California DUI laws for Temporary and Restricted Driver’s Licenses

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Temporary License

When you are arrested for a DUI and receive an order of suspension or revocation and temporary license, you may use the temporary license to drive for 30 days from the date of the order of suspension or revocation was issued. This is provided you have been issued a California driver license and your driver license is not expired, or your driving privilege has not been suspended or revoked for some other reason.1

The temporary license lasts for 30 days until your suspension or revocation goes into effect.  At that point, it is up to you to apply for a restricted license for your period of suspension or revocation in order to drive to and from work and any court ordered programs such as dui school.2

Restricted License

If you lost your DMV hearing, then you must wait 30 days until you file for a restricted license.  If you won your DMV hearing, you may apply immediately apply for a restricted license.  In order to receive a restricted driver’s license after a first offense, you must provide proof of enrollment in a licensed California driving under the influence program.  You also have to pay a $125 reissue fee for your license, show proof of financial responsibility (SR-22 insurance), and drive only to and from your place of employment or court ordered program.3

Your request for your restriction to either be for only driving to and from your court ordered driving under the influence program, or driving to and from your place of employment and any court ordered programs.  If, however, you refused to take a chemical test, either blood or breath, then you do not qualify for a restricted license whether it is your first offense or third offense.

You must attend and complete your required driving under the influence program.  If you fail to attend or do not complete the program, your restricted license will be revoked and your suspension will be reinstated.  If you are caught driving when your privileges were revoked, you can face penalties of between five days to a year in county jail and a fine between $300 and $1,000.4

The court may also, at its discretion, require you to install an Ignition Interlock Device when driving on a restricted license.  This small device requires that you blow into it before starting the ignition of your car.  Only after measuring your BAC will you be able to restart the car.

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Temporary and Restricted Drivers’ License FAQs

1) Can I apply for my restricted drivers’ license at me DMV hearing?

No.  You cannot apply for a restricted drivers’ license at your DMV hearing.  You must apply separately at any DMV office.

2) What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

In order to start your car with an ignition interlock device installed, you must blow into a handheld mouthpiece that will measure your blood alcohol level.  If your breath alcohol level is below the allowed limit, your car will start.  If your breath alcohol level is above the limit, the car will not start.  In most counties in California, the judge has the discretion to order the offender to install an ignition interlock device on their car, although there are some counties, including Los Angeles County, in which the installation is mandatory.

3) Will getting a restricted license add time to my suspension or revocation?

This depends on whether you lost your DMV hearing or not.  For example: If you lost your hearing, then you will have 30 days of hard suspension before you can apply for a restricted license.  Following the 30 days hard suspension, a restricted license generally lasts for five months.  Assuming there are no aggravating factors, having the restricted license can turn a general four-month administrative suspension into a six-month suspension.

4) If it is my second DUI within 10 years, can I still get a restricted license?

If it is your second DUI, then you are still permitted to get one of two kinds of restricted license.  The first option is to wait until after the one-year hard suspension and then apply for a regular restricted license.  Your second option is to wait for a 90-day hard suspension and then install the Ignition Interlock Device.  Though this seems more drastic, an Ignition Interlock Device allows you to drive any noncommercial vehicle with one installed for any reason.  There is no restriction on what purposes you may use your vehicle for.

5) Can I get a restricted commercial license?

If you held a commercial license and were operating a vehicle for commercial purposes at the time you were arrested for a DUI, which then resulted in a suspension of your noncommercial license, you are not eligible for the restricted license5.  If however, you were driving your personal vehicle at the time, you can still get a restricted license but not for commercial driving.6

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Hiring An Attorney

The state of California has implemented some of the nation’s harshest DUI laws and navigating the rules can be difficult.  In order to get a restricted license after yours was immediately suspended upon arrest, it is important to find an attorney who knows the proper administrative procedure in order to procure the restricted license.

At the Aizman Law Firm, the best DUI defense attorneys can help you with questions you might have about the entire DUI process and penalties for an offender.  If you need to speak to a DUI attorney about your DUI case, please call our office at: (818) 351-9555.

Blithe Leece
Diana Aizman
Founding Attorney
(818) 351-9555
Lisa Jensen

Request A Free Consultation 818-351-9555 


  1. California Vehicle Code 13352 []
  2. California Vehicle Code §§13353.3, 13353.7 []
  3. Cal. Veh. Code §13357.7 []
  4. Cal. Veh. Code §13352.4 []
  5. Cal. Veh. Code §13352.4 []
  6. Cal. Veh. Code §13353.7 []