Find Out if a Driver's License is Suspended

Written by J. Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

If you want to find out the status of a driver's license, you can only request it for yourself or have a legally acceptable reason to request this information. The rationale for this is to protect people's privacy.

The Federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act only allows the driver, insurance agent, employer, government agency, court, or law enforcement agency to request someone?s driving record. The federal government will impose fines on people who sell information on drivers or on people who lie about their reasons for obtaining the report. Most state applications have options for the requester to identify what category they represent. Occasional audits are performed to verify the legitimacy of the request.

Procedures to find out if a license is suspended vary from state to state. If you need the report for yourself, you can just go down to your local driver exam station and request a copy. Remember to bring a valid photo ID and some money. Each state sets its own fees.

If you are not near a driver's exam station, you can do a search for your state's official DMV website. Once you find the website, the state may simply give you a yes or no answer right on line about whether a license is suspended. For example, in the state of Washington, just enter the driver's license number. A yes answer means the license is current. A no answer means the license is expired, suspended, canceled, or surrendered. See for yourself at www.dol.wa.gov. The website will walk you through the rest.

Some states will have an online form that you can complete and send in to the state's DMV office. Remember to include the check or money order. For example, in South Dakota, go to www.dps.sd.gov and look for the licensing section. The website will guide you to the right form based on whether you are the driver or if you are a third party requesting the information. In most states, the information required to find out if a license is suspended includes driver name, address, license number, and date of birth.

Fees charged by the state are modest compared to the charges imposed by a commercial company to run the check for you. One site, DMV.org charges almost $40 for a report on one person. It would be best to order from the state as the information will be up to date.

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