An accident has occurred. You were driving and you don’t know what to do next. Maybe you are worried that your license will be suspended because of the nature of the accident. Is it possible for a lawyer or your insurance company to suspend your license, even if the police do not? How should you proceed if your license is suspended?
Can you get your license suspended for an accident?
The simple fact of getting into a car accident does not mean that your license will be suspended. This is true for both minor and major accidents. However, there are certain circumstances that may occur during or after the crash that could lead to you having your license suspended.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is the government office that regulates licenses. Their main goal is to make sure that drivers are safe and that they obey traffic laws. If they find that someone is not driving safely, they can either suspend or revoke a person’s license. These findings are generally collected by police officers who arrive at the scene of the accident.
Suspension of a license means that the DMV has determined that you should not be able to operate a motor vehicle for a specified amount of time. If you do operate a vehicle while under suspension, you will face more serious charges like a fine or a revoked license. If your license is revoked, this means that you lose all driving privileges until you can prove that you will be a safe driver.
Reasons a license may be suspended after an accident
There are several reasons your license may be suspended in California after an accident. These include:
- Driving without insurance: Your license will be automatically suspended if you are in an accident and you do not have insurance. This is true even for minor accidents. Generally, the suspension is for four years, but you may be able to start driving again after a year if you provide proof to the DMV that you have obtained insurance.
- Driving under the influence: If you get a DUI conviction, your license will be suspended for six months. This includes being found to be drunk or under the influence of drugs after an accident has occurred. California has extremely strict DUI laws, and your license may be revoked for two to four years if you receive more than one driving under the influence conviction.
- Failing to report an accident: Even if the accident is minor, make sure to report it. If you do not, you may have your license suspended.
- Refusing to take a drug or alcohol test: An officer will come to the scene of the accident once it is reported. They may ask you to submit to a test if that officer suspects the accident may have been caused because you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you refuse, your license can be suspended. This is true even if you did not cause the accident or you are not under the influence of a substance.
- Driving recklessly: Depending on the severity of the accident, your license can be suspended if you are found to be the cause of the accident. This is especially true if you broke traffic laws or drove recklessly which caused injury or harm to another.
- Failure to pay a citation: You may be found at fault for the accident and the officer may have issued you a ticket. Your license can be suspended if you do not pay the ticket or you fail to appear in court.
What else do I need to know about suspended licenses after an accident?
While a lawyer can help you fight a license suspension, they do not have the power to suspend your license. Additionally, your insurance company also does not have the power to suspend your license. The insurance company does have the power to raise your rates or even refuse further coverage. They can also report driving information to your local DMV which could lead to a suspension.
You may have further troubles if you are caught driving on a suspended license. In California, this is a crime and you can face jail time, community service, and hefty fines. This is especially true if you cause an accident that leads to serious injury or the death of another. It is also likely that your license will be revoked and you will be forbidden from driving any further.