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Revocation of License vs. Suspension of License


A driver’s license is the tangible proof that we have ample knowledge and discipline to navigate a vehicle in the road where unwanted incidents can occur. However, these licenses are not permanent and can be taken away from you once you have violated its grounds. One example is driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs and alcohol which are an expensive offense in Las Vegas and the entire state of Nevada.

When caught with violations like this, there can be an instance of revocation or suspension of license—something many people are still confused about. What is the difference between license suspension and revocation?

Difference between suspended and revoked

Suspension of (driver’s) license is simply the cancellation of your driving privileges for a certain period of time. This can last for months to at least a year. Revocation, on the other hand, is the complete and permanent removal of your driving license and the benefits you can have from them.

License suspension can also be either definite or indefinite. With a definite license suspension, there will be a declared period where you cannot exercise your freedom to drive while with indefinite license suspension, you could have your license back if you make a move to reinstate it through paying your fine or appearing in court.

In some cases, revocation can take up at least five years with times where the court does not provide a certain time when the revocation will end. During years or revocation, you cannot legally operate a car as you also cannot be granted with a new driver’s license.

In short of the whole license suspension vs. revocation bout, suspension is short-lived while revocation is long-term. You will also have to get a new license once the revocation period is over.

Reasons of license suspension or revocation

The law will decide whether your license will be suspended or revoked. The decision depends on the magnitude of the driving violation committed. For example, there is death involved.

Here are some of the driving faults that could cost you your license based on the official ground rules of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in Nevada:

Driving under the influence

When the results of breath, blood, urine, and other sobriety tests prove you have exceeded limits of alcohol and drug intake then your license can be suspended or revoked. This is one of the major causes of removal of licenses in Nevada.

Point Suspension

Due to traffic violations, you can earn points in your driver’s license and when you demerit more than 12 points within 12 months then it means you get either a license suspension or revocation.


An accident involving pedestrians or cyclists is one of the prime reasons of license abolishment. As mentioned, injuries or fatalities also make up for more serious consequences.

Failure to Appear

This means not settling your penalties or not appearing in court for your trial.

Security Deposit

When involved in a road incident that costs more than $750 in injury and property damage without insurance, you can either get a suspended or revoked license.

Failure to Maintain Insurance

This is when you fail to provide a proof of your financial responsibility when asked by the police or the court.


Vandalism on cars, walls, or any other properties can also result to suspension or revocation of your license. This is to curb violators from getting to one place to another to commit prohibited graffiti.


This one applies to juveniles who are caught carrying or using firearms. Just like with vandalism, their licenses are suspended or revoked to stop potential use of firearms.

Child Support

You can also earn a problem with your license when you have troubles with child support such as not providing them sufficient or in the right time.

Street Racing

Unsurprisingly, engaging on vehicle racing can also lead to suspension and revocation of your license.

Alcohol and Drugs

Adults and juveniles will also find their license deprived from them if they are found guilty of purchasing, using, and possessing alcohol and drugs.

Apart from what is listed above, you can also have your license revoked even when you have not caused misdemeanors, felonies, or any other violations. Your health, age, and other inevitable elements can also be factors that could mean losing your license.

Reinstating your license

A license or revocation case is different from the actual case that caused the removal of the license in the first place—you will have to work with it separately. In short, if your court case is dismissed it does not mean automatic reactivation of your license. You still have to undergo processes laid down by DMV in order to get your suspended or revoked license back.

To reinstate your license, you need to head to the DMV office and apply to have your old license back (for suspended) or have a new one (for revoked). Usually, the procedure includes a vision test, a written exam, and a driving test if your license has been suspended or revoked for a year. You might also have to clear your criminal liabilities in the court, provide a SR-22 financial proof of responsibility, and install an ignition interlock device if there is DUI involved in the case.

Driving with a suspended or revoked license

While the information above that differentiates a license suspension or revocation is more than truthful, the real difference between revocation and suspension can be ultimately realized when one drives with either of the two license conditions. Driving with a suspended license holds civil penalties (no jail times) while driving with a revoked license could mean criminal charges (jail times and other heavy penalties).

According to NRS 483.560, driving with a revoked license because of DUI is a misdemeanor and you can get charged with at least six months in jail, fines of up to $1,000, and additional penalties to your already existing license predicament.

If your license is not relieved due to DUI then the court usually only levies a misdemeanor with a fine of $1,000. This applies both for a revoked and suspended license.

Furthermore, being caught driving with a suspended license will double the present suspension period while an added year of revocation will be given to the violator and they cannot apply for a new one under that duration.

For more about revoked vs. suspended license, you can read more about it here on DMV’s page dedicated to the subject matter or you can ask your criminal defense attorney that is well-versed in the field.

Having your license suspended or revoked could limit your liberty. For this not to happen, you should be disciplined in driving as being careless could not only strip you off your driving privileges but could also cause damage to property and lives of others.

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