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License Suspension

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 suspensionFirst offense
  • 1-year suspensionSecond 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 suspensionFirst offense
  • 2-year revocationSecond offense within 10 years
  • 3-year revocationThird 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.

DUI License Suspension FAQs

Will completing a DUI program shorten the suspension period?

Yes, completing a DUI program can shorten the suspension period for your license in California. For a first DUI offense, completing a DUI program may reduce the mandatory suspension period by up to six months. However, eligibility for this reduction depends on various factors, including the circumstances of your case and whether you comply with program requirements.

What happens if I drive with a suspended license due to a DUI?

Driving with a suspended license due to a DUI in California is a serious offense that can lead to further legal consequences, including additional fines, extended license suspension, vehicle impoundment, and even jail time. It's crucial to adhere to the restrictions imposed during your suspension period to avoid further complications.

Can I drive with an out-of-state license if my California license is suspended for a DUI?

If your California driver's license is suspended due to a DUI, you may still drive using a valid out-of-state license during the suspension period. However, you must adhere to the restrictions placed on your California driving privileges. It's essential to understand that your driving record will still reflect the suspension, which could affect your ability to obtain insurance or renew your license in the future.

How can I check the status of my license suspension?

You can check the status of your license suspension for a DUI in California by contacting the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or by visiting their website and accessing their online services. Additionally, you can request a copy of your driving record, which will include information about any license suspensions or restrictions imposed due to a DUI conviction or related offenses.

Can I appeal the decision to suspend my license for a DUI?

Yes, you have the right to appeal the decision to suspend your license for a DUI in California. If you disagree with the outcome of your DMV hearing or believe there were procedural errors, you can appeal to the Superior Court within a certain timeframe. It's advisable to seek legal counsel to guide you through the appeals process.

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