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California Drivers License Suspension due to DUI

We Help People Get Their Licenses Back

If you are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), your license may be automatically suspended. Call us at Welch Law Firm now to get your California driver’s license back. The following are common questions we receive.

What happens after a DUI arrest?

On the criminal side, you will probably face DUI charges. On the civil side, the officer will file a report with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and you have only 10 days before your license is suspended.

What are my rights?

After you receive the order which revokes you license, you have a maximum of 10 days to request a hearing. At the hearing, you will be given the opportunity to demonstrate that you should be able to keep your license.

If I took the chemical test, when can I get my driving privileges back?

The answer depends on your age. For example, if you are over 21, your license would be suspended for up to four months, assuming your blood-alcohol content was .08% or higher. If you are under 21 with the same alcohol count, you will face a license suspension of up to one year.

Can I get my California driver’s license reinstated?

Yes, at Welch Law Firm, we can do this for you. To get a restricted license following your first conviction for a DUI in California after January 1, 2019, you will need to do the following:

Step 1: Enroll in a DUI class. For a list of California DUI classes by county visit https://www.dhcs.ca.gov/individuals/Pages/DUI.aspx.

Step 2: Purchase SR-22 insurance from your insurance carrier for 3 years.

Step 3: Choose option A or B:

Option A: Drive with an ignition interlock device. This involves:

  • Installing an ignition interlock device, such as Intoxalock or SmartStart, onto any car you own or drive.
  • Go to the DMV, apply and pay $125.
  • Drive for six months anywhere at any time.
  • Receive your full license back after six months.

Option B: Opt out of driving with an ignition interlock device. Going this route means you must:

  • Perform a 30-day no-drive period (no driving for any reason).
  • Go to the DMV, apply and pay $125.
  • Drive for 11 more months only for work, school or medical reasons.
  • Receive your full license back after 12 months.

Our DUI attorney at Welch Law Firm, Dominick R. Welsh, will answer all your DUI questions. He regularly practices in Sacramento, Placer and Sutter counties as well as in front of the DMV administrative court. With over 4,000 cases of experience, he knows exactly how to get your license back.

Does the DMV or the court handle my DUI license suspension?

Both. The California DMV controls your administrative privilege to operate a motor vehicle (drive) in California. The California superior courts have the power to order the DMV to take certain action or inaction regarding your ability to drive. Therefore, both control your ability to drive. If the DMV and the court both impose suspensions, the harsher one will take effect and control. The DMV will seek to suspend your driver’s license for four months. The prosecutor will seek to suspend your driver’s license for six months. Depending upon the timing, type of DUI and enhancements, the suspension may vary.

Factors that affect your driver’s license suspension due to a DUI include the following:

  • There are different types of DUI (alcohol vs. drug vs. a combination of the two) and each has different DMV and court consequences.
  • There are also different “enhancements” that affect the consequences of your DUI in California, such as a high blood alcohol level (over .15%), excessive blood alcohol content (.2%), DUI while speeding (over 100 mph), DUI while having a child in the vehicle (under age 14) and others.
  • One of the worst enhancements is when you refuse to submit to a chemical test. When you refuse to submit to a chemical test, the DMV has the authority to suspend or revoke your driver’s license for one year. This is because one of California’s DUI laws is called the implied consent law. This law means that you are deemed to have given your consent to submit to a blood or breath test when you apply to receive a California driver’s license. Your willful refusal to take such a test subjects you to automatically have your license revoked or suspended for one year.

What is a DMV administrative per se hearing?

The DMV will move to suspend your driver’s license automatically after you are arrested for DUI. In order to stop the automatic driver’s license suspension, you must request a DMV administrative per se (APS) hearing within 10 days of your DUI arrest. The California DMV will initiate this process for any DUI arrest as long as you send it a written correspondence citing the correct law and factual details of your arrest.

How do I request a DMV APS driver’s license hearing?

You can only do this by calling the Driver’s Safety Office at the DMV. The phone number to the Sacramento Driver’s Safety Office is 916-227-2970. You must call to deal with the DUI suspension; you cannot handle your DUI suspension by going to the DMV in person.

Can I go to the DMV in person to get my license back?

No. You must call a special unit of the DMV to deal with the DUI suspension. You cannot handle your DUI suspension by going to the DMV in person. This unit is called the Driver’s Safety Office.

What if I miss the 10-day deadline?

If you fail to request a DMV APS hearing within the time period, your license suspension automatically goes into effect.

When does the driver’s license suspension go into effect?

Thirty days from the date of your arrest or the date you were first served with paperwork (whichever occurs first).

Can you give me an example?

Example of a normal first-time DUI driver’s license suspension in California:

Mike was arrested in Sacramento County, California, for a DUI on March 2, 2019. He blew a .14% into the breathalyzer machine. The California Highway Patrol officer took Mike’s driver’s license and gave him a pink sheet of paper. The following dates are important:

  • March 2, 2019: The date on which Mike was arrested
  • Add 10 calendar days (weekend and holidays count)
  • March 12, 2019: The last date to contact the DMV
  • April 2, 2019: The date Mike is no longer allowed to drive