In the 1980s, Congress authorized license suspension for past-due child support and certain drug offenses. State governments soon followed suit. Today, drug offenses, past-due child support, unpaid traffic tickets and various juvenile offenses lead the list of social drivers' license suspensions.
Despite anecdotal evidence of success - drivers' license suspension is considered by some to be a legal form of arm-twisting - about 75 percent of motorists whose license is suspended or revoked continue driving. As one former judge noted, you don't need a license to drive. You only need a car.
Driving with a revoked, suspended or otherwise invalid license is like driving with a time bomb in the front seat, but the bomb does not have a visible clock. Millions of drivers are pulled over every year, and it is only a matter of time before your taillight burns out, your registration expires, or you roll through a stop sign when you think there is no one around.
California, like most jurisdictions, has a points system. 4 points in a period of 12 months, 6 points in a period of 24 months, or 8 points in a period of 36 months triggers a notice of suspension. After a hearing the state can take your license away for up to a year, in some cases. If you received an out-of state ticket, California assigns the conviction a comparable point total, so that Nevada speeding ticket appears on your record in Lamont and Shafter.