Unfortunately, you cannot get your revoked driver’s license restored or reinstated in California. If the California Department of Motor Vehicles or the court revoked your driver’s license, you must apply for a new driver’s license.
You may not apply for a new driver’s license until the entire period of your revocation expires. Furthermore, to get a new driver’s license, you must take and pass all required DMV tests to obtain a driver’s license, including:
- Written test covering traffic laws in California
- Driving test supervised by a DMV instructor
- Vision test
You may also be required to take an alcohol/drug education course. You must also pay all applicable fees to get a new driver’s license and provide proof of insurance.
What Does Revocation of a Driver’s License Mean in California?
According to California Vehicle Code §13101, revocation of a driver’s license means that the person cannot drive legally within the State of California. The vocation applies to all motor vehicles. The person must wait until the end of the revocation period to apply for a new driver’s license.
Why is a Person’s Driver’s License Revoked in California?
There are several reasons that the California Department of Motor Vehicles revokes a person’s driver’s license. Some of the common traffic offenses that can cause a driver’s license to be revoked include, but are not limited to:
Driving Under the Influence
The Admin Per Se or administrative license suspension program began in 1990. The program was a deterrent to drunk driving. Under the Admin Per Se (APS) program, the DMV is required to revoke or suspend the driving privileges of anyone arrested for DUI or DUID who:
- Refuses to take a chemical BAC test to determine the level of alcohol or drugs in their system
- Has a .01% BAC level while driving on DUI probation, a .04% BAC level while driving a commercial vehicle, or .08% BAC level while driving a non-commercial motor vehicle
Blood or breath tests are used to determine BAC levels after a drunk driving arrest. A urine test is used as a chemical test unless the person takes an anticoagulant medication or is a hemophiliac. Urine tests are otherwise unavailable unless both a breath and blood test cannot be performed.
Road Rage Under California Vehicle Code §13210
Road rage is another common reason why a person’s driving privileges may be revoked. Under California Vehicle Code §12321, the DMV may revoke a person’s driver’s license for angry or aggressive behavior toward bicyclists, pedestrians, or other drivers.
Conduct that could result in the DMV revoking a driver’s license for road rage includes, but is not limited to:
- Verbal insults
- Threatening physical violence
- Rude gestures
- Dangerous driving intended to intimidate another driver
- Hitting another vehicle
- Acts of physical violence
- Threatening another driver with a weapon
Road rage incidents can be serious crimes. The person may be charged with other crimes under the penal code, including murder and assault. In addition, the driver could face other charges under the traffic code, including reckless driving and speeding.
Mental or Physical Disorder
A driver’s license may be revoked because the driver has a physical or mental disorder that prevents them from operating a motor vehicle safely. A DMV reexamination hearing may be requested by a friend, relative, caregiver, physician, the court, or other parties.
A driver’s license may be revoked because the person committed a crime. Criminal convictions that could result in revocation of a driver’s license include, but are not limited to:
- Vehicular manslaughter under California Penal Code §192c PC
- Committing a felony that involves using a motor vehicle
- Reckless driving that results in bodily injury to another person under Vehicle Code §23104
- Subsequent DUI convictions with a BAC of .08% or higher
- Incidents of driver’s license fraud, including criminal charges for forgery under Penal Code §470 PC
Some criminal convictions can result in permanent revocation of driving privileges, including felony assault with a deadly weapon when using a car as the weapon. Killing someone while driving under the influence results in permanent driver’s license revocation.
A DMV revocation of driving privileges lasts a specific period of time. In most cases, the DMV notifies the driver how long the driver’s license revocation period lasts. However, the DMV could revoke a person’s driver’s license for an unspecified period.
How Can You Avoid a Driver’s License Revocation in California?
You could challenge the DMV’s decision to revoke your driver’s license. However, you must file a request for an administrative hearing within ten days of receiving the revocation notice from the DMV or within 14 days of the mailing date of the notice.
DMV administrative hearings are not criminal hearings. These hearings are separate from any criminal court hearings you might have regarding criminal charges. The hearings are held at the DMV offices before a hearing officer instead of in court before a judge.
The standards of evidence and proof are less strict at a DMV hearing than they are in criminal court. However, it is important to remember that these hearings are held by an experienced DMV hearing officer trained in the procedure, evidence, and the laws applicable to the matters being heard.
You have the right to be represented by an attorney at the hearing. Most California DUI lawyers offer free consultations so that you can talk with a lawyer before the hearing about your rights.
At the hearing, you have the right to examine the evidence presented by the DMV and cross-examine any witnesses presented by the DMV, such as the law enforcement officers who made the arrest. In addition, you may testify at your hearing and present witnesses and evidence on your behalf.
Is There a Difference Between Suspending Driving Privileges and Revoking Driving Privileges in California?
When the DMV suspends your driver’s license, it puts a “hold” on your driving privileges. You are prohibited from operating a motor vehicle for a specific period. You can resume driving at the end of that period provided you have the required insurance and your driver’s license has not expired.
A revocation of a driver’s license means that the driver’s license has been canceled. Your driving privileges are not automatically reinstated at the end of the revocation. As discussed above, you must go through the entire process of obtaining a new driver’s license if you want to operate a motor vehicle in California.
Can You Expunge a DUI Conviction From Your Criminal Record to Avoid Revocation for Subsequent DUI Convictions?
California Penal Code 1203.4 PC is the expungement law in California. It allows you to expunge most DUI convictions, including misdemeanor DUI and other prior convictions.
To be eligible to petition the court for DUI expungement, you must meet the following criteria:
- A state court must have ordered your DUI conviction
- You cannot have served time in state prison
- You met all requirements of your sentence, including performing community service, paying restitution to victims, attending treatment programs, and paying fines or assessments
- You completed probation, or it has been at least one year after your DUI conviction if you were not sentenced to summary probation
- You did not violate any of the terms of your probation
- You are not currently charged with another crime, serving probation for another criminal conviction, or serving time for another crime
Even though you can expunge DUI cases so that they do not show up as criminal convictions on a background check, DUI cases remain on your DMV record. Expungement in California does not waive the fact that drunk driving convictions are “priorable” offenses.
A priorable offense counts toward sentencing for any subsequent offenses. Furthermore, expunging a DUI conviction does not shorten the period of driving suspension or revocation. You must still wait until the end of the revocation or suspension period to reinstate driving privileges.
Even though you expunged the DUI conviction, you would need to go through the same process of obtaining a new driver’s license when the revocation period ends. Additionally, any new offenses could count toward a revocation of your driving privileges again.
What Should I Do if I Am Facing a DUI Charge in California?
DUI offenses should be taken very seriously. Losing your driving privileges could result in unemployment and problems keeping a professional license. In addition to losing your driver’s license, you face substantial fines, jail time, summary probation, DUI school, and other penalties. Depending on the circumstances of the DUI arrest, you could spend years in prison for driving under the influence.
However, you could have several defenses to the DUI charges. A California DUI defense lawyer examines the circumstances of your DUI arrest to determine if the law enforcement officers violated your civil rights. Your attorney also explores other DUI defenses that could result in the charges being dismissed or reduced.
In the event that you cannot avoid a DUI conviction, your attorney negotiates with the prosecutor to get the best possible terms for a plea deal. Negotiating a plea deal or pleading guilty to DUI charges without a lawyer could result in harsher penalties than is necessary for your case.