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Administrative suspension of driving licences

Verified 26 janvier 2022 - Legal and Administrative Information Directorate (Prime Minister)

Following an offence

When law enforcement officers identify an offence that can be punished by an administrative suspension of a driving licence, they send a copy of the minutes to the Prefect (or Deputy Prefect). For some of these offences, law enforcement authorities must first hold a driver's licence.

The Prefect may implement the suspension procedure after retention of driving licence following offences following:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol
  • Driving under narcotics control
  • Refusal to undergo checks on blood alcohol or drug use
  • Speed ⩾ to 40 km/h
  • Driving while holding a phone when the driver is committing certain traffic violations at the same time: non-compliance with driving rules, non-compliance with safety distances between vehicles, crossing and overlapping of continuous lines, non-compliance with light-signalling lights, non-compliance with speed rules, non-compliance with certain overtaking rules, non-compliance with signs requiring the stopping of vehicles or ceding the crossing, non-compliance with the transit priority for pedestrians.
  • In the event of a traffic accident resulting in the death of a person or causing bodily harm, if you are suspected of having contravened the rules of use of the hand-held telephone, speed, crossing, crossing, intersection or crossing priority
  • Refusal to comply

The prefect may also take a suspension measure if he is notified by means of a notice of an offence punishable by additional penalty suspension of the driving licence.

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In case of prior retention of the driving licence

The Prefect shall issue the suspension within the following time limits:

  • in 72 hours of retention of permit
  • or 120 hours in the case of an offence involving the use of alcohol or narcotic drugs and requiring verification.

The decision is yours notified directly if you report to the service indicated in the retention notice.

Otherwise, the decision is notified by letter with AR.

The authority will keep your licence for the period set by the Prefect.

If you do not comply with the suspension decision, you will be sentenced to 2 years in prison and a fine of €4,500.

  Please note : if the 72h/120h time limit could not be respected, the prefect may take a suspension measure if he is informed by a notice of an offence punishable by additional penalty suspension.

If you have retained your driving licence

Upon receipt of the notice of violation, the Prefect may decide to suspend your driving licence.

The decision is yours notified by mail AR.

You must surrender your licence to the prefectural services.

If you refuse to surrender your licence, you will be sentenced to 2 years in prison and a fine of €4,500.

  FYI : in case alcohol-related offence, the Prefect may also decide to restrict your right to drive to vehicle equipped with anti-boot device (EAD).

Generally, the maximum duration of the suspension is 6 months.

It may, however, be 1 Year in the following cases:

  • Traffic accident resulting in the death of a person
  • Traffic accident resulting in personal injury
  • Refusal to comply
  • Driving while drunk or under the influence of alcohol
  • Conduct after use
  • Refusal to submit to BAC checks
  • Refusal to undergo drug use checks

The decision to suspend shall take effect from the date of notification of the decision.

However, if your licence has been returned, the suspension takes effect from the beginning of the retention.

In the event of judicial suspension before the end of the administrative suspension period, it shall automatically replace it. The 2 sanctions do not overlap.

Example :

If the judge suspends the licence for 12 months and the administrative suspension is 6 months, you will get your driver's licence back after the 12 months and not the 6 months of administrative suspension.

  Warning : the administrative suspension of the licence cannot be adjusted. There are no white permit.

In case of alcohol or narcotic suspensions, or suspension greater than 1 month, you must pass a medical examination to be able to get your driving licence.

This control includes psychotechnical examination.

You can pass the medical without waiting for the end of the suspension period.

It is recommended to do this about 1 month before the end of the suspension period.

Where to do the medical check?

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Alcohol or narcotics offences

You must make an appointment with the medical board on the website of your prefecture.

It can also be the commission of the department where you committed the offence, by the prefect's decision.

Who shall I contact

Other offence

You must contact a city doctor approved by the prefect of your department.

This doctor should not be your attending physician.

The list of accredited doctors can be found on the websites of the prefectures. It is also available in prefectures, sub-prefectures and town halls in some communes.

  FYI : you can take the medical check with a licenced physician in a department other than your home. In this case, it is prudent to include in your file an explanation of the use of a doctor other than that of your department of residence.

Who shall I contact

What documents to provide?

You must download the "Driving Licence - Medical Notice" form and pre-fill it before taking the medical check.

On the day of the check, prepare the following documents:

  • Pre-filled "Driving Licence - Medical Notice" form
  • ID
  • Suspension decision and letter of notification suspension
  • Results of biological examinations if requested in the notification letter
  • Outcome of the psychotechnical examination

How's the medical check?

During the appointment with the board or the certified doctor, you must present yourself with the results of medical examinations requested in notification of the penalty.

For example, psychotechnical examination, biological examination for alcohol-related offences with recidivism or narcotics.

Psychotechnical examination is to be done with a psychologist declared to the prefect. The list of registered psychologists is available on prefectural websites. The examination takes at least 40 minutes. It includes an individual interview, as well as one or more psychotechnical tests.

The departmental medical board or the licenced physician inform you that the check is on your fitness cognitive and sensory driving.

The Board may decide to submit you to additional reviews in addition to those requested in the letter of notification of the penalty.

The commission or the authorised doctor may also request, in accordance with medical confidentiality, advice from qualified health professionals in particular areas.

A licenced physician may also request that you reviewed by the departmental medical commission.

You must then make an appointment at your prefecture's website.

Who shall I contact

What's the price?

  • Before a licenced physician: €36
  • Before the medical committee: €50

The average cost of the psychotechnical examination is €100 about.

Health insurance does not cover the cost of the check or any additional tests.

However, medical check-ups are free of charge for a disabled person with a recognised disability rate of 50% or more.

What if the opinion is favourable?

The medical opinion is given to you.

It has a validity of 2 years.

What if the opinion is unfavourable?

A decision of unfitness for driving is yours notified.

The letter specifies the remedies and time limits for appeal.

The letter notifier the decision of the prefect following the medical examination indicates the means and time limits of appeal.

You can appeal to the administrative judge.

You can also refer the matter to the Medical Appeals Board.

This appeal does not prevent the Prefect's decision from applying.

The committee shall examine you, consult the authorised doctor if necessary and forward its opinion to the Prefect.

If the Prefect makes a negative decision again, you can request a new medical check within 6 months of this decision or make a appeal to administrative judge.

Who shall I contact

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Suspension for alcohol or drug-related driving offences

You can only get your licence back if you have been recognised fit for driving following the medical check.

Application for a permit is made online on the website of theCHILDREN.

You must attach the following documents in numeric format:

  • Digital Signature . If you don't have access to a digital signature and photo service, you can complete and mail a photo signature (FPS) form during the remote procedure.
  • ID
  • Proof of domicile
  • Medical Notice Form completed by the registered physician or medical board
  • Decision to suspend the driving licence

Online application for a driving licence upon expiry

National Secured Securities Agency

Accessible with FranceConnect or identifiers CHILDREN. If you don't have one, you are asked to create an account to have a personal space on the ANTS website.

  Warning : check if the driver's licence issued to you validity limited to 6 months or 1 year. If this is the case, you will have to go back to a medical check at the end of this period.

Suspension for other offences

Suspension of 1 month or less

You get your licence back from your prefecture.

Who shall I contact

In Paris:

Suspension greater than 1 month

You can only get your licence back if you have been qualified driving following the medical check.

Application for a permit is made online on the website of theCHILDREN.

You must attach the following documents in numeric format:

  • Digital Signature . If you don't have access to a digital signature and photo service, you can complete and mail a photo signature (FPS) form during the remote procedure.
  • ID
  • Proof of domicile
  • Medical Notice Form completed by the registered physician or medical board
  • Decision to suspend the driving licence

Online application for a driving licence upon expiry

National Secured Securities Agency

Accessible with FranceConnect or identifiers CHILDREN. If you don't have one, you are asked to create an account to have a personal space on the ANTS website.

  Warning : check if the driver's licence issued to you validity limited to 6 months or 1 year. If this is the case, you will have to go back to a medical check at the end of this period.

Remedies are indicated on the decision to suspend the driving licence.

You can administrative appeal the Prefect and appeal to the administrative judge.

Medical reasons

The Prefect may decide to suspend the driving licence if the departmental medical board or the licenced physician consider, after a medical check, you are unfit to drive.

In addition, the Prefect may decide to submit you to a medical examination if he or she has information that would suggest that your condition may be incompatible with the continuation of the licence.

Based on the medical opinion, the Prefect can then decide to suspend your driving licence.

If you refuse to undergo a medical examination, the Prefect may also decide to suspend your driving licence.

Prefect notify by letter.

The letter specifies the remedies and time limits for appeal.

Undetermined

You need to pass a new medical check before you can get your driver's licence.