The suspension of your driver’s license is one of the most common penalties you can get if you are arrested and convicted of driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. This is known as DUI license suspension. With clients throughout Los Angeles County and the greater Los Angeles County, The Law Offices of Ross Howel Sobel is ready to help you navigate through all DUI issues, including DUI defense and license suspension.
Types of License Suspension in California
Driver’s License suspension is one of the most dreaded penalties for DUI in California. For a first arrest, you can successfully fight these DUI charges to avoid a suspension of your license; but after a first arrest, it is essential to avoid a conviction in court and avoid losing the DMV case. This will ensure that you retain your driver’s license.
To end up with a license suspension, you will be required to deal with both the court and the Department of Motor Vehicles. The trials from these two entities are very different. The court trial seeks to prove your guilt in the DUI case while the DMV deals with the events surrounding the arrest and your driving privileges. After considering your case, the DMV can issue a license suspension notice. There are two main types of license suspension in California:
Administrative Driver’s License Suspension
When you face charges for a first DUI in California, not only will the court be trying to convict you but also the Department of Motor Vehicles will decide to suspend your license due to the administrative per se violation. The DUI per se law or implied consent law requires that you submit to a chemical test anytime you are required to do so, as long as you have a California driver’s license. Otherwise, the DMV may suspend your license.
After getting arrested for the first DUI offense, you have a grace period of 10 days to request a DMV hearing. During this period, your license suspension is put on hold. If no hearing is requested, the license suspension will proceed. According to Vehicle Code 13353.2, only the individual arrested with a blood alcohol content greater than 0.08% gets the administrative license suspension. In the case where you submitted your chemical tests and your alcohol content was lower than 0.08%, the DMV will not have a basis to suspend your driving rights for APS violation. If you lose your license, you are allowed to drive by the DMV on the condition that you accept to install an ignition interlock device on your frequently used vehicle.
Court Triggered License Suspension
According to California Vehicle Code 13352(a), a first-time court conviction for DUI will trigger a six months license suspension. If you can get your charges to be reduced to reckless driving instead of DUI, you are likely to be safe from the court imposed driver’s license suspension. With the help of a criminal defense attorney, you can ultimately get acquitted of the charges and, therefore, no license suspension.
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Reasons your Driver’s License can Get Suspended for DUI in California
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will suspend your driver’s license for DUI in the following circumstances.
A DUI conviction for the first time
If you are stopped at traffic checks for suspected driving under the influence of drugs, you will be taken to court and the arresting officer will provide evidence against you including your blood alcohol content results, the Breathalyzer test, and the field sobriety test. You will be allowed to present your defense the best way possible. However, if you are found guilty and get convicted, your driver’s license will get automatically suspended.
Refusal to take blood and breath tests after arrest
According to the California Vehicle Code 23612, if you are legally arrested for DUI, you are required to take a blood or breath test. The implied consent is the right that all license holders give the arresting officers to run these tests on an arrest. In the case where you refuse to take these tests, there will be an automatic suspension of your license for one year. Besides, the court will not allow you to file for the restricted license for the period where your license will be suspended.
Involvement in an accident when driving under the influence of drugs
In case you are involved in an accident and you lack auto insurance, the Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend your driver's license for a period not less than one year. To reinstate the license after this suspension, the DMV will expect to receive an SR-22 form. However, if your license is suspended, for this reason, you can be eligible for a restricted one.
Failure to appear for the court hearing
When you fail to pay a traffic citation or fail to appear for the court hearing, your license will get suspended for one year; to reinstate it, an issuance fee will have to be given or the citation paid.
When Can I Get a Restricted License?
If you voluntarily accepted to take the blood and breathe tests on arrest for suspected DUI, you may be eligible for a restricted license. The restricted driver’s license allows you to drive your vehicle even after the suspension. However, this license will only let you drive to school, work or doctors’ appointments. To obtain the restricted license, you will be required to produce proof that you enrolled in a DUI School, an SR-22 form, and a $100 to $150 issuance fee.
The restricted license is not difficult to obtain in California. However, the process can be lengthy, and if you lose a DMV hearing, you will serve a 30 days suspension before getting this license. If you get the restricted license, you may be required to install an interlocking ignition device on your vehicle. This device acts as a substitute for a Breathalyzer, and it only allows you to start the car if your blood alcohol content is zero. The interlocking ignition device will take readings and send the results to the court. The cost of installing the equipment, which ranges from $75-$100, is at the defendant’s expense if they wish to obtain the restricted license.
The suspension given for defendants who lose the DMV case requires that they don’t drive for these 30 days. If you get caught driving in these days, you will get charged for violating of the California License suspension terms, and you lose your restricted license.
The Process of Reinstating your Driver’s License after Suspension
If your license is suspended for DUI, you will only get to use it after the suspension is lifted off. Before having your driving rights reinstated, you will have to:
Complete the DUI Program
During the sentencing and suspension of your license, the court will give you a list of approved DUI programs you can enroll. Depending on your blood alcohol content at the time of the arrest, you will have to complete a three or nine-month program to get your license reinstated.
File the Financial Responsibility of your DMV
Proof of your financial responsibility is reflected in the insurance status. The documents that could act as proof that you carry your license are the statement of facts, notifications of alternative financial responsibility, and an operator’s policy. Although your insurance premium rates may be increased, production of these documents could help you reinstate your license.
Pay a License Reissuance Fee to the DMV
To get back the rights over your driver's license, you will pay a reissue fee of $100 to $150.
Can I Keep my License after an Underage DUI Conviction?
California has a zero tolerance law for underage DUI. Regardless of the amount of alcohol taken, a young driver will get arrested. Although each case is handled differently, it is a common occurrence for the court to automatically suspend the license of an underage driver convicted for DUI. In most cases, individuals will try to apply for the restricted license, but the judge considers the use of other means of transport to school for underage DUI convicts.
In the case of underage DUI, the process of getting a restricted license is complicated and may not always have the best results; therefore, it is wise to seek legal representation before the DMV hearing.
The suspension period could vary from case to case depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident. A defendant with a first-time conviction for DUI has a better chance of getting a restricted license. If you are a repeat offender or you caused an accident as a result of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you have slight chances of winning the DMV case, and your driving privileges may be revoked.
Find Legal Representation Near Me
Getting your driver's license suspended could be a stressful experience since you’ve got to figure out how to commute to places. If you or your loved one needs a legal representative for a DUI license suspension case, then The Law Offices of Ross Howel Sobel is here to help you. We serve clients in Los Angeles County and the greater Los Angeles area by giving free consultations and proper representation services for any case. If you seek to have an experienced DUI attorney by your side, feel free to contact our Los Angeles DUI Attorney today at 818-582-2350.