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License Suspensions vs. Revocations

In New York, there is a critical difference between a driver’s license suspension and a driver’s license revocation. A suspension is for a fixed period of time, which ends automatically upon payment of a suspension termination fee. In other words, once you have reached your suspension expiration, DMV will reinstate your full driver’s license the minute you pay the required suspension termination fee. (without review of your driving record).  This is especially critical with the new DMV regulations dramatically increasing the sanctions for drivers with repeat alcohol and drug-related offenses.

A license revocation, on the other hand, is not for a fixed time period, and does not end automatically.  A license revocation is for an indefinite period of time and will never be restored unless (among other things) you (a) submit a reapplication to DMV with the appropriate reapplication fee and (b) submit adequate proof to DMV that you have completed all required alcohol and/or drug treatment.  Furthermore, during this process, DMV will conduct a review of your driving record, and will deny your application if your driving record contains too many “negative units” (you accumulate a certain number of negative units for each conviction of a moving violation) or you have been convicted multiple times in the past of alcohol- and/or drug-related offenses.

A critical exception to the general rules provided in this section is that, if you enroll in and successfully complete the Drinking Driver Program (including all required alcohol and/or drug treatment), DMV will terminate any outstanding suspension/revocation resulting from a DWAI, DWI, Aggravated DWI, DWAI Drugs or DWAI Combined Influence conviction unless (a) you are under 21, (b) you possess a Commercial Driver”s License, (c) you were also revoked for refusing a chemical test, or (d) you have a prior alcohol-or drug-related driving conviction within the preceding 25 years.