In short, it depends on the state that you live in. In certain states like Massachusetts, a judge can suspend your license if you have been convicted of drug charges such as possession and/or distribution of an illegal substance (even if your charge has nothing to do with driving). The logic underlying the court’s ability to suspend a license for non-driving drug-related offenses is that if you have an addiction to drugs as well as a vehicle, it is likely that you will drive at some point while under the influence. States also choose to enforce punitive penalties for drug possession or distribution that include license suspensions to deter others from doing so, as well as punish offenders. Furthermore, if you are pulled over by the police and it is discovered that you are driving while under the influence, it will be considered a DUI offense that can carry with it a mandatory license suspension. According to Attorney Brian Simoneau, there may be an opportunity to have your case dismissed in the event that you are facing charges or receive a hardship license if you have been convicted and had your license suspended. Learn more about license suspensions related to drug charges below.
Obtaining a Hardship License
If you have been convicted of a drug charge or DUI (involving drugs), it is likely that your license will be suspended. However, some people have the opportunity to apply for a hardship license (also called a restricted license). Each state has its own set of requirements for eligibility that take into account your need to drive (i.e. school, medical appointments, work, etc.), availability of public transportation, past convictions, driving history, and many other factors. Additionally, you may have to attend a drug addiction program, install an ignition interlock device, and obtain SR-22 insurance to be eligible. You can apply for a hardship license on your own, but working with an experienced attorney can increase the probability of approval.
How to Potentially Avoid Getting a Suspension
Those with a DUI or drug charge conviction will almost certainly have their license suspended (in most states). In many cases, the only way to avoid this consequence will be to have your case dismissed (especially in the case that you are charged with a DUI) or lobby the courts for a lesser punishment (if you are convicted of a drug charge). In both cases, it is in your best interest to consult with an attorney to offer yourself the best opportunity of keeping your license.
Consequences of Driving on a Suspended License
Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of driving on a suspended license. While your short-term goals of reaching a specific destination may be accomplished by doing so, if you are pulled over by the police, you may face stiff consequences. Potential punishments for driving with a suspended license include fines, added time to current license suspension, probation, and potentially jail time. The risks of driving on a suspended license are simply not worth the trouble.
Why You Should Consult With an Attorney
If you have been charged with a criminal drug offense, it is recommended that you consult with an attorney as soon as possible. A seasoned criminal defense attorney will investigate all factors of your case to include whether or not your arrest was legal if any rights were violated, and if the prosecution can present enough proof for a conviction. Furthermore, an attorney will have the ability to effectively negotiate with the prosecution and potentially lessen your penalties if convicted or have your charges decreased. There are many penalties that can be enforced as a result of a drug charge, the suspension of your driver’s license is one that can be damaging for your career as well as finances.