Can My License Be Suspended for a Car Accident?

After a car accident, several thoughts may run through your mind. Are you hurt? Do you need medical care? How will you pay for damage to your vehicle? Will the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) suspend your license?

A license suspension can significantly impact your day-to-day life, affecting your ability to get to work, run errands, and perform other daily activities. However, the DMV will only suspend your license under certain circumstances; generally, if you were not at fault for the collision and were driving legally, your license will not be suspended after a car accident.

Does an Accident Automatically Result in a License Suspension?

Getting into a car accident does not mean that the DMV will automatically suspend your license, regardless of whether it was a minor rear-end collision or a major multi-vehicle crash. However, certain situations may happen before, during, or after a crash that will lead to a license suspension.

The DMV may suspend a license if it determines that you were not driving safely or that you should not be allowed to operate a car for a certain amount of time. In serious cases, the DMV may revoke your license—meaning that you will lose all driving privileges until you prove your competence at a later time.

When Will the DMV Suspend a Driver’s License?

After an accident, a driver’s license may be suspended if any of the following circumstances apply:

  • You were driving without car insurance as required by California law. The suspension will remain in effect for four years or until you submit proof of insurance to the DMV.
  • You were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the collision. Depending on the number of previous offenses, your license may be suspended for two to four years.
  • You failed to report the accident as required by California law. You must report any collision to the DMV if someone is injured or killed, or if property damage exceeds $1,000.
  • You refused to take a drug or alcohol test when requested by a law enforcement officer. According to California’s implied consent laws, you must submit to a drug or alcohol test or your license will be suspended, even if you were not under the influence or did not cause the accident.
  • You were driving recklessly at the time of the accident. The DMV will suspend your license if your recklessness was found to have caused the crash, especially if you broke traffic laws or injured another person.

If your license was suspended by the DMV, it is important to contact a lawyer right away. An attorney can help you fight the suspension and prove that you were not responsible for the collision.

What Else Should You Know About Car Accidents in California?

California is a fault-based accident state. If you were involved in a crash and believed that someone else was responsible, you have the right to pursue a lawsuit or insurance claim against the at-fault driver. Through your claim, you can recover financial compensation to pay for medical care, lost wages, property damage, and other losses.

If you were involved in a car accident in California, contacting a personal injury attorney is important. An attorney can help you prove your right to compensation and hold the at-fault party accountable.