Can You Register A Car With A Suspended License?

Wondering if it's ok to get a car with a suspended license

Car registration is a document from the state confirming that the car is cleared to be on the streets and that I have paid the dues on the car.

A driver’s license is the privilege extended to me to drive on the roads. With a suspended license, I lose my right for a specific period of time.

But, can you register a car with a suspended license?

If the state suspends my license for whatever reason, it doesn’t mean that I cannot own a car in the meantime.

So, yes, I can register one with a suspended license. But this changes depending on the state laws and also the dealer.

Few dealers require proof of insurance before releasing the car. If my dealer is also the same, then there could be trouble getting the car past the gates.

In order to obtain insurance, I need a valid license, which in my situation is suspended.

And most importantly, to register my car, few states require my insurance, which again is impossible with a suspended license.

Can I circumvent this catch and register my car? Actually, you can do that, but that again depends on your dealer.

Registering A Car With Suspended License

Technically speaking, nothing is stopping me from purchasing a car. But the question is, can I take the car out of the dealership?

Though I have the ownership of the car, I most probably cannot take the car out on the road, not with the suspended license.

Most states like Pennsylvania and Texas allow me to register my car with a suspended license since license and registration are separate entities.

All you need for registration is the ownership title and a manufacturer’s title in the case of a new car or a prior registration receipt in the case of a previously owned car.

I can also use my Bill of Sale in case my title hasn’t arrived yet.

However, you might run into trouble with insurance since few dealers might require a valid license before issuing it.

They use it to determine the premium. Also, with a suspended license, my insurance rates can skyrocket depending on the traffic violations.

If my state requires insurance for registering my car, I might be in a tangled situation.

In such circumstances, I can ask for a restricted license or SR-22 insurance. This enables me to not just register my vehicle but also to drive it temporarily.

Without the above, it still is illegal to take the car to the roads by myself.

As long as any other driver takes the car, it should be okay, provided that I have registered and insured my car.

Failure the follow the laws could land me in hot water much more than I am ready to handle.

An exception to the above is if you are dependent on your license to get to and from work with no other alternate option.

In that case, you can get an exemption with which you can register your car and also insure it.

Restricted License

A suspended license takes away my driving privilege for the period mentioned in the penalty.

I can buy and register my car in the meantime, conditional to the laws of the state.

But, that doesn’t mean I can drive or buy insurance. Even if you could buy insurance, it is possible only in non-standard insurers.

Despite that, I have another option that is restricted to people with medical needs or do not have anyone who can drive me around.

Needless to say, this depends on state to state and relies on the reason for your suspension and prior violations.

The hardship license or restricted license allows me to drive on a conditional basis. It can be only during the day or for approved purposes like school or work.

But, if this is my second license suspension, I may not be able to apply for a restricted license.

Few states also have night-time curfew, and violating that can revoke your hardship license.

Conditional License

Some states like New York and South California also offer something called a conditional license.

Similar to a restricted license, a conditional license also permits me to drive to pre-approved locations and timings.

Having said that, to obtain a conditional license, I have to finish a DMV-sponsored program.

For instance, New York has a conditional license program, where drivers who had their licenses suspended for drunk driving violations can get one after attending an impaired driving program promoted by DMV.

Illinois requires the drivers to appear for a hearing and attend counseling before issuing a conditional license.

Florida, on the other hand, has its drivers pass a 12-hour traffic school to provide one. In the case of DUI, most states also ask for SR-22 insurance.

SR-22 Insurance

Rather than insurance or license, SR-22 is a document filed with the DMV. It simply states that I have insurance with minimal coverage as dictated by the law.

Other than for a hardship license, the court might order you to get an SR-22 for the below reasons:

  • Not paying child support
  • Driving Under Influence
  • No insurance
  • Traffic violations
  • Repeat offenses

Provided that I already have insurance, all that’s pending is to get an SR-22 that most standard insurers do not entertain.

If I do not have insurance, I need to get a policy and let the insurer know about the SR-22 requirement. Upon purchasing the insurance, my insurer will file the SR-22 with the DMV.

The general policy with all insurers is to verify the driver’s license before issuing insurance.

Unfortunately, most insurers would not encourage a person with a suspended license unless it is non-standard insurance like General or Titan.

So, it’d do good to choose the insurer with care when in need of SR-22.

Alternative Approach For Registration

It is near impossible to insure my car with a suspended license, that’s unless I go about it the right way.

With a suspended license, insurance companies take for granted that there is no need for insurance.

On the same note, wrong information or even withholding facts can end up getting my claims denied.

To circumvent that catch, I would choose another driver for my vehicle, someone who I trust my car with, a family member perhaps.

  • On the assumption that the primary member is my spouse, she can obtain the insurance, but I would be ruled out as the driver.
  • If the primary member is not my spouse but is living with me, I could be added to the policy but not as a driver.

Then again, not all insurance companies accept the terms, since I am considered high-risk with a suspended license.

In-short, I should be looking for an insurer who offers me a policy with my spouse as the primary driver, even if I own the car.

I can also look at adding my spouse to be the co-owner as joint ownership prevents many insurance dilemmas.

Another option is to buy a non-owner insurance policy and buy the vehicle in the name of a family member, perhaps my spouse.

This is beneficial in the sense that my insurance premium will be high, considering my suspended license.

With this policy, you can bring the rates down while paying a nominal amount.

Driving with a suspended license is illegal, and if caught, it can mean prison term.

Not just that, in case I am in an accident with me being wrong, I can lose my license, and my insurance rates would shoot up really high with no means of going down in the coming years.

Suspended License Or Revoked License

Suspension of a license indicates that the driving privilege has been suspended and cannot drive until the time mentioned in the notice is up.

Driving on the road is not a right but a privilege extended by the state.

After the time limit, I need to pay a fee and get my license reinstated. A license suspension can be either definite or indefinite.

In the event of a definite suspended license, the time limit is mentioned in the suspension order.

I will not be able to drive for the time period, but after that, I would be, provided I pay the termination fee.

Your suspension is definite if you are guilty of the below:

  • No valid insurance
  • For driving under the influence
  • Irresponsible junior driver
  • Several speeding tickets within a short time

For indefinitely suspended license, there’s no limit, and I would not be able to take to the roads lest I fulfill the conditions set by the DMV.

Apart from the below, the DMV can suspend my license if any medical condition prevents me from driving safely.

  • Unanswered traffic tickets
  • Overdue traffic fines
  • Unpaid child support
  • Outstanding state tax
  • Uninsured vehicle or insurance lapse

On the other hand, with a revoked license my driving privilege is canceled.

After the recommended period, I have to apply for a new license in the condition that I complete the requirements ordered by the DMV.

Also, I would have to re-do the driving tests, including the written one.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: How Will I Find Out If My License Is Suspended?

When your license is suspended, the DMV sends a communication by mail to the current address mentioned in the records.

It contains details of the infractions, the fees, and the steps you need to take to reinstate your license.

And that’s exactly why you should update your current address in the DMV every time you move.

Q2: How Can I Reinstate My License?

Your local DMV would send you a notice about the suspension of the license. The letter also includes details about the infractions, the fines, and compliance instructions.

You need to pay the dues and also complete the requirements for the DMV reinstate your license.

The requirements for reinstatement is also mentioned in the DMV’s website. Few states like Texas, maintain a license eligibility database online.

You can access the system online and get the information pertaining to your license. Once you meet the stipulations, the DMV reinstates the license.

Q3: How Much Does It Cost To Reinstate The License?

Fess to reinstate the license differs from state to state and is a cumulative total of all the fines.

Again, it also depends on the offenses and restrictions. For example, in California, the fees might look like,

  • Fees to reissue the license – $55
  • Removing court restriction – $15
  • Drug suspensions – $24
  • DUI – $100
  • Removing restrictions on license – $20

It can be more if you have an administrative suspension or a drug-related suspension. Georgia, on the other hand, charges $200 for a first-time DUI. Your DMV can give you more details.

Q4: Can I Renew My Tags With A Suspended License?

Yes! You can renew your tags without any issues since your license doesn’t play into that.

As long as your registration is current and the proof of registration with you, there shouldn’t be any problem with renewing the tags. But, I suggest you contact your nearby DMV for clarification.


Getting the license suspended is a major life changing issue that can reciprocate in many areas as it takes away your ability to drive, albeit for a short period.

What if I need to register my car with a suspended license?

No issues, I can register my car with a suspended license. But, only if my state laws allow the same and the dealer doesn’t think it is a problem.

The issue occurs only when I try to apply for insurance.

While I cannot apply for insurance with me as the driver, I can do so in my spouse’s name or apply for a non-driver insurance policy. This allows me to own a car and also register it.

But, what if I am handicapped with a suspended license and have no one to drive me around?

I can apply for a hardship license or a conditional license. Both are temporary licenses with tons of restrictions, but they can get the job done until I can reinstate my license.

More importantly, I dare not try to drive my vehicle with a suspended license.

Not only is it illegal, but also causes cascading problems starting with the laws, insurance, a revocation of license, and probable jail time.


Written by Kane Dan

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