Suspending Your License for a Simple Traffic Citation

Utah has a weird law that permits a court to suspend a driver’s license for a simple traffic citation.  That means anything: having a headlight out; brake light out; speeding; swerving; having tinted windows too dark; not having mudflaps; running a stop sign; crossing over the stop line before a traffic light; not having your blinker on long enough; and a multitude of other infractions, since just about anything is a traffic violation.

Suspension for Not Following the Terms of a Traffic Citation

On every traffic citation there are instructions that the recipient has to follow. For example, on the left hand side of a traffic citation these words appears: “The defendant is hereby given notice to appear in court of [whichever court].”  The citation then provides the contact information for the court and states that the defendant has to contact the court between 5 and 14 days after receiving the citation.  Thus, if you don’t appear within the 14 day period, you can lose your license.  See Utah Code 53-3-221.

In fact, the driver’s license division can even suspend a license based on a standing or parking violation if the court issues an arrest warrant for the person for failure to follow the terms of the citation.

The driver’s license division is limited in the sense that notice of the pending suspension had to have been given to the defendant at least 10 days before.

Suspension for Not Paying a Court Fine or Having a Warrant

Another way a license can get suspended is if you are required to go to court for anything and you don’t; and, if you have outstanding court fines which you have not paid.  Most judges don’t ask the driver’s license division to suspend a license simply because a warrant is issued…but they can.  Likewise, a court can suspend for failure to pay court fines, but we’ve never seen that happen.

Once the order has been satisfied the defendant can get his license back.

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