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Understanding License Suspensions Resulting From A California DUI

License Suspensions Resulting From A California DUI:

There are two license suspensions that may result from an arrest for driving under the influence in California. The first license suspension results from a DUI arrest, and the second suspension is triggered by DUI conviction in Court. The DMV is in charge of implementing both of these suspensions.

What is the Ten Day Rule?

You have ten (10) days following the date of your arrest to request your Administrative Per Se (APS) hearing through the local Driver Safety Office. The APS hearing is your only chance to fight the initial license suspension resulting from your DUI arrest. If you do not request this hearing within ten days, then your license will automatically be suspended thirty (30) days after the date of your arrest. An experienced DUI defense attorney will request this hearing on your behalf and ensure that a stay is placed on your license. The stay on your license will allow you to keep full driving privileges until a decision is rendered on your APS hearing.

What Happens at the APS Hearing?

The APS hearing allows the licensee an opportunity to fight the administrative license suspension imposed due to the DUI arrest. The APS hearing is presided over by a representative from the local Driver Safety Office known as the Hearing Officer. The Hearing Officer carries the burden of proof on several issues at the hearing:

If the driver submitted to a chemical test there are three issues:

  • Did the officer have reasonable cause to believe that the licensee was driving a motor vehicle in violation of California Vehicle Code Sections 23152 or 23153?
  • Was the licensee lawfully arrested?
  • Was the licensee driving a motor vehicle with 0.08% or more, by weight, of alcohol in the blood?

If a chemical test was not taken (a refusal) the issues are:

  • Did the officer have reasonable cause to believe that the licensee was driving a motor vehicle in violation of California Vehicle Code Sections 23152 or 23153?
  • Was the licensee lawfully arrested?
  • Was the licensee advised that refusal to submit to, or failure to complete, a breath or blood test would result in a one year license suspension or two or three year revocation?
  • Did the licensee refuse to submit to, or fail to complete, a chemical test after being requested to by a peace officer?

The Hearing Officer begins the APS hearing by stating all applicable issues for the record. Next, the Hearing Officer marks the exhibits for identification and introduces them into evidence. A skilled DUI defense attorney will fiercely object to these exhibits and introduce mitigating evidence on your behalf. At the close of the hearing, the Hearing Officer takes all argument and evidence under submission. The Hearing Officer will then render a written decision that will either set aside the pending suspension on your license, or remove the stay on your license and impose the suspension.

On a first offense, the license suspension period is 4 months. After thirty (30) days of no driving you are eligible to apply for a restricted driver’s license to drive to and from work, during the course of work, and to and from an alcohol program. In order to receive a restricted driver’s license you will need to get enrolled in a first offender AB-541 alcohol program, pay a reissue fee and provide the DMV with an SR-22 (proof of financial responsibility form). If this is your first administrative action and you refused to submit to a chemical test then the license suspension period is one year and there is no eligibility for a restricted driver’s license. If you are under 21 years of age and this is your first action, the DMV will suspend you driver’s license for a one year period. After thirty (30) days of a hard suspension you may be eligible to apply for a critical needs license. Should you have a prior administrative action on your record, then the DMV will suspend your license for one year with no eligibility for a restricted driver’s license. If this is a second action and you refused to submit to a chemical test, then the DMV will suspend your license for two full years without the eligibility of a restricted driver’s license.

License Suspension Resulting from A DUI Court Conviction:

If you are convicted in Court of driving under the influence then the Court will send an abstract to the DMV. Upon receipt of the abstract, the DMV will suspend your driver’s license. On a first conviction the DMV will suspend your license for a period of 6 months. Absent any administrative action, you are automatically eligible to apply for a restricted driver’s license. If this is your second Court conviction, then the DMV will suspend your license for a two year period. After one year of no driving, you are eligible to receive a restricted driver’s license for the second year. Due to current legislation, SB-598 and SB-895 which took effect July 1, 2010, anyone arrested and convicted of a DUI with a prior conviction after July 1, 2010 is eligible to apply for a restricted driver’s license earlier. Due to the new legislation, a person is now eligible to receive a restricted license following just a ninety (90) day hard suspension period following the Court conviction. After the ninety (90) day hard suspension period, the person is eligible to apply for a restricted driver’s license if the person installs an ignition interlock device (IID) in his/ her vehicle, enrolls in the multiple offender (SB-38) alcohol program, pays a reissue fee, and provides an SR-22 to the DMV. This restricted license allows the person full driving privileges; however, the person may only drive a vehicle which is equipped with the IID.

If you have been arrested for DUI, it is in your best interest to contact a skilled DUI defense attorney to help you fight these pending license suspensions!

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