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Kevin O'Flaherty

Driving after you are revoked may not seem like a big deal, but deciding to drive after you have been revoked can have unexpected consequences. People often have reasons that seem logical at the time to get behind the wheel. They will lose their job if they don’t make it to work. They need to pick their kids up from school or make a quick run to the grocery store down the road. Most importantly, people often think that if the police catch them, it will just be a ticket they can pay for and be done. If you drive after your license has been revoked, this is not the case. Here are four fundamental things to know about driver’s license revocations and the charge of operating after revocation.    

Key Takeaways

  • Operating after revocation in Wisconsin, especially related to OWI, carries criminal charges, fines, and possible jail time.
  • Wisconsin provides an occupational license with strict conditions during suspension or revocation periods.
  • License revocation in Wisconsin can lead to further suspensions for non-traffic offenses and involves a complicated reinstatement process with several steps and costs.

4 Things To Know About Operating After Revocation In Wisconsin

  1. Operating after revocation in Wisconsin is a criminal offense.    
  1. Operating after a suspension is a separate offense and is a non-criminal.  
  1. An occupational license is often available after you are revoked.  
  1. Your license can be revoked for non-traffic related offenses.  

Driving while revoked, otherwise known as operating after revocation, is a criminal offense. If your license has been suspended or revoked or charged with an operation after suspension or revocation, you should contact an experienced Wisconsin criminal defense attorney today!  

The criminal traffic offense of operating after revocation Wis Stat. 343.44(1)(b) carries penalties of a $2,500 fine or imprisonment for not more than one year in county jail or both. The state will have to prove three elements before you can be convicted.    

1) That you operated a motor vehicle; and  

2) Your operating privilege was duly revoked at the time you operated a motor vehicle; and  

3) you know your operating privilege has been revoked.    

Your driver’s license may also be suspended for an additional six months under certain conditions. This additional suspension is most often applied when your license was revoked for operating while intoxicated. OWI’s in Wisconsin can have a variety of effects on your license; for more information on OWI laws in Wisconsin, you can read our article Current OWI/DUI Laws in Wisconsin

Driver handing over license to officer through car window.

Is Operating a Vehicle After a Suspension Still a Criminal Citation?

Operating after a suspension is different from operating after revocation. Operating after a suspension is a non-criminal citation that typically results in a fine and loss of points on your license. Depending on the number of prior offenses you have, driving on a suspended license can result in the following:  

  • Fines between $50 and $2,500,  
  • The loss of 3 points on your driver’s license  
  • An extension of the suspension by up to 6 months  

If, however, you can get your license reinstated, prosecutors will often consider that in how they are willing to resolve the matter. There are often many hoops to jump through, such as obtaining SR-22 auto insurance and completing a driver safety plan. An experienced attorney can help you navigate getting your license reinstated.    

So, although this is a non-criminal offense, it is often helpful to have an attorney assist when negotiating with a city attorney or appearing before the municipal judge.    

Can I Use an Occupational License After I am Revoked?

You can still drive your vehicle while revoked or suspended with an occupational license.    

An occupational license is a restricted form of your license that only allows you to drive to specific approved locations during certain set times. Taking advantage of an occupational license and following the driving times and locations will allow you to keep your employment and take care of other necessary driving requirements in your daily life.    

However, there are two areas for which you may not use an occupational license in Wisconsin.  

  • You cannot use an occupational license with a Commercial driver’s license or (CDL) and;  
  • You cannot use an occupation license for recreation purposes.  

Recreational purposes are defined as driving to attend social events such as a sporting event or visiting friends and family. You can check to see if you are eligible for an occupational license at the DMV at the Wisconsin DMV Official Government Site.  

Can My License be Revoked or Suspended for Non-Traffic Relate Offenses?

Many people are often surprised to learn that they can lose their license for offenses that have nothing to do with driving their vehicle.    

  • Many drug convictions allow the judge to add restrictions, including suspensions and evocations of your driver’s license.    
  • Failure to pay child support can be the reason for the loss of your license through a suspension or revocation.    

It is essential to keep these things in mind if you are facing a driver’s license suspension or revocation. Additionally, you should be aware that each state treats these offenses differently, and the penalties can vary greatly. For example, the penalties and process for reinstating your license in Illinois can be much more difficult under certain circumstances. You can learn more about Illinois’ approach to revocations and suspensions by reading our article Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License in Illinois.

Call O’Flaherty Law at (630) 324-6666, email us at or schedule a free consultation with one of our dedicated criminal and traffic attorneys today.    

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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