Getting Your California License Back

California DUI License Suspension Laws

There are several ways that a DUI can lead to license suspension. For many drivers, fear of losing their license is the scariest part of being charged with DUI. License suspension can start as soon as 30 days after an arrest if immediate action is not taken. There are three common ways for drivers to lose their license after being accused of DUI:

Administrative License Suspension – If you are arrested for DUI after showing a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or more, the California DMV will move to automatically suspend your license. A first time violation will result in license suspension of four months.

Implied Consent Violation – When police stop a DUI suspect, they will be asked to submit to a chemical blood, breath or urine test. A driver is required to take such a test under California's Implied Consent Law. If a driver violates this law, they will lose their license for a year or more depending on their refusal record.

License Suspension Sentencing – If you are convicted of DUI in California, the court will automatically suspend your license as part of your sentence. A first time offender will face 6 months of suspension, a second offender will face one year and a third offense will lead to 3 years of license suspension.

Temporary License Options

DMV Hearing: After a DUI arrest, your license will be put on administrative suspension if you do not act quickly. If you are subject to this suspension, the officer will take you license at the time of arrest and issues you a 30 day temporary license. After 30 days, your li will be suspended unless you fight it in a hearing with the DMV. You only have days after arrest to request this DMV hearing. During the hearing, you will be able to argue that the police stop was unlawful or that you were not over the BAC limit. If you win, you will not be subject to suspension. If you lose, other options are still available.

Restricted License: Even if you lose your license to suspension after a DUI conviction, there is hope of getting a temporary license. Under California Vehicle Code Section 13353.7, a restricted license is available to offenders who lost their license due to administrative or court ordered suspension. If you violated implied consent, you will not be eligible for this license. A restricted license is not like your regular license and only allows you to drive to certain locations including:

  • School
  • Work
  • DUI education classes
  • Community Service

If a driver is issued a restricted license and fails to abide by these guidelines, their license will be immediately revoked. Also, only drivers over the age of 21 are eligible for this license. Applying for a restricted license is similar to apply for license reinstatement. In some cases, there is a period of time that must pass before you are eligible for this license. Eligibility is as follows:

Type of Suspension Eligible for Restricted License? Time Served Before Eligible
Court Sentenced Yes 0 days
Administrative Yes 30 days
Implied Consent Violation No n/a

Steps to License Reinstatement

Whether you are applying for a restricted license or getting your license back, there are steps that you will need to take. Once your license suspension period is up, the DMV will not simply mail you a new license. Instead, you must take the following steps:

  1. Wait the appropriate amount of time – For license reinstatement, you must serve the entire license suspension period or wait 30 days if you are applying for a restricted license after administrative license suspension.
  2. Complete the DUI education program – If DUI education was part of your sentence, you must complete it and submit proof of satisfactory completion in the form of a DL 101 certificate.
  3. Submit proof of financial accountability – California requires proof on mandatory minimum insurance coverage before issuing a restricted license or reinstating a license. You auto insurance company will provide you with a SR-22 form to submit to the DMV.
  4. Pay – You will have to pay a license reinstatement fee before you can get you license back. In addition, you will also have to pay any fines that you owe.
California License Reinstatement Lawyer

If you hire an experienced DUI attorney, they will be able to make sure that you get your license back at the nearest opportunity. They can also assist you with any paperwork or answer any questions you have about your restricted license. If you are facing administrative license suspension, it is important to call a lawyer right away so that they can help you request a DMV hearing.

Our attorneys help people in Southern California with their license issues every day. Call us now for a free consultation and find out more about what we can do for you.

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    Troy Slaten

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    John Floyd

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    Amanda Manukian

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California Defense Attorneys

Floyd, Skeren & Kelly, LLP is a criminal defense law firm serving Southern California. We represent clients who have been charged with DUI and other crimes that are looking for aggressive defense lawyers who can help them fight the charges they face. For more information, contact our firm today.