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Revocation vs. Suspension

Revocation and suspension are the siblings of DUI convictions; although they are related and often spoken of together, they are distinctly different. Accordingly, driving on a revoked license constitutes a separate offense from driving on a suspended license. Revocation of a license is defined as a formal action to terminate a license, which cannot thereafter be renewed or restored, but only replaced upon application for a new license. Suspension, on the other hand, is less severe and results only in the temporary withdrawal of a person's license or driving privileges.

A careful comparison of the statutes defining license revocation and suspension indicates that all revocations are mandatory, while some suspensions are permissive. The DMV is required to revoke a license upon receipt of final conviction for the offenses of manslaughter or vehicular homicide resulting from operation of a motor vehicle, and driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Suspensions may be viewed as more of a slap on the wrist than an actual termination of driving privileges.


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