Under California Vehicle Code 23152 a person may have their license suspended as a result of driving under the influence.
Under the California Vehicle Code, suspension means that a person’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle is temporarily withdrawn. California implemented the Admin Per Se (APS) program in 1990 and allows a police officer to immediately confiscate your license if you are pulled over for a DUI and you meet any of the following criteria:
- Your blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% or more while driving a non-commercial vehicle,
- Your BAC is 0.04% or more while driving a commercial vehicle,
- Your BAC is 0.01% or more while you are under 21 years old and driving, or
- You refuse to take the chemical breath or blood test after you are lawfully arrested.1
Length of Suspension For 1st DUI Offense
If your breath, urine, or blood test showed a BAC 0.08% or more, your license will be suspended for four months.
If you are under 21 when you are arrested for a DUI and your BAC was 0.01% or more, your license will be suspended for one year.
If you did not complete or refused to take a breath, blood, or urine test, then your license will be suspended for one year.
If a passenger in your vehicle, other vehicle or pedestrian was injured as a result of driving under the influence the license suspension will be one year.
In addition to the immediate confiscation of your drivers’ license you may face an additional suspension from the court. The court will likely suspend your license for six months and will not reissue it until you have proof of financial responsibility and that you successfully completed your driving under the influence program required by the court.
This APS program has served successfully as a large deterrent for driving under the influence because of the immediate loss of your license that you will face if arrested for a DUI.
When you are arrested for a DUI, the arresting officer will give you an Order of Suspension or Revocation when they confiscated your license at the scene. If the officer did not provide you with an Order of Suspension or Revocation upon arrest, the DMV will mail you one. The order will include a temporary drivers’ license. This temporary license is valid for 30 days from the issue date. The license suspension or revocation period will begin at the end of the 30 days. It is at that time that you are permitted to apply for a restricted license at any DMV office.
Since it is your first offense, you may qualify for a restricted driver’s license that will allow you to drive to and from work and any court imposed DUI programs. You may apply for a restricted license at any DMV location. However, if you refused to take a chemical test or are under 21 at the time of your arrest, you are not eligible for a restricted drivers’ license. When you apply for your restricted license you will have to pay a $125 reissue fee and show proof of financial responsibility, otherwise known as SR-22 insurance.
SR-22 insurance is a type of insurance that allows you, after conviction of a DUI, to get your license reinstated after the period of suspension ends or a restricted license if permitted. An SR-22 is a document that shows proof of financial responsibility and the insurer files in with your state’s DMV. You must carry this insurance with you until your probation period ends and at that time the SR-22 insurance will expire.
After you receive your Order of Suspension or Revocation, you have 10 days to schedule a DMV hearing to contest the Order.
The timing of the suspension can be a little confusing. If you receive an Order of Suspension or Revocation upon your arrest for a DUI, the suspension starts 30 days from that date. This means that you can continue to drive for 30 days on your temporary license that should be issued with the suspension notice. However, if for some reason the officer does not issue you and Order of Suspension or Revocation upon arrest, the DMV will mail you one. If this happens, remember that your license suspension begins 30 days from the date of issue, which is not necessarily the same date that you receive it in the mail.
If I plead to a lesser charge in court that does not require my license to be suspended, can I get it back?
This all depends on which charge you plea to. In some circumstances, the DMV can still uphold its suspension of your license for the four-month period.
It is important to consult an attorney immediately because you only have an initial 10 days from the issue of an order of suspension or revocation to contest the decision to automatically suspend your license. Also, the timing of the suspension requirements can be rather confusing and if your license is suspended its very important to have the timing of your suspension coordinated properly. We want to prevent any extra days of suspension by coordinating your court case and dmv matter to minimize the total days of suspension.
Contact us for a free confidential consultation at: (818) 351-9555.
- California Vehicle Code Section 13353.2 [↩]