Category Archives: DUI Law

How Does Double Jeopardy Work in California DUI Cases?

The Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects us from being prosecuted twice for the same crime. However, all sanctions do not qualify under the Double Jeopardy rule. The protections in the U.S. Constitution apply both in federal court and state courts.

Therefore, you can be “punished” by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for driving under the influence and face criminal penalties for a DUI conviction.

Raising Double Jeopardy as a Defense to the DMV Hearing and a DUI Criminal Case

When the DMV suspends your driving privileges for driving under the influence, it is an administrative corrective action. The courts do not consider the DMV suspension a punishment or penalty for criminal charges. Instead, the threat of losing your driving privileges for a DUI arrest is a deterrent to drunk driving.

Double jeopardy does not apply because the DMV action is not a punishment or penalty. Therefore, the prosecution may continue with a criminal case based on the same DUI arrest.

A police officer seizes your driver’s license when he arrests you on drunk driving charges in California. As a result, you receive a Notice of Suspension from the police officer. The Notice of Suspension allows you to continue to drive for 30 days. It also notifies you that you have ten days to request a DMV administrative hearing, or the DMV will suspend your driver’s license. 

A DMV hearing officer conducts the administrative hearing. After considering the evidence, the DMV officer may set aside the suspension and reinstate your driving privileges. If the DMV officer allows the suspension to stand, you must wait until the end of the suspension period to reinstate your driver’s license. 

An administrative per se hearing to suspend driving privileges is separate from any criminal charges filed by the state. The DMV may act before the prosecutor files criminal charges in some cases. The reason is that a DMV suspension is based on a DUI arrest, not a DUI conviction. Therefore, merely being arrested for drunk driving can result in losing your driver’s license.

How Long Does a DMV Suspension Period Last After a DUI Arrest in California?

The DMV suspension period depends upon whether you took a chemical test and your prior DUI history. For a first offense DUI with a BAC of .08% or higher, the suspension period is four months. If you have a prior DUI conviction on your record, the DMV suspends your driving privileges for one year. In addition, drivers under the age of 21 years with a BAC of .01% or higher lose their driving privileges for one year.

Refusal of a chemical test results in an automatic one-year suspension for a first-time DUI offense and a two-year suspension for a second DUI offense. After three DUI arrests within ten years, the DMV suspends your driver’s license for three years.

What Happens When I Am Charged With Multiple DUI Offenses for a Single DUI Stop?

The primary statute for drunk driving is California Traffic Code §23152. Under this statute, you can be charged with a criminal offense if:

  • You operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of .08% or higher
  • You drive a motor vehicle under the influence of any alcoholic beverage
  • You operate a commercial motor vehicle with a BAC of .04% or higher
  • Your BAC level is .04% or higher while driving a motor vehicle when a passenger for hire is in the vehicle
  • Your drive a motor vehicle under the influence of any drug or a combination of any alcoholic beverage and drug

It is common for a prosecutor to charge a drunk driver under more than one section of the California drunk driving statute. 

Double jeopardy does not prevent the state from prosecuting you for multiple DUI offenses for the same arrest. It also does not prevent you from being found guilty of multiple DUI offenses. However, you cannot face multiple sentences for DUI convictions related to the same DUI stop.

DUI Convictions and California Penal Code Section 654 PC

A prosecutor may charge you with multiple DUI offenses because they believe at least one charge will result in a drunk driving conviction. However, California Penal Code §654 PC prohibits double punishment for the same crime.

However, the prosecution may charge you with multiple DUI offenses in a single case. All offenses may be tried together before a judge or jury. The legal term for this process is joinder

The code section applies when a person commits one act that leads to multiple criminal charges. While the state can accuse you of multiple criminal offenses, you can only be punished for one. 

Generally, the court imposes punishment under the offense with the longest potential imprisonment term. However, the court cannot punish you for both DUI offenses. Furthermore, the code section provides that the court cannot grant probation if any of the criminal offenses prohibit granting probation.

What is the Typical Sentence for a DUI Conviction in California?

Drunk driving convictions are priorable offenses in California. The penalties for subsequent DUI convictions within ten years increase with each conviction. A felony DUI conviction counts against you for the rest of your life.

Assuming that you have no prior DUI convictions or aggravating circumstances, the typical sentence for a first-time DUI conviction in California includes:

  • Assessments and a fine of $1,500 to $2,000, depending on the county of arrest
  • Up to six months in county jail
  • Informal (summary) probation from three to five years
  • Attendance at DUI school for three to nine months
  • Driver’s license suspension for six months
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) for up to six months

The court may sentence you to probation instead of jail time if you have a clean driving history and no factors exist that could enhance the DUI penalties. You will be required to follow all conditions of probation. Violating DUI probation can result in the court revoking probation and reinstating the original DUI sentence. The court may also punish you for the probation violation. 

If you refuse a chemical test and are convicted of DUI, you could face mandatory jail time. Likewise, if your DUI involves injury to another person, the penalties for a conviction increase. 

A DUI conviction in California results in a criminal record. You might qualify to have the DUI expunged, but that does not remove the DUI arrest from your driving record. It only removes the guilty verdict and dismisses the DUI case. The drunk driving charge would still count as a priorable offense for future DUI convictions.

If the police arrest you for driving under the influence, your best step is to contact a California DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible. A California DUI attorney can help you prepare to fight DUI charges and assist you with negotiations for favorable terms for a DUI plea agreement. 

How Does Double Jeopardy Apply in Criminal Cases in California?

The Double Jeopardy Clause in the Fifth Amendment protects us from:

  • Being prosecuted for the same criminal offense after receiving an acquittal for that offense;
  • Receiving multiple punishments for the same criminal offense; and,
  • Being convicted more than once for the same offense.

California Penal Code §687 adopts the protections of double jeopardy. The code section states that you cannot be prosecuted a second time for a public offense once you have been prosecuted and either convicted or acquitted. Repeatedly prosecuting a person for the same criminal offenses would subject that person to undue expense and time. It could also lead to a wrongful conviction.

Double jeopardy attaches to the criminal offense at specific points during criminal proceedings. Examples of when double jeopardy attaches may include:

  • After the trial begins (i.e., the jury members are sworn in or the first witness is sworn in during a trial by judge)
  • A mistrial or discharge of the jury without the defendant’s consent after a trial begins
  • After the person is acquitted of criminal charges
  • After pleading guilty based on a plea agreement
  • Upon conviction for a criminal offense

The double jeopardy defense may apply in other situations. However, it is not available in all dismissals, but it could apply if the court discharges the defendant to become a witness for the prosecution in another criminal case. It could also apply in some cases where the prosecutor fails to bring a misdemeanor charge to trial in a timely manner.

Double jeopardy may also be a legal defense if the defendant appeals a conviction, the conviction is reversed, and the appeals court remands the case for a new trial. The prosecution cannot charge the defendant with a more serious offense at the new trial. 

Double jeopardy does not prevent the prosecution from proceeding with criminal charges after a civil proceeding on the same facts. It only protects you from being criminally prosecuted for the same criminal offense more than one time. Double jeopardy does not apply to pre-trial proceedings or DMV license suspensions in DUI cases.

The above discussion is not a comprehensive discussion of the double jeopardy defense. Double jeopardy is a complicated legal question that an experienced California criminal defense attorney should address. If you believe the state is prosecuting you for the same DUI offense in violation of your civil rights or state laws, contact a California DUI lawyer immediately to discuss your legal options.

What Happens if a Commercial Driver Refuses to Take a Chemical DUI Test?

Commercial drivers have a lower “legal limit” for driving under the influence offenses. California Vehicle Code §23152(d) makes it unlawful to drive a commercial vehicle with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .04% or higher. That is one-half the legal limit of the blood alcohol level for other motorists. 

However, the lower legal limit only applies if the driver operates a commercial vehicle. For example, a person with a CDL (commercial driver’s license) has a legal limit of .08% when operating a non-commercial vehicle.

Truck drivers need to understand the BAC limit of .04% is a strict limit. The police can charge you with DUI even though the alcohol in your system does not impair your driving abilities. Merely having a BAC of .04% or higher while driving a commercial truck creates the presumption your driving abilities are impaired.

The penalties for a conviction of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs for a commercial driver can be severe. However, there are DUI defenses to a chemical DUI test. You should contact a California DUI lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal options for fighting commercial DUI charges.

Why is the BAC Limit Lower for Commercial Truck Drivers in California?

One reason for a lower BAC limit for truck drivers is the danger posed by DUI accidents. Large truck accidents cause catastrophic injuries and traffic fatalities. Over one-third of the deaths and injuries from truck accidents are people not in the truck. Passenger vehicles cannot withstand the impact with a semi-truck.

What Happens if a Commercial Driver Refuses a Chemical Test After a DUI Arrest in California?

California’s implied consent law requires states that anyone who drives a motor vehicle in California gives their consent to a chemical blood test or breath test to determine the alcohol content in their blood. The implied consent law applies after the police lawfully arrest a person on a DUI charge. 

A police officer may request that you take pre-assessment tests during a DUI stop. However, you are not required to submit to field sobriety tests, breath tests, or cheek swabs before a DUI arrest.

However, refusal to submit to a chemical test after being arrested for drunk driving results in automatic suspension of your commercial driver’s license. Furthermore, refusal to submit to a chemical test results in additional jail time for a commercial DUI conviction.

The loss of driving privileges for refusing a chemical DUI test for truck drivers depends on the number of prior DUI convictions within ten years. The penalties are:

  • No DUI convictions within ten years – one-year license suspension, 48 hours added to your jail sentence, and six extra months of DUI school
  • One DUI conviction within ten years – two-year license suspension and 96 hours added to your jail sentence
  • Two DUI convictions within ten years – three-year license suspension and ten days added to your jail sentence
  • Three or more DUI convictions within ten years – three-year license suspension and 18 days added to your jail sentence

Unfortunately, a commercial truck driver cannot obtain a restricted license to drive a commercial vehicle during the period of their driver’s license suspension. 

However, they may want to talk to a Southern California DUI defense attorney about the possibility of obtaining a restricted driver’s license for non-commercial vehicles. California DUI defense lawyers can also represent commercial truck drivers at DMV hearings to fight the automatic suspension of a CDL after a chemical test.

A CDL driver may be able to downgrade their driver’s license to a Class C or Class M driver’s license to operate non-commercial cars and motorcycles. If so, the person might be able to qualify for a restricted driver’s license.

While truck drivers might lose their jobs because they cannot operate commercial motor vehicles, they could drive to and from another job other than driving a truck with a restricted license. Restricted driver’s licenses also allow the person to take a dependent child to and from school if no public bus service or school bus is available. They can also take themselves and family members for medical care.

Penalties for Commercial DUI Convictions in California

The DUI laws governing commercial DUI cases are strict. Whether your DUI arrest was in Long Beach, San Francisco, or elsewhere in California, you need experienced legal advice immediately after a commercial drunk driving arrest. Your job depends on the outcome of the DUI case.

The penalties for driving a commercial vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol depend on your prior DUI record and whether injuries or deaths occurred because of a DUI accident.

Commercial DUI First Offense Misdemeanor 

The penalties for a first-time commercial DUI with no third party injuries are:

  • Fines and penalty assessments between $1,500 and $2,000
  • Up to six months in county jail
  • Informal or summary probation for three to five years
  • Court-approved DUI school for three months to nine months 
  • Driver’s license suspension for at least one year

As discussed above, if a commercial driver refuses a chemical DUI test, additional jail time is added to the sentence in addition to a mandatory one-year suspended driver’s license for refusal to take the blood or breath test after a DUI arrest.

Loss of CDL Driving Privileges for a DUI Conviction in a Non-Commercial Vehicle

It is also important to note that under California Vehicle Code §15300, a commercial truck driver convicted of a DUI offense in a non-commercial vehicle cannot operate a commercial motor vehicle for one year for a first-time DUI offense. Therefore, your CDL could be suspended even if you are convicted of drunk driving in your personal vehicle. 

Lifetime Revocation of CDL Privileges for a Second DUI Conviction 

You lose your commercial driver’s license for life for a second DUI offense. It does not matter whether you are driving a non-commercial or commercial vehicle. If the police arrest you for a second DUI offense, contact a California DUI lawyer immediately to discuss fighting the DUI charges. 

Penalties for DUI Accidents Resulting in an Injury

If a CDL driver causes a drunk driving accident that injures a third party, the driver faces a misdemeanor or felony DUI charges. DUI resulting in injury is a wobbler offense. The prosecutor decides whether to charge the driver with a felony or misdemeanor based on the facts of the case.

A misdemeanor commercial DUI conviction with injuries can result in:

  • Fines up to $5,000
  • Five days to one year in county jail
  • Summary (informal) probation for three to five years
  • Suspended driver’s license for one or three years
  • Payment of restitution to the accident victim
  • Up to 30 months of court-approved alcohol/drug education program

Felony commercial DUI convictions increase the severity of the penalties. In addition, you can be punished by serving time in state prison. You could lose your driver’s license for five years and be designated as a Habitual Traffic Offender. 

The exact punishment depends on prior DUI convictions, the number of people injured, and the severity of the injuries. If a third party sustains great bodily injury, it counts as a strike under California’s Three Strikes law.

Fighting Commercial DUI Charges in California 

Drivers holding a CDL have a lot at stake when they face charges of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. First, do not talk to the police officers or the prosecutor without an attorney present. Contact an experienced California DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you have a lawyer handling your DUI case, the better chance you have of beating DUI charges.

A DUI arrest is not a conviction. However, you need an aggressive defense strategy. Relying on “innocent until proven guilty” is not advisable. 

Your DUI lawyer thoroughly investigates the circumstances of your DUI stop and DUI arrest. If police officers lack probable cause for a DUI stop or arrest, your attorney files a motion to suppress evidence. If the judge finds the police violated your rights, the evidence collected by the police could be thrown out. Without the evidence, the prosecution may be unable to prove the DUI charges against you.

Other potential defenses to DUI charges for a commercial driver include:

  • Police officers violated Title 17 procedures while conducting a chemical test
  • The driver has a rising blood alcohol level at the time of the blood or breath test
  • The officers failed to explain to the driver the consequences of refusing a chemical DUI test 
  • The police arrested the truck driver after an illegal DUI checkpoint
  • The driver had a medical condition that produced incorrect BAC levels and/or caused the driver to “fail” the field sobriety tests

Depending on the facts of your case, there could be other DUI defenses available. If you cannot avoid a DUI conviction, hire a California DUI defense attorney to negotiate a plea bargain. An attorney may be able to secure better terms for the plea agreement. 

Instead of pleading guilty to DUI charges, your attorney may negotiate a wet reckless or dry reckless plea agreement. Avoiding a DUI conviction is the goal for a driver with a commercial driver’s license. 

What are My Legal Rights at a California DMV Administrative Hearing?

Being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in California can have numerous consequences. First, you have a criminal charge against you that could result in jail time, fines, and other criminal penalties. 

However, you also have a second legal proceeding – the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) administrative review to suspend your license. The DMV administrative hearing only deals with your driving privileges. They cannot sentence you to jail or impose other criminal penalties. However, the DMV can suspend your driver’s license for a year or longer.

Therefore, it is crucial that you understand your legal rights at a DMV administrative hearing. For first-time DUI offenders, the process may be unfamiliar. Contacting an experienced California DUI attorney can give you the best chance of winning at a DMV license suspension hearing.

What is a California DMV Administrative Hearing for DUI Offenses?

After DUI arrests, police officers take the person’s driver’s license immediately. Then, he issues the person a Notice of Suspension that allows the person to continue driving for 30 days. The police officer must forward a copy of the Notice of Suspension and the driver’s license to the DMV.

If you receive a Notice of Suspension after a DUI arrest, you must act quickly. You have just ten days to request a DMV administrative hearing. If you do not request the hearing within ten days, the DMV automatically suspends your driver’s license. 

A DMV hearing is your opportunity to present evidence proving your driver’s license suspension was not justified. If the DMV does not find evidence to support a suspension, it restores your driving privileges. 

However, if you took a chemical blood, breath, or urine test and had a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .08% or higher, your driver’s license is suspended for four months for a first-time offense. A second DUI offense within ten years results in a one-year driver’s license suspension.

If you are under 21 years of age, and the chemical test or a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test shows a blood alcohol level of .01% or higher, you lose your driver’s license for one year.

It is important to remember that the DMV revocation of your driving privileges is separate from any criminal penalties ordered by the court. A judge could suspend your driver’s license for a longer period, depending on the circumstances of your DUI conviction. 

What Are My Rights at a California DMV Administrative Hearing?

A DMV hearing is more relaxed than a criminal court case. A DMV hearing officer conducts the hearing instead of a judge. In many cases, the DMV hearing officer has no formal legal training. The DMV holds administrative hearings at a Driver Safety Office.

You have the right to be represented by a California DUI defense lawyer at the hearing, at your own expense. Your or your attorney has the right to:

  • Review the evidence against you
  • Cross-examine any witnesses presented by the DMV
  • Testify on your own behalf
  • Present evidence and witnesses on your behalf
  • Subpoena witnesses to testify, including the arresting police officer
  • Subpoena evidence and documents to use in your defense

You also have the right to receive a written decision after the hearing. If the decision is against you, you may request that the DMV conducts an administrative review. You also have the right to appeal the decision to Superior Court.

Who Has the Burden of Proof at a DMV Hearing in a DUI Case?

The hearing at the DMV only deals with your driving privileges. It does not decide whether or not you violated a criminal statute. The things a hearing officer considers when determining whether to suspend your driver’s license include:

  • Whether you were in physical control or driving the vehicle
  • If the arresting officer had probable cause to make a DUI stop
  • Whether the DUI arrest was lawful
  • If you were operating the motor vehicle with a BAC of .08% or higher 
  • Whether drugs or alcohol impaired your driving abilities

Unfortunately, the burden of proof and evidence required at a DMV hearing is lower than in a criminal DUI case. Therefore, you are going up against the police officer and the DMV at a disadvantage. Having a California DUI lawyer who can challenge the chemical results, field sobriety tests, and probably increases your chance of reversing the license suspension.

How Do I Schedule a DMV Administrative Hearing After a DUI Arrest in California?

Remember, you have just ten days to request a DMV hearing. If you hire a California DUI defense attorney, your lawyer can request the hearing if you hire him within just a few days. If not, you need to request the hearing and then decide whether you want to hire a DUI lawyer to represent you at the administrative hearing. 

Hearing requests for DUI driver’s license suspensions must be made to the applicable Driver Safety Office. You must provide your full name, driver’s license number, and date of birth when requesting a hearing. You may also need to provide details of your DUI arrest, including the date of arrest, arresting officer’s name and ID number, and any tests used to determine your impairment. 

Generally, you must request a hearing by telephone or fax. The information you need to provide is on your DUI arrest ticket or the Notice of Suspension. 

Defending Yourself at a California DMV License Suspension Hearing

The defenses you present at a DMV administrative hearing depend on the facts and circumstances of your DUI arrest. Potential DUI defenses your attorney might raise at a DMV hearing could include, but are not limited to:

The DUI Arrest Was Unlawful

Your attorney may argue that the police officer lacked probable cause to make a traffic stop and/or DUI arrest. Without probable cause, the evidence against you could be thrown out of court. Therefore, it could be a compelling argument at a DMV hearing.

You Were Not Driving 

You might convince the DMV hearing officer to reinstate your driving privileges by arguing you were not driving or in physical control of the motor vehicle. If the police officer did not see you driving the car and there is no other evidence, the DMV hearing officer may not suspend your driver’s license.

Title 17 Violations for Chemical Tests

Title 17 of the Code of Regulations has strict guidelines for collecting, storing, and testing chemical samples for DUI cases. Violations of these regulations could result in the BAC results being inadmissible because of possible contamination or other problems. If you can prove Title 17 violations, it may be sufficient for the DMV officer to rule in your favor.

Challenging the Accuracy of the BAC Results

Some medical conditions can result in falsely high BAC levels, including diabetes, GERD, and acid reflux. A high protein diet could also cause your BAC results to be false. If you can prove that a health condition or other issue not related to alcohol caused higher BAC levels, you could win your DMV hearing.

You Did Not Willfully Refuse a Chemical DUI Test

Suppose the officer did not explain that refusing to submit to a blood or breath test would result in an automatic driver’s license suspension. In that case, the DMV hearing officer may find that the suspension of your driving privileges should be set aside. However, proving you were not informed could be challenging when it is your word against the police officer’s testimony.

However, if you did not willfully refuse to submit to the test after the officer asked for a sample, that could be a different story. Some medical conditions prevent a person from blowing strong enough for a breath test. Therefore, if the officer did not request a blood test after you “failed” to blow hard enough on the breath test, that is not your fault. 

Illegal DUI Checkpoint Arrests

California permits law enforcement agencies to conduct DUI checkpoints. However, the agencies must follow strict rules for establishing and operating the DUI checkpoints. Failing to follow those rules could result in an unlawful arrest.

Failure to Conduct a 15-Minute Observation Period

Title 17 requires that a police officer monitor a driver for at least 15 minutes before a breath test or blood test. If the person vomits, smokes, eats, drinks, regurgitates, or does anything to compromise the test, the waiting period must begin again. Failing to conduct the observation period correctly could result in inaccurate BAC results.

How Do I Reinstate My Driver’s License After a DUI in California?

At the end of your driver’s license suspension, you can apply to reinstate your driver’s license. To be eligible to reinstate your driving privileges, you must show:

  • Enroll in California DUI school
  • Pay a $125 reinstatement fee to the California DMV
  • Submit an SR-22 insurance form

In some cases, you may need to install an ignition interlock device (IID) before you can begin driving again. The best way to avoid losing your driving privileges is to request a DMV administrative hearing and hire a California DUI lawyer to help you fight to keep your driver’s license. 

Is it Worth Requesting a DMV Administrative Hearing After a DUI Arrest?

Yes, you could retain your driving privileges until the court resolves your DUI case. Also, your California DUI attorney has the opportunity to review the evidence against you and cross-examine the arresting officer. This information could be invaluable for determining the best DUI defense strategy. It also helps when negotiating a DUI plea agreement to know how a police officer may perform in court and the strength of the evidence against you. 

Got a DUI? Here’s What You Need to Know About a Notice of Suspension

A police officer takes your driver’s license when he arrests you for DUI in California. The officer gives you a Notice of Suspension. The Notice of Suspension acts like a temporary driver’s license. You may drive for 30 days using the Notice of Suspension.

However, if you do not request a hearing from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within ten days of your arrest, the DMV automatically suspends your driver’s license. 

Therefore the most important thing you need to know about a Notice of Suspension is to request a DMV license suspension hearing known as an APS hearing immediately after being arrested for DUI. 

Then, you might want to seek legal advice from a California DUI defense lawyer. You have the right to legal counsel at a DMV administrative hearing. Having an experienced DUI attorney handle the hearing could improve your chance of avoiding a suspended or revoked driver’s license after a DUI arrest.

How Long Will I Lose My Driving Privileges After a DUI Arrest in California?

In 1990, the Admin Per Se (APS) program began in California to deter driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Drivers face an administrative driver’s license suspension if they:

  • Have a BAC of .08% or higher while driving a non-commercial motor vehicle
  • Are under 21 years of age with a BAC of .01% while operating a motor vehicle
  • Have a BAC of .04% or higher while driving a commercial motor vehicle
  • You refuse to submit to chemical testing, including a blood test or breath test 

 The DMV suspends your driving privileges for four months for a first-time DUI arrest. If you are arrested on a DUI charge again within ten years, the license suspension period increases to one year.

Furthermore, suppose you are on DUI probation and are arrested for driving under the influence with a BAC of .01% or more. In that case, the DMV imposes a concurrent one-year suspension for the violation of DUI probation. 

Refusal to take a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) or other chemical tests while on DUI probation, you face additional DMV administrative penalties. If the DUI convictions were under California Vehicle Code §§23152 or 23153, the DMV would impose:

  • First offense – A one-year driver’s license suspension or two-year revocation period if you are on DUI probation
  • Second offense with ten years of another violation of DUI – A two or three-year revocation of your driving privileges
  • Third or subsequent offense with ten years of any of the above convictions, violations, or separate administrative decisions – A three-year revocation of driving privileges

After your driver’s license suspension, you can reinstate your driving privilege. However, you must meet specific criteria and pay all applicable fees and costs to reinstate your driver’s license after DUI suspension in California. 

How Do I Reinstate My Driver’s License After a DUI Arrest in California? 

You must wait until after the DMV suspension or revocation to reinstate your driving privileges. For license reinstatement, you must:

  • Pay a $125 reinstatement fee to the DMV
  • Provide proof of insurance (SR-22 form) or another acceptable form of financial responsibility (i.e., surety bond, $35,000 cash deposit, or self-insurer certificate)
  • Maintain SR-22 insurance or proof of financial responsibility for three years

It is important to note that the DMV suspending your license is different from judges suspending or revoking driving privileges in DUI cases. The DMV administrative procedure is separate from any actions taken by criminal court judges after a DUI conviction. 

A judge may also suspend your driving privileges as part of a DUI sentence. In addition, the judge could impose longer suspension or revocation periods. In some cases, a judge revokes driving privileges permanently. 

Can I Get a Restricted Driver’s License if the DMV Suspends My Driving Privileges?

Yes, you may be eligible to get a restricted driver’s license. There are two types of restricted driver’s licenses in California. 

Restricted Driver’s License for Work and DUI School

You may drive to and from work, during the course of employment, and to and from DUI school. To be eligible for a restricted driver’s license:

  • Not have a prior DUI offense (this is your first DUI)
  • Have completed a chemical DUI test for BAC levels
  • You are 21 years old or older
  • Your BAC was .08% or higher for a non-commercial motor vehicle OR .04% or higher for a commercial motor vehicle
  • Your driving privileges have not been revoked or suspended for another reason

If you meet the eligibility requirements, to receive a work/DUI school restricted driver’s license, you must:

  • Provide proof of enrollment in DUI school
  • Pay a $125 reissue fee to the DMV
  • File proof of SR-22 or financial responsibility 
  • Wait for the end of the 30-day suspension period from the suspension date

Restricted Driver’s License With Ignition Interlock Device 

The requirements to be eligible for an IID restricted driver’s license are almost identical to the work/DUI school restricted license requirements. However, this does not need to be your first DUI offense. The requirements are:

  • You completed a chemical DUI test for BAC levels
  • You are 21 years old or older
  • Your BAC was .08% or higher for a non-commercial motor vehicle; .04% or higher for a commercial motor vehicle; OR, .01% while on DUI probation
  • Your driving privileges have not been revoked or suspended for another reason

If you meet the eligibility requirements, to receive an IID restricted driver’s license, you must:

  • Provide proof of enrollment in DUI school
  • Pay a $125 reissue fee to the DMV
  • File proof of SR-22 or financial responsibility 
  • Install an approved ignition interlock device and provide verification of IID installation

An IID restricted driver’s license does not require you to wait for the 30-day suspension period to end before applying for a restricted driver’s license. Also, you are not limited to when you can drive or where you can drive. You may qualify for an IID restricted driver’s license, even if you have prior DUIs on your driving record.

Reinstatement of your driving privileges and applying for a restricted driver’s license is different from challenging a Notice of Suspension. Reinstatement and restricted driver’s licenses are a way of dealing with a suspension of driving privileges. Challenging a Notice of Suspension is an attempt to avoid losing your driver’s license after a DUI in California. 

Can I Fight a California DMV Driver’s License Suspension After Receiving a Notice of Suspension?

Yes, you can fight an administrative suspension or revocation of driving privileges by the DMV. However, you must request the DMV hearing within ten days. If you choose to represent yourself, you need to know your legal rights regarding a DMV suspension hearing.

  • You have the right to review all evidence against you
  • You can cross-examine witnesses presented by the DMV, including the arresting police officer
  • You may subpoena witnesses to testify 
  • You have the right to subpoena documents and evidence
  • You may present evidence at the DMV hearing to support your case
  • You have the right to testify on your behalf

A DMV hearing officer hears your case. The DMV issues a written decision regarding your case. If the DMV hearing officer does not find sufficient evidence to suspend or revoke your driver’s license, he will rule in your favor. However, the DMV officer may allow the suspension to stand.

If the ruling is against you, you have the right to appeal the decision to the Superior Court or request the DMV conduct an administrative review of your case. 

Unfortunately, the evidence necessary to prove the DMVs case is less than the evidence required for a DUI conviction. Therefore, having a California DUI defense attorney argue the case could give you a better chance of winning. An experienced DUI attorney understands how to present evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and make a compelling argument for not suspending your driving privileges.

Common DUI Defenses Used When Challenging a DMV Notice of Suspension

Many of the DUI defenses your California DUI lawyer uses at a criminal court trial applies when fighting a Notice of Suspension. Common DUI defenses your attorney might use, include, but are not limited to:

  • Challenging whether the police officer had probable cause for a traffic stop or DUI arrest
  • Title 17 violations regarding the collection, storage, and testing of blood, breath, and urine samples for alcohol or drugs
  • Challenging the accuracy of BAC tests based on health conditions, faulty machinery, operator errors
  • DUI breath test errors because of health conditions, mouth alcohol, and ketosis
  • Rising blood alcohol levels after a DUI arrest
  • Inaccuracy of field sobriety tests (FSTs) because of environmental conditions, the person’s health, or errors made by police officers
  • Lack of evidence proving your driving abilities were impaired by alcohol or drugs
  • You were not driving or in physical control of the vehicle 
  • Police used an unlawful DUI  checkpoint to stop and arrest you for drunk driving

Contact a California DUI defense attorney if you are arrested for driving under the influence. An attorney helps you fight the Notice of Suspension and fight DUI charges to avoid a conviction, jail, fines, and other DUI penalties.

Got a DUI? Here’s What You Need to Know About a Notice of Suspension

A police officer takes your driver’s license when he arrests you for DUI in California. The officer gives you a Notice of Suspension. The Notice of Suspension acts like a temporary driver’s license. You may drive for 30 days using the Notice of Suspension.

However, if you do not request a hearing from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within ten days of your arrest, the DMV automatically suspends your driver’s license. 

Therefore the most important thing you need to know about a Notice of Suspension is to request a DMV license suspension hearing known as an APS hearing immediately after being arrested for DUI. 

Then, you might want to seek legal advice from a California DUI defense lawyer. You have the right to legal counsel at a DMV administrative hearing. Having an experienced DUI attorney handle the hearing could improve your chance of avoiding a suspended or revoked driver’s license after a DUI arrest.

How Long Will I Lose My Driving Privileges After a DUI Arrest in California?

In 1990, the Admin Per Se (APS) program began in California to deter driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Drivers face an administrative driver’s license suspension if they:

  • Have a BAC of .08% or higher while driving a non-commercial motor vehicle
  • Are under 21 years of age with a BAC of .01% while operating a motor vehicle
  • Have a BAC of .04% or higher while driving a commercial motor vehicle
  • You refuse to submit to chemical testing, including a blood test or breath test 

 The DMV suspends your driving privileges for four months for a first-time DUI arrest. If you are arrested on a DUI charge again within ten years, the license suspension period increases to one year.

Furthermore, suppose you are on DUI probation and are arrested for driving under the influence with a BAC of .01% or more. In that case, the DMV imposes a concurrent one-year suspension for the violation of DUI probation. 

Refusal to take a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) or other chemical tests while on DUI probation, you face additional DMV administrative penalties. If the DUI convictions were under California Vehicle Code §§23152 or 23153, the DMV would impose:

  • First offense – A one-year driver’s license suspension or two-year revocation period if you are on DUI probation
  • Second offense with ten years of another violation of DUI – A two or three-year revocation of your driving privileges
  • Third or subsequent offense with ten years of any of the above convictions, violations, or separate administrative decisions – A three-year revocation of driving privileges

After your driver’s license suspension, you can reinstate your driving privilege. However, you must meet specific criteria and pay all applicable fees and costs to reinstate your driver’s license after DUI suspension in California. 

How Do I Reinstate My Driver’s License After a DUI Arrest in California? 

You must wait until after the DMV suspension or revocation to reinstate your driving privileges. For license reinstatement, you must:

  • Pay a $125 reinstatement fee to the DMV
  • Provide proof of insurance (SR-22 form) or another acceptable form of financial responsibility (i.e., surety bond, $35,000 cash deposit, or self-insurer certificate)
  • Maintain SR-22 insurance or proof of financial responsibility for three years

It is important to note that the DMV suspending your license is different from judges suspending or revoking driving privileges in DUI cases. The DMV administrative procedure is separate from any actions taken by criminal court judges after a DUI conviction. 

A judge may also suspend your driving privileges as part of a DUI sentence. In addition, the judge could impose longer suspension or revocation periods. In some cases, a judge revokes driving privileges permanently. 

Can I Get a Restricted Driver’s License if the DMV Suspends My Driving Privileges?

Yes, you may be eligible to get a restricted driver’s license. There are two types of restricted driver’s licenses in California. 

Restricted Driver’s License for Work and DUI School

You may drive to and from work, during the course of employment, and to and from DUI school. To be eligible for a restricted driver’s license:

  • Not have a prior DUI offense (this is your first DUI)
  • Have completed a chemical DUI test for BAC levels
  • You are 21 years old or older
  • Your BAC was .08% or higher for a non-commercial motor vehicle OR .04% or higher for a commercial motor vehicle
  • Your driving privileges have not been revoked or suspended for another reason

If you meet the eligibility requirements, to receive a work/DUI school restricted driver’s license, you must:

  • Provide proof of enrollment in DUI school
  • Pay a $125 reissue fee to the DMV
  • File proof of SR-22 or financial responsibility 
  • Wait for the end of the 30-day suspension period from the suspension date

Restricted Driver’s License With Ignition Interlock Device 

The requirements to be eligible for an IID restricted driver’s license are almost identical to the work/DUI school restricted license requirements. However, this does not need to be your first DUI offense. The requirements are:

  • You completed a chemical DUI test for BAC levels
  • You are 21 years old or older
  • Your BAC was .08% or higher for a non-commercial motor vehicle; .04% or higher for a commercial motor vehicle; OR, .01% while on DUI probation
  • Your driving privileges have not been revoked or suspended for another reason

If you meet the eligibility requirements, to receive an IID restricted driver’s license, you must:

  • Provide proof of enrollment in DUI school
  • Pay a $125 reissue fee to the DMV
  • File proof of SR-22 or financial responsibility 
  • Install an approved ignition interlock device and provide verification of IID installation

An IID restricted driver’s license does not require you to wait for the 30-day suspension period to end before applying for a restricted driver’s license. Also, you are not limited to when you can drive or where you can drive. You may qualify for an IID restricted driver’s license, even if you have prior DUIs on your driving record.

Reinstatement of your driving privileges and applying for a restricted driver’s license is different from challenging a Notice of Suspension. Reinstatement and restricted driver’s licenses are a way of dealing with a suspension of driving privileges. Challenging a Notice of Suspension is an attempt to avoid losing your driver’s license after a DUI in California. 

Can I Fight a California DMV Driver’s License Suspension After Receiving a Notice of Suspension?

Yes, you can fight an administrative suspension or revocation of driving privileges by the DMV. However, you must request the DMV hearing within ten days. If you choose to represent yourself, you need to know your legal rights regarding a DMV suspension hearing.

  • You have the right to review all evidence against you
  • You can cross-examine witnesses presented by the DMV, including the arresting police officer
  • You may subpoena witnesses to testify 
  • You have the right to subpoena documents and evidence
  • You may present evidence at the DMV hearing to support your case
  • You have the right to testify on your behalf

A DMV hearing officer hears your case. The DMV issues a written decision regarding your case. If the DMV hearing officer does not find sufficient evidence to suspend or revoke your driver’s license, he will rule in your favor. However, the DMV officer may allow the suspension to stand.

If the ruling is against you, you have the right to appeal the decision to the Superior Court or request the DMV conduct an administrative review of your case. 

Unfortunately, the evidence necessary to prove the DMVs case is less than the evidence required for a DUI conviction. Therefore, having a California DUI defense attorney argue the case could give you a better chance of winning. An experienced DUI attorney understands how to present evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and make a compelling argument for not suspending your driving privileges.

Common DUI Defenses Used When Challenging a DMV Notice of Suspension

Many of the DUI defenses your California DUI lawyer uses at a criminal court trial applies when fighting a Notice of Suspension. Common DUI defenses your attorney might use, include, but are not limited to:

  • Challenging whether the police officer had probable cause for a traffic stop or DUI arrest
  • Title 17 violations regarding the collection, storage, and testing of blood, breath, and urine samples for alcohol or drugs
  • Challenging the accuracy of BAC tests based on health conditions, faulty machinery, operator errors
  • DUI breath test errors because of health conditions, mouth alcohol, and ketosis
  • Rising blood alcohol levels after a DUI arrest
  • Inaccuracy of field sobriety tests (FSTs) because of environmental conditions, the person’s health, or errors made by police officers
  • Lack of evidence proving your driving abilities were impaired by alcohol or drugs
  • You were not driving or in physical control of the vehicle 
  • Police used an unlawful DUI  checkpoint to stop and arrest you for drunk driving

Contact a California DUI defense attorney if you are arrested for driving under the influence. An attorney helps you fight the Notice of Suspension and fight DUI charges to avoid a conviction, jail, fines, and other DUI penalties.