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DMV, when ordered by a court, may suspend a person's driving privilege if the person fails to appear in court or fails to pay a traffic fine for a traffic violation or a traffic crime in Oregon or Washington. Your driving privilege will be suspended until DMV receives proof that the case has been cleared with the court or until ten years has elapsed from the date the suspension begins, whichever comes first, at which time you will need to pay a reinstatement fee in order to remove the suspension from your record.
Source: Oregon DMV: http://www.oregon.gov/odot/dmv/pages/driverid/suspreasons.aspx
My apologies, the system indicated you were writing from Oregon.
Please give me a moment.
Just to confirm - was the citation issued in Arizona as well?
Assuming this occurred in AZ - the relevant statute can be found here: http://www.azleg.state.az.us/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/ars/28/01601.htm&Title=28&DocType=ARS
Unlike Oregon, which has the 10 year limit, Arizona does not restrict the amount of time that the driver's license is revoked.
You can try making an appearance in court to settle the debt with the state - ask the court/judge to waive or reduce the amount being billed in collections (I wouldn't expect them to waive them entirely, it costs the state money to send these accounts to collections), and once you have paid the debt in full, you will get the notice of satisfaction from the court, and you can then get your license from the DMV.