My Driver’s License Has Been Suspended. Will Bankruptcy Help Me Get It Back?
So your license was suspended for DUI. Or maybe you merely failed to show proof of insurance at a traffic stop. Or you were randomly selected to show you have insurance and you didn’t have any. Maybe you accumulated 12 points in a 2-year period. Or you might have caused an accident but weren’t insured.
Whatever the reason, a license suspension can have dire and far-reaching consequences for one’s quality of life and the ability to hold onto a job. Many of our clients come to us under serious hardship due to a license suspension. The first question they ask is, “Can I file bankruptcy to get my driver’s license back?” The answer is, as with many things in life, “It depends.”
1. How to Get Your License Reinstated
In some situations, the debt leading to your license suspension may be dischargeable in bankruptcy. In these cases, you can merely take to the appropriate location the following:
- a copy of your bankruptcy petition and
- the document listing the BMV reinstatement fees as a debt.
This should initiate the process of getting your license reinstated.
NOTE: Reinstatement fees to the BMV may not be dischargeable if you have a Financial Responsibility suspension, which results from failing to have insurance at the time you get a traffic ticket or are in a motor vehicle accident. You also may still be required to get insurance with higher coverage limits or a SR-22/bond.
2. Non-Dischargeable Traffic Fines
As a general rule, most fines are dischargeable whereas crimes are not. For example, the following may not be dischargeable. Suspensions arising from:
- drunk driving,
- failure to file an accident report,
- reckless operation,
- attempting to elude, or
- hit-and-run accidents.
So in those scenarios, bankruptcy may not be helpful in getting your license back.
Also, most traffic offenses carry related charges, such as court costs. Some of these amounts stay with you after your other debts have been discharged. Of course, the bankruptcy would allow you to quit paying many of your creditors and concentrate only on those debts that are non-dischargeable. Bankruptcy could thus free up money in your budget so that you can pay off those debts.
3. Getting to Work
If a bankruptcy cannot be filed right away, you may nevertheless need your car or truck to get to work and back. And there is a way to make that happen. You would request “limited driving privileges.” This would limit your driving to traveling from home to your office or jobsite and then, right after work, returning directly to your house.
In fact, limited driving privileges available for other necessities as well. Privileges may be requested for keeping a doctor’s appointment or attending school. Unfortunately, Ohio requires a person to do “hard time” (a period without a license) first, before becoming eligible for limited privileges.
Speak to a Cleveland OH Bankruptcy Attorney
The answer to the question “Can I file bankruptcy to get my driver’s license back?” depends on many factors. If you are struggling because of a suspended driver’s license or are simply struggling with overwhelming debt, speak to a Cleveland Oh bankruptcy attorney. We can discuss your options, as well as help you determine what bankruptcy chapter best suits your needs. Contact Benson Law Firm today to learn more about our services.