What Can Cause Your Driver’s License to be Suspended in New York?

Written By: Benjamin Goldman, Esq.

Driving in New York is a privilege, not a right. Several things can lead to your driving privileges being suspended, and some of them may surprise you:

  • Conviction of a serious traffic violation. One example would be reckless driving in a school zone. Judges have the discretion to suspend even where the driver does not have 11 points in 18 months.
  • Conviction of multiple traffic violations. Even if the level of traffic violations was not considered “serious” by the state of NY, if you rack up multiple lesser violations, the state may suspend your license.
  • Failing to purchase auto insurance or auto insurance coverage lapsed for non-payment or non-renewal. If your car is registered but you have not had insurance on it for more than 90 days, your license will be suspended for the same number of days it was registered without insurance coverage.
  • Conviction of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious crime. Depending on the offense, the state may suspend a driver’s license or revoke driving privileges entirely.
  • Receiving too many traffic tickets in a short time period. The DMV assigns different points to different types of violations. If, within 18 months, you accumulate 11 points or more, your license may be suspended.
  • Failing to follow the law for junior drivers. Special restrictions apply to drivers under the age of 18 in New York, and failing to follow these can result in license suspension.
  • Failing to answer a traffic ticket. If you receive a traffic ticket, you must answer it either by contesting it or paying it. If you don’t do either, you risk license suspension.
  • Failing to pay a fine for a traffic ticket. If you plead “guilty” to a traffic ticket but don’t pay your fine, the state may suspend driving privileges until the ticket has been paid.
  • Failing to file an accident report. If you were involved in an accident in New York, state law requires you to file an accident report. Failing to do so can result in suspension of your license.
  • Failing to pay child support. If the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) notifies the state that someone is behind on child support payments, the state will suspend driving privileges until notified that child support payments are current again.
  • Having unpaid tax debts to the state of New York. If you owe more than $10,000 to the state for taxes, your license will be suspended. If it’s your first violation, you’ll have an opportunity to take care of the debt before your driving privileges are taken away.
  • A medical condition makes it unsafe for you to drive. If you have a serious medical condition that could impair your ability to drive safely, the state may suspend your driving privileges until your physician certifies that the condition is controlled and you driving no longer presents a danger.

If your license has been suspended for any of these reasons, don’t drive during the suspension period; doing so can lead to fines and additional penalties.