If you are arrested for a DUI, your license will be automatically confiscated by your arresting officer. You will at that time be issued an official notice of your suspension, called an Order of Suspension/Revocation. When you get your Order, you will also be issued a temporary license, which is valid for only 30 days from the date it was issued. After this date, you no longer have any of your driving privileges. This time is allowed for you to arrange for alternative transportation while your license is suspended, to ensure you can work and attend DUI classes, allowing you to fulfill the requirements of your sentencing. After that initial 30-day period, your full suspension will be in effect. The length of your full suspension will be dependent upon what your sentencing is. DUI license suspensions are handled through the California DMV's Admin Per Se or "on-the-spot" suspension program. This program mandates automatic license suspensions for all DUI offenders. The length of the suspension is based off of your BAC reading at the time of arrest, determined either by a breathalyzer test or a blood test. Your license will be automatically suspended if you: have a BAC level of .08% or higher and are not on probation for a prior DUI and are over 21 years of age; have a BAC level of .04% or higher and you are driving a commercial vehicle; have a BAC level of .01 or higher and are on probation for a prior DUI offense in the last ten years; have a BAC level of .01% or higher and are under 21; or are under 21 and are caught with an open container of alcohol in your car or have a sealed container but do not have a recognized adult supervisor present. Both of these offenses for underage drivers result in an automatic one-year suspension. Also, refusing to take the BAC test at the time of arrest will result in an automatic license suspension. A hard license suspension acts like a lock down on your driving privileges. During this time, you cannot legally operate a motor vehicle at all either for personal use or as a commercial driver. Assuming you are not eligible for or you don't apply for a restricted license, your license will be hard suspended for four months but only if you are a first time DUI offender over the age of 21. First time DUI offenders who are over 21 years of age will have the opportunity to apply for a restricted license after a mandatory 30-day hard suspension. This restriction allows you to drive to and from work and to and from your DUI offender program only. Being caught driving outside of these times will result in a longer suspension and possible jail time. To apply for a restricted license, you must enroll in a certified DUI First Offender program and have the program provider file a proof of enrollment with the DMV. You will pay a $125 reissuance fee and will have to file a proof of financial responsibility, an SR-22 insurance filing. You will then be issued a restricted suspended license, which is generally valid for five months if you complete your program. To have your full driver's license reinstated after those five months, you go through a similar process with the DMV, however a proof of completion of your program needs to be filed as well. To have your hard-suspended license reinstated after you fulfill the terms of your suspension to include the completion of any programs, you will go through the same process: paying the reissuance fee and filing proof of SR-22 insurance. Driving with a hard-suspend license will land you in trouble. Your license will be suspended for longer and it may result in jail time. Remember, with a hard suspended license, you have no driving privileges at all, even if you have to drive for work and your DUI program. Plan accordingly and arrange for alternative transportation to avoid a longer suspension or jail time.
If you are in the Tulare, Fresno or Kings county area and have had your license suspended or revoked, our expert legal team can help. Attorney Christopher Martens is experienced in California DUI defense and can help you get your license back as soon as possible. Call our office at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.