Road Law
Bad advice

By Jeff McConnell & James Mennella, Attorneys at law

Recently a member had a case that was going to result in a suspension of his driver license. Since he was going to move away from that state and relocate to another, his attorney told him not to worry about getting reinstated once the suspension time expired. Although it sounded like a good idea at the time, it turned out that this was a sleeping dog that didn’t lie.

Q. I was convicted of a violation that caused a suspension of my driver license. I moved to another state and obtained a license, but now I can’t renew my license because there is a hold on my license. How can they do this?

A. There are many ways the states communicate information to one another. Most are members of the Driver License Compact (DLC), Non-Resident Violator Compact (NRVC), National Driver Register (NDR), Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS), etc.

At one time a driver may have been able to have more than one driver license or have a suspension in one state, but still possess a valid driver license issued by another state. With these agreements and computerized modernization across the country, it doesn’t happen too often any longer.

In order to renew your current driver license, you will need to comply with the reinstatement requirements from the state where your license was suspended. Once you get this accomplished, the hold on your license should be lifted in the computer system and you can renew your license.

Q. I went through my paperwork and found the reinstatement requirements. However, because of the time since this happened, the reinstatement fee has more than doubled. Do you think I can get them to accept the original reinstatement fee that was on the paperwork?

A. Although the reinstatement fee was lower at a point in time, these costs tend to increase over time. In your case, the reinstatement fee was increased by statute, and the department of motor vehicles may not have the ability to accept the lower amount. Your only option would be to ask to speak with a hearing officer or similar official to see if there is anything that can be done about the fee.

Q. What if I can’t get reinstated before my license expires? Can I still operate a vehicle?

A. In most instances you don’t want your license to expire before renewal. Many states now have strict identification requirements in order to obtain your license after expiration and specific locations where you have to go to obtain it. Also, if the license expires, you may have to be retested. It isn’t that big a deal for a normal license, but if you have to be retested for a commercial driver license that could be a much bigger issue.

The answer to your second question is always “no.” If you do not have a valid license or your license is revoked, suspended, etc., then you do not want to operate any vehicle. Depending on where the citation is issued, a driving while suspended charge can often be an arrestable offense. Further, in most states a conviction of this charge will result in a suspension/revocation of your driving privileges, and for CDL purposes the feds require that you be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle for one year. LL

Send any questions or comments regarding transportation law to: Jeff McConnell and James Mennella, Road Law, 3441 W. Memorial, Suite 4, Oklahoma City, OK 73134; call 405-242-2030, fax 888-588-8983, or email

This column is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Land Line Magazine or its publisher. Please remember everyone's legal situation is different. Consult with an attorney for specific advice on your situation.