The dmv should have sent you notice if and when the license was suspended and when you could get it back. Call mandatory action to confirm the status of you license.
Of course, every DUI case is different and you should consult an experienced DUI defense attorney in your area with questions regarding your specific case. It is always in your best interest to have a good DUI attorney represent you when you have been arrested for a DUI.
When you get back to the U.S. you will probably have a letter in the mail from DMV that states you lost your DMV hearing (Administrative Per Se hearing) and your license suspension will begin on a specific date. After serving 30 days of that suspension, you can apply for a restricted license if you pay a re-issue fee, have proof of enrollment in a 3 month DUI School and have an SR-22 (specific DUI related insurance) on file with the DMV.
The DMV hearing officer will probably start the suspension date within a week or two of your hearing date. They will most likely not look at the court conviction date and will not backdate the start of the APS suspension to that same court conviction date.
The restricted license is only for driving to and from work, while working, and to and from the DUI School. It is not for driving to any other school or counseling.
If you did not receive one already, there should also be a letter from DMV in Sacramento stating that you were convicted in court of a DUI and you are suspended for six months. It will say you can get a restricted license right away, as long as you pay the fee and have proof of DUI School enrollment and SR-22. You will want to wait until the first 30 days of the other suspension (DMV hearing/APS suspension) is over before applying for your restricted license.
I agree with my colleagues, you'll have a letter in the mail stating the specific dates of suspension, and when you will be eligible to apply for the restricted license. I imagine by the time you get back, you won't have much longer until you can get the restricted license.
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