How to Get a Washington, DC Driver’s License Reinstatement

Getting your D.C. driver’s license reinstated will cost $98 and you will need to pay any outstanding fines. The process may take several weeks.
Written by Holden Easterbrook
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Getting your
District of Columbia
driver’s license reinstated will take a good deal of effort. Doing so involves paying fines, attending virtual hearings, and even having to begin the licensing process again with a learner’s permit.
Losing your driver’s license can change everything. Your morning commute can become a daily ordeal, running simple errands can suddenly take all day, and a fun night out can hinge on either finding a ride or navigating public transportation. In short, you’ll want your driver’s license reinstated as soon as possible—but the process can be confusing at best.
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Why you might need a license reinstatement in DC

District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles
can suspend or revoke your driver’s license for many reasons. Maybe you’ve received one too many speeding tickets or had a little too much to drink and got a DUI—either way, you’ll likely want your driver’s license back as soon as possible.
If your license was suspended, you’ll have to wait for your mandatory suspension period to expire before you can pay your reinstatement fee and any other overdue fines.
If your license was revoked, you’ll need to wait until the end of your mandatory revocation period before you can apply to have your license reinstated. This process will involve attending virtual hearings, submitting any required paperwork, and paying the reinstatement fee, as well as overdue fines (if applicable).
If you want to check on the status of your D.C. driver’s license to see if you need to get it reinstated, head to the DMV’s
official portal
for more information.

How to get a license reinstatement in DC

There are a few different paths for getting your D.C. driver’s license reinstated. Most will require specific documentation or even a virtual court hearing, but all of them will require you to pay the $98 reinstatement fee
in addition to any other unpaid fines on your record.

Traffic and point suspensions

If your license was suspended due to traffic violations or points on your record, you’ll have to wait until the end of your mandatory suspension period. Once that period has expired, pay your reinstatement fee as soon as you can.
You will also need to pay all other overdue fines and fees that may have triggered a stop on your record. When that is taken care of, your driver’s license should be reinstated.

Traffic and point revocations

If your license was revoked for traffic violations or points on your record, you cannot do anything until the end of your mandatory revocation period. After that period has passed, you’ll need to apply for a reinstatement hearing.
If your license is reinstated after your virtual hearing, you’ll need to redo the driver’s licensing process from the start. That means taking a written test, getting a learner’s permit, passing a road skills test, and submitting all the required paperwork for a REAL ID or Limited Purpose License. You’ll also need to pay the $98 reinstatement fee and any other overdue fines.
If your license is not reinstated, you can always appeal the decision to the Traffic Adjudication Appeals Board.
If your driver’s license was revoked due to alcohol- or drug-related charges, you’ll need to follow the steps above for general revocations. The only major change is the need for a State Certified Alcohol Awareness Completion Certificate and a court disposition for the alcohol charge before your virtual hearing.
Key Takeaway To get your license reinstated in the District of Columbia, you’ll need to wait out your suspension or revocation period, pay a $98 reinstatement fee (plus any overdue fines), and attend a virtual hearing (for license revocations).
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How to get a limited occupational license in DC

Having your driver’s license suspended or revoked is a serious matter, but that doesn’t mean that life comes to a stand-still. If you need to drive a car to keep your job, you can apply for a Limited Occupational License (LOL) that will allow you to continue driving under certain restrictions.
Just be aware that LOLs are not permitted for some revocations or commercial driver’s licenses.

When can you apply for a limited occupational license?

You can apply for a D.C. LOL online, in-person, or by mail at:
DC DMV, Adjudication Services
955 L’Enfant Plaza, SW
Washington, DC 20024
Be sure to include the following with your application:
  • Your driver’s license number
  • Your job’s address
  • The days and hours that you work
  • Your commute times, if you need your car to get to and from work
Be aware that your request cannot exceed five days per week or eight hours per day. Additionally, you’ll be required to pay two fees: the driver’s license fee and the reinstatement fee.
You should receive a response to your application within five business days after submission.

What is an SR-22 certificate?

Under some circumstances, you may be required to obtain car insurance with specific reporting obligations, like SR-22 coverage, before your driver’s license or car registration is reinstated.
This coverage provides a certificate that proves you have met the District of Columbia’s minimum car insurance requirements for a small fee. Just be ready for substantial insurance rate increases after picking up SR-22 coverage. 

How to find affordable car insurance in DC

Once your driver’s license is reinstated, you’ll want to shop around for cheaper car insurance to avoid overpaying on your current policy. To know that you’re getting the best deal available, download the
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