatement fee to pay before you get your license back. Pay up promptly, and that little piece of plastic is (hopefully) yours.
The way your state reinstates a license after a DUI may be a little different, but these steps should lead you in the right direction. Your DUI lawyer will know the specific laws for where you live, so don't be afraid to ask for help.
- Am I Entitled to Notice and a Hearing Before the State Revokes My Driver's License? (FindLaw)
- How to Get Your Driver's License Revoked (FindLaw's Blotter)
- 3 Ways to Challenge a DUI Blood Test (FindLaw's Blotter)
- Top 3 Mistakes When Hiring a DUI Lawyer (FindLaw's Blotter)