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What Happens If You Get a Ticket With a Graduated Driver's License?

Upset young man had a car accident
By Lisa M. Schaffer, Esq. on August 23, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Every states has adopted a Graduated Driver's License (GDL) system, which restricts all new drivers with different requirements and different punishments for violating these restrictions. The punishments are determined by state law, and they may surprise you.

What Is a Graduated Driver's License?

If you were born before 1970, this nomenclature in the driver's license process may be new to you. There are usually three phases, where a person graduates from a learner's permit up to a full driver's license:

  1. Learner's permit, allowed around 15 years of age, generally after taking some sort of class, and passing a written test at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
  2. Intermediate driver's license, after having a learner's permit for a set number of months, individuals can earn this license after driving with a licensed adult and a licensed driving instructor for a set amount of hours, and passing a behind-the-wheel driver's test at the DMV.
  3. Full driver's license, after having an intermediate license for a set number of months (usually six to twelve) or becoming a certain age (usually 18 years old) with no tickets.

Tickets During the Intermediate Phase

During the intermediate phase, all licenses are restricted, with rules varying from state to state, but generally include:

  • No passengers in the car that aren't licensed drivers
  • Curfew hours, generally 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • No cell phone use, including hands-free

If a driver gets a ticket during this intermediate phase, the consequences are usually more dire than that of the underlying moving violation. Additional consequences include:

  • Suspension of the intermediate license from 30 to 90 days
  • Revocation of the intermediate license; the driver starts again at the learner's permit phase
  • More time required at the intermediate license level than originally stipulated, usually a six to twelve months
  • A special court appearances
  • State sponsored traffic safety school
  • Remedial education courses
  • Reinstatement fees

These restrictions are in place to make driving safer for everyone. However, errors in judgment occur, and teens may receive a traffic ticket. If so, these restrictions can cause hardships for some families and exceptions are made. If you or your child needs help with a traffic ticket, contact a local traffic ticket attorney, who can listen to your predicament and discuss your options.

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