License Suspension for DUI in California
Understand California's DUI Penalties
If you were arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in California, then one of the penalties you could face is the suspension of your driver's license, preventing you from getting back behind the wheel. Suspension is initiated by a criminal arrest for a DUI offense, but is carried out by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), making license suspension a civil matter.
You have 10 days to request a DMV hearing.
This is your only opportunity to contest the suspension of your license and protect your driving privileges, so act now. Call our firm today at (800) 716-6791 to get started.
At the time of your arrest, the officer will confiscate your license and give you a temporary driving permit. This temporary license will allow you to drive for 30 days and is designed to last until your DUI trial. If your trial date is delayed, your temporary driving privileges could be extended.
California has administrative per se (APS) laws. This is what allows police to revoke your driving privileges immediately upon arrest. This could be overturned at your DMV hearing.
From the time of the arrest, you have 10 days to formally request a hearing with the DMV in which you can contest the suspension. This is completely independent of the criminal case. If convicted, you could lose your license regardless of the outcome of the DMV hearing.
How Long Will My License Be Suspended?
Penalties differ in proportion with the offense. For a first arrest for DUI (if you took the chemical test) your license could be suspended for four months. DUI suspension lengths in California are:
- 4-month suspension – First offense
- 1-year suspension – Second and subsequent offenses
For drivers who refuse to take the breath, blood, or urine test after a DUI arrest, or are under the age of 21 at the time of arrest, their license could be suspended for:
- 1-year suspension – First offense
- 2-year revocation – Second offense within 10 years
- 3-year revocation – Third offense within 10 years
Order of Suspension and Temporary License
If you are arrested for drunk driving, the arresting officer will take your driver's license and issue an order of suspension in addition to a temporary license. This temporary license is good only until A) the listed expiration date, or B) the result of your DMV hearing. The notice of suspension will have all the information you need about petitioning for a DMV administrative license hearing.
Petitioning for a Restricted License
If you are unable to get your driving privileges restored through a DMV hearing, you may be able to petition for restricted driving privileges. This does not necessitate a hearing. It also cannot be discussed or decided at the DMV hearing. This requires a separate appointment at the DMV. If granted, the restricted license allows the offender to drive to and from work only.
California Vehicle Code § 14601
It is illegal to drive while your driving privileges are suspended or revoked per VC § 14601. If you are convicted of a violation of this code, you can receive a jail sentence of five days to six months as well as a fine of $300 – $1,000.
License Suspension for DUI With Drugs
Upon arrest for a DUI based on drugs or medication alone, the arresting officer should not take your driver's license from you. However, if the DMV receives a report from law enforcement that a person has been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs, the DMV can send a separate notice to the Licensee suspending that persons privilege to drive if the DMV is concerned that as a result of an addiction to drugs or prescribed medication, that person is unfit to drive.
The DMV typically gives fourteen days from notice to contact the driver's safety office to request a "Fitness Hearing". At this hearing, medical or other evidence can be presented to convince the DMV that the Licensee is a safe and fit driver. The suspension proceedings can then be set aside.
If you were arrested for driving under the influence in Los Angeles, contact the DUI defense lawyers at Gold & Witham. With more than 40 years of experience and proven defense methods on our side, Gold & Witham has what it takes to fight your license suspension.
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