There is a difference between having your Kentucky driver’s license suspended and having it revoked.

  • A suspension means you cannot drive for a certain period of time, but can get your license back later.
  • A revocation of your license means your driver’s license is cancelled, and you will need to submit to an investigation before you can obtain another license.

Insurance companies keep a close watch on license suspensions / revocations. Your insurance premiums may go up drastically, and you may be labeled a “high-risk” customer. Even worse, your insurance company may cancel your policy, leaving you to search for insurance with the “high-risk” driver tag, meaning you’ll have to pay much higher premiums. It is recommended that you get in touch with a DUI/DWI lawyer as they are experts at handling such incidents and can offer you the best advice. Additionally, you will face Heavy Fines and Reinstatement Fees, and Points on your driver’s license! All this information can be found on our website. You could also contact an STA Advisor absolutely FREE!!!


There are a variety of reasons why your Kentucky driver’s license might be suspended. Some of these are related to specific driving violations, while others may be due to violation of other State laws. The following are some of the most common reasons for a Kentucky driver’s license to be suspended or revoked.

  • Excessive Moving Violations. The state of Kentucky operates on a point system, in which drivers accumulate points on their license for every moving violation they commit. If you accumulate 12 or more points on within 2 years (or 7 points in two years if you are under 18), your license will be suspended.
  • Driving Under the Influence. Your Kentucky driver’s license will be suspended if you are found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The length of the suspension depends on the severity of the violation and whether it is a first or repeat offense. For a first time offense, your license will be suspended for 30-120 days, for a second, for 12-18 months, for the third 24-36 months and for the fourth, sixty months (five years). In addition to this you may also have to spend time in jail and undergo a treatment program. Refusing to take a chemical test will also result in suspension.
  • Driving with a Suspended License or no License. Driving with a suspended license will lead to an increase in the length of the suspension, and you may also be imprisoned for up to five years. The duration of the additional suspension varies depending on the reason for the underlying suspension. Your driver’s license may also be suspended if you do not have your license with you while you are driving.
  • Driving without Insurance. All motor vehicles driven in Kentucky must be properly insured. Failure to provide proof of valid auto insurance can result in your license being suspended.
  • Other Driving-Related Violations. Your Kentucky driver’s license may also be suspended if you engage in reckless driving, are found to be at fault in a fatal accident or if you abandon your vehicle on a public highway. Other reasons include stealing a motor vehicle or any part of a motor vehicle, stealing gas, speeding, leaving the scene of an accident without giving aid or your identity, being convicted of reckless driving three times in one year, not completing or enrolling in a State Traffic School if ordered by the court, unlawful use of either your driver’s license or another’s to buy liquor, fleeing from the police, giving false information to the Transportation Cabinet, using a motor vehicle to commit a felony, homicide involving a motor vehicle and failure to complete a Graduate Licensing course within one year of getting your driver’s license.
  • Physical or Psychological Disqualification. The Transportation Cabinet can order a re-examination of any person who may not be fit to drive. An individual’s driving privileges may be suspended if the re-examination finds they are physically or psychologically unable to drive safely.
  • Non-Driving Reasons for License Suspension. A variety of non-driving violations or issues can result in your license being suspended. These include: not responding to a Transportation Cabinet notice or not appearing in court; failing to pay traffic tickets, fines or surcharges; and not paying child support.
  • Withdrawal of Responsibility by Parents/Guardians for Teens. If your parent/guardian withdraws responsibility for you, your license may be cancelled and you will have to wait until you turn 18 to apply for another permit and license.



Having your Kentucky driver’s license suspended is a serious matter and it is essential to adhere to State law in the event that your license is suspended. If you believe your license may be suspended due to one of the reasons listed above it is prudent to speak with a traffic ticket lawyer or a DUI-DWI lawyer. The most important things to be aware of following a license suspension are:

  • If your license has not already been taken away from you in court, you must surrender it to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. You can surrender your license in person at a Driver Licensing Field Office or a Circuit Court Clerk’s office or mail it to:

Division of Driver Licensing

200 Mero Street

Frankfurt, KY 40622

  • While your license is suspended, you are not permitted to drive. If you are found driving with a suspended license, you may be imprisoned for up to five years, and/or the length of your suspension may be increased.
  • After your suspension is over, you will receive a written notice of restoration, with instructions on how to restore your license. Do not drive until you have completed the necessary steps and received a valid, replacement license from the Kentucky TC.
  • You can apply for a hardship license at your local Circuit Court Clerk’s office, under certain circumstances. The fee for this is $5. More information on this can be found


If your Kentucky driver’s license has been suspended due to a DUI conviction, you may be able to obtain an order from the court allowing the KYTC to issue you a temporary hardship license which will permit you to drive to specific locations during specific times.

You may apply to the court for a hardship license for the purposes of: employment, medical care, school, attending an alcohol awareness course, attending a driver improvement course, court-ordered counseling or other programs.

To apply for this restricted license, complete and submit the Application for Hardship Driver’s License to the court. Once the court has granted an order for a hardship license, you must submit it to the KYTC.

NOTE: The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has the right to refuse to issue you a hardship license.


The KYTC will offer hearings to contest a suspended driver’s license in Kentucky for most suspensions that do not involve a court conviction. Most suspension hearings are for Point suspensions and Alcohol-related suspensions not resulting in a court conviction. The KYTC can suspend your driver’s license if your blood alcohol concentration is over the legal limit OR if you refuse to test (regardless of whether you are convicted of a DUI in court).

If you receive a notice of suspension from the TC, and you wish to challenge the suspension, you may request a hearing in court. An administrative law judge or a TC representative will hear your case, and determine whether your driver’s license should be suspended or not. You have 20 days after the mailing date of your suspension notification to request a hearing. If you do not request a hearing within that time frame, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended. Requested hearings will be scheduled as early as possible within 20 days of receipt of your request.

You may appeal a decision made in an informal court hearing. Appeals are conducted through administrative hearings.

In addition, drivers whose license may be suspended due to accumulating excessive points may be eligible to enroll in a Driver Improvement Program. Completing a Driver Improvement Program may remove points from the current driving record, and in some cases can enable an individual to avoid having his license suspended. It is also a good idea to seek the advice of a traffic ticket lawyer or a DUI-DWI lawyer, based on the reason for the suspension.


You will receive a notice from the TC after you have completed your suspension period. The notice will include complete instructions regarding how to get your license back. Generally, you will need to:

  • Pay a restoration fee of $40. The fee can be paid online or in person at a Driver Licensing Field Office or a Circuit Court Clerk’s office. You can also mail a check or money order payable to the Kentucky State Treasurer. Mail the check to:

Division of Driver Licensing

200 Mero Street

Frankfurt, KY 40622

  • Apply for a standard license renewal to obtain a new license.
  • If your license has been suspended due to an alcohol-related offense, you will be required to attend a state-approved alcohol education or treatment program.
  • Reinstatement fee payments are in addition to any other administrative or court fines you face for your suspension.
  • NOTE: You may only pay your reinstate fee online for Class D, E, and M licenses. You cannot pay your fee if reinstating a suspended CDL.


Note that after your license is restored, you may be subject to a probation period during which any new violations may result in an additional suspension of your Kentucky driver’s license.



CDL’s are suspended more easily than standard licenses. This is because commercial drivers are held to very high standards. Offenses leading to CDL disqualifications are categorized into the following: Major Offenses, Serious Traffic Violations, Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing Offenses, and Violations of Out-of-Service Orders. If you are convicted of a traffic conviction, regardless of vehicle type, you must tell your motor vehicle licensing agency within 30 days. (This does not apply to parking violations.)


  • Alcohol- and drug-related offenses, such as: Driving your commercial motor vehicle (CMV) with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04% or higher and refusing a test to determine your BAC (i.e. violating implied consent).
  • Fleeing the scene of an accident.
  • Using the CMV to commit a felony, including the manufacturing and distributing of a controlled substance.
  • Causing a fatality because of negligent CMV operation.
  • Operating a CMV while you have a disqualified, suspended, or revoked commercial driver’s license.


  • 1st violation: 1 year. (3 years if transporting hazardous materials.)
  • 2nd violation: Lifetime disqualification.

Major offenses can lead to CDL disqualification whether you commit them in a commercial vehicle or a non-CMV.


  • Excessive speeding (15 mph over the speed limit) or reckless driving.
  • Making improper lane changes.
  • Following vehicles too closely.
  • Violating any motor vehicle traffic control law (other than a parking violation) that results in a fatal accident.
  • Operating a commercial vehicle without a valid CDL or the proper CDL endorsements.


Your CDL will be disqualified after your:

  • 2nd violation within 3 years: for 60 days. (Your disqualification is subject to an administrative hearing where you may be able to contest the disqualification.)
  • 3rd violation within 3 years: for 120 days.


Railroad Highway Grade Crossing violations refer to offenses made when crossing a railroad in your CMV. Railroad violations include, but are not limited to:

  • Failing to slow down and check that the tracks are clear.
  • Failing to stop when required.
  • Driving across the tracks when you don’t have enough space or clearance.


  • 1st violation: At least 60 days.
  • 2nd violation within 3 years: At least 120 days.
  • 3rd violation and any subsequent violations within 3 years: At least 1 year.


If you violate an out-of-service order, your CDL can be disqualified as follows:

  • 1st violation in 10 years: Minimum 90 days.
  • 2nd violation in 10 years: Minimum 1 year.
  • 3rd violation or subsequent violations in 10 years: Minimum 3 years.

NOTE: For any violation, you are subject to additional fines and penalties imposed by the court.

NOTE: By law, you are required to notify your employer within 30 days of receiving a traffic offense conviction or by the end of the next business day after receiving a CDL disqualification notice.



Convictions, license suspensions, and revocations will show up on your 3-year and 5-year driving records. You may be able to dismiss traffic tickets and remove points from your driving record by completing an online defensive driving course. Because your driving record can affect your auto insurance rates and even your employment, it’s crucial that you make sure your information is accurate.

NOTE: By law, you are required to notify your employer within 30 days of receiving a traffic offense conviction or by the end of the next business day after receiving a CDL disqualification notice.



It is illegal for you to have any detectable amount of alcohol in your blood, breath, or urine when you are operating a commercial vehicle in Kentucky. If you test for alcohol, even if it’s below the legal limit, you will be given an out-of-service order for 24 hours.

Your CDL will be disqualified for any alcohol-related offenses outlined for standard driver’s license suspensions in Kentucky while driving a non-commercial vehicle. Additionally, CDL carriers must adhere to stricter rules while operating a commercial vehicle. Your KY commercial driver’s license will be disqualified if you:

  • Test for blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) over the CDL legal limit (0.04%), regardless of a criminal court conviction.
  • Refuse to test for BAC.
  • Are criminally convicted for DUI.

You may also face other court-mandated penalties and fines.



In order to reinstate your commercial driving privileges, you must wait for your disqualification period to end. Once you’re eligible to reinstate your KY CDL, you may have to retest for a new one.

If your commercial driver’s license has been disqualified for 1 year or more, you must take all CDL application tests. For more information, read our page about applying for a new CDL.

For more information about your CDL reinstatement, contact the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet:

By phone: (502) 564-1257 or in person: at any licensing office.