DUI and License Suspension in California
A DUI can have a serious impact on your driver’s license, even for a first-time offense. When you are arrested for a DUI, the California DMV automatically suspends your license for 30 days starting ten days after your arrest if you do not request a DMV hearing. While the prospect of fighting license suspension can seem overwhelming when you are facing concurrent criminal proceedings, it’s important to fight for the preservation of your license. An experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney can help you with the DMV hearing as well as your criminal DUI case.
How Does a DUI Affect My California License?
A DUI arrest can affect your driver’s license along with the criminal penalties you are facing. Many people arrested for a DUI end up with a license suspension of at least 30 days, even for a first-time offense, but the length of your license suspension will depend on factors such as whether you have prior DUI or wet reckless convictions, whether you refused a chemical test, and the circumstances of your arrest.
License Suspension for a First-Time DUI
If you are facing a first-time DUI, you will need to successfully defend yourself at the DMV hearing, which you need to request within 10 days of arrest, and avoid a DUI conviction to avoid license suspension.
If you are convicted of a DUI, the conviction will trigger a 6-month license suspension. If the DUI is reduced to a wet reckless or other offense, your license will not be suspended.
License Suspension for a Second-Time DUI
Even a second-time DUI will not mean automatic suspension of your license, but you will need to win your DMV hearing and avoid a DUI conviction in court. If you have a prior DUI or wet reckless conviction within the past 10 years, conviction will trigger a 2-year license suspension. A separate DMV hearing can also result in a 1-year suspension of your license if you do not win. If your criminal charge is reduced to something other than a DUI, the mandatory 2-year license suspension can be avoided.
License Suspension for a Third-Time DUI
You may face two different license suspensions for a third-time DUI arrest. If you are convicted of a DUI, your license will be suspended for 3 years. If you lose the DMV hearing, you can get a 1-year license suspension. If you lose both the hearing and get convicted, your license will be suspended for 3 years. You can avoid the three-year license suspension if your DUI charge is reduced.
License Suspension for Refusing a Chemical Alcohol Test
California has an implied consent law which means you consented to submit to a chemical test when you got your driver’s license. If you refuse an alcohol chemical test once you are arrested (not the roadside preliminary alcohol screening test or breathalyzer), you will face additional penalties:
- 1 year license suspension for a 1st offense
- 2 year license suspension for a 2nd offense
- 3 year license suspension for a 3rd offense
Understanding the DMV Hearing for a DUI
You will receive a pink slip after a DUI arrest with your temporary driver’s license. You have only 10 days to request a hearing with the DMV to potentially save your license. If you do not, your license will be automatically suspended for between 4 months (for a 1st offense with a BAC over 0.08%) to 3 years (for a third or subsequent DUI or refusing a chemical test).
If your license is suspended, you will face at least a 30-day suspension and then have the option of requesting a restricted license once you show you have enrolled in an alcohol treatment plan.
You should always request the DMV hearing as the DMV will need to show the suspension is justified. Representation by an experienced DMV attorney in Los Angeles can improve your chances of winning the hearing.
During this hearing, evidence can be introduced to support your case, including photos, collision reports, medical records, sworn statements, and witness testimony.
CDL After a DUI
Commercial driver’s license holders face even tougher restrictions after a DUI in California. The criminal penalties for a commercial driver facing DUI are the same as for other drivers, but CDL holders face very serious consequences with the DMV. While a regular driver can get a restricted license once their license has been suspended for 30 days to drive to work, a CDL holder is not eligible for a restricted commercial driver’s license.
A CDL holder who is convicted of a first-time DUI will lose their CDL for 12 months. Any subsequent DUI convictions will result in a lifetime suspension of commercial driving privileges.
If you rely on a CDL for your job and have been charged with a DUI, it’s important to hire an experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney as soon as possible.
Contact a DUI Attorney in Los Angeles
Even a first-time DUI offense carries very serious consequences, including license suspension and loss of a CDL. If you are facing DUI charges, an experienced DUI defense attorney can help you protect your rights and build your defense against the charges to get the charges reduced or dismissed. Contact Soliman Law Group for a free consultation with a Los Angeles DUI defense attorney to discuss your case.