DUI and Your Driver’s License in California
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What Happens to Your Driver’s License with a DUI in California?
If you are arrested for DUI in California, immediate steps are taken to control your ability to drive.
First, the arresting officer will confiscate your driver’s license and replace it with a temporary paper permit (the pink form) that is good for 30 days. At the point of arrest, you have 10 days to request a DMV DUI hearing to determine if you will be able to get your license back. You do not have to go through a hearing, but if you don’t your license will be suspended in 30 days.
Depending on the results of your DUI hearing, you will either get your license back or have it suspended or revoked. You may also challenge these results.
- No suspension: You’ll get your license back. This is rare, but can happen.
- Suspension: You lose your license for anywhere from 4 months to 3 years, depending on circumstances such as prior DUIs and whether you took or refused a BAC test.
- Revocation: You lose your license. You may be able to get a new license after following some court-ordered requirements.
Second, your criminal case for DUI will go through the courts. Depending on the results, you may face a temporary suspension of your license for a set period of time, you may lose your license altogether in a revocation or you may get your license back either due to being found not guilty or due to following certain restrictions, such as installing an Ignition Interlock Device.
You’ll need to prove you have car insurance in order to get your license back at the end of your suspension, if you receive one. At Cost-U-Less Insurance, we have compassionate agents who have experience working with drivers who are facing a DUI or who have been convicted of DUI in California.
How Long Will My Driving Privilege Be Suspended if I Took the Chemical Test?
If you are 21 years of age or older, took a blood or breath test, or (if applicable) a urine test, and the results showed 0.08% BAC or more:
- A first offense will result in a 4-month suspension.
- A second or subsequent offense within 7 years will result in a 1-year suspension.
- If you are under 21 year of age, took a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test or other chemical test and results showed 0.01% BAC or more, your driving privilege will be suspended for 1 year.
How Long Will My License Be Taken Away if I Refuse to Take a Sobriety Test?
If you were 21 years or older at the time of arrest and you refused or failed to complete a blood or breath test, or (if applicable) a urine test:
- A first offense will result in a 1-year suspension.
- A second offense within 7 years will result in a 2-year revocation.
- A third or subsequent offense within 7 years will result in a 3-year revocation.
What Happens to My License During DUI Proceedings in California
After your DMV DUI hearing, your case will start making its way through the system. The proceedings typically follow the pattern of arraignment, pretrial motions, trial.
During these proceedings, you may or may not have a license. The courts can give you limited driving privileges, especially if this is a first-time DUI with no aggravating factors. Let’s take a look at some of those examples.
I Need to Drive to Work After a DUI. What Can I Do?
You can petition the court for a restricted driver’s license. You will need to show the court that you are enrolled in a DUI treatment program, that you have auto insurance by filing an SR-22 certificate and pay a $125 fee. You can only use this license to drive under certain circumstances, like to and from your DUI treatment program and to and from work.
How Sobriety Testing Affects My Driving Privilege in CA
There are three possible scenarios once you are pulled over for a DUI and the fate of your driver’s license could be different based on each.
I Took the BAC Test and My Results Were 0.08% or More
If you are 21 years old or older, a first offense will result in a 4-month suspension of your driver’s license. Subsequent DUI convictions within 7 years will result in a 1 year suspension.
If you are under 21 years old and your BAC showed 0.01% or more, you will have your license suspended for one year.
I Refused to Take the BAC Test
You will lose your license for one year. A second offense within 7 years will result in a 2-year revocation. A third offense within 7 years will mean a 3-year revocation.
I Was Found Not Guilty of a DUI in Court
Your license suspension or revocation will be vacated, meaning you will have your rights to drive reinstated if you were acquitted.