Getting a DUI results in many consequences that will affect your life immediately and in the future. Some of your rights and privileges may be taken away and without a doubt this will involve your driving privileges.
Perhaps one of the hardest components of the sentencing for a California DUI is your license suspension. All those arrested for a DUI in California will have their license suspended automatically. Your license could be suspended for as little as four months with the option of a restricted license or could be revoked for several years in severe cases. Going without a license can be an immensely difficult consequence to deal with after a DUI. Many of us need to drive to work, go to school, take care of our family responsibilities, and even fulfill the requirements of DUI sentencing. Unfortunately, there are few exceptions to the DUI license suspension. Certain first-time offenders may be able to get a restricted license after serving 30 days of their suspension period, but those who refuse to submit to a blood alcohol concentration, or BAC test, those with prior DUI convictions, and those under 21 years of age are ineligible. Even with a restricted license, you are severely limited in where you can drive. You can only drive to and from work and to and from your alcohol education classes. No matter how necessary it is for you to drive, driving on a suspended license or driving outside the limitations of your restricted license can have harsh repercussions.
Driving on a suspended license for a DUI or driving on a restricted license unlawfully is a criminal charge under California Vehicle Code 14601.2. If convicted, you could face a misdemeanor charge, punishable by jail time and/or a fine. A first conviction will leave you facing at least ten days but up to six months in a county jail. You can also face a fine of between $300 and $1,000. A second offense within five years will result in no less than thirty days but up to one year in a county jail and/or a fine of between $500 and $2,000. The prosecution must prove you knew about the license suspension in order for you to be convicted. This sounds like something that can be assumed, but it isn't always the case. If the California DMV mailed you notice of your suspension or if the court gave you notice of the restrictions to your driving privileges, the court will presume that you knew about the suspension. In the event you were never mailed a notice of your suspension or given notice from an officer or the court, you cannot be convicted. You must have willingly and knowingly driven on a suspended license.
If you are facing DUI charges and have concerns about your suspended license, consult with an experienced California criminal defense attorney about your case. Under the Administrative Per Se law, the California DMV will automatically suspend the license of anyone arrested for a DUI, even if they have not already been convicted. The arresting officer will confiscate your license and you will be issued a temporary driving permit good for only 30 days. After this 30 days has passed, regardless of what happened in your criminal proceedings, your permit expires and your driving privileges will be suspended. If you do not request an administrative DMV hearing to appeal the suspension within 10 days of receiving your notice of suspension and temporary permit, you forfeit your opportunity to challenge the suspension. It is important to take immediate action when arrested for a DUI if you want to avoid a license suspension for this reason.
You should also speak to an attorney if your license has already been suspended and you are facing charges of driving on a suspended license. Driving on a suspended license is a serious charge and one that will result in an additional criminal charge and a longer license suspension. It is best to abstain from driving altogether if your license is suspended, but if you do find yourself facing charges you should speak with an attorney about your case.
Do you have questions about DUI license suspensions? If so, contact attorney Christopher Martens and his legal team for expert counsel. Experienced in DUI laws, our Visalia area legal team will work hard to defend your rights and help you get back on the road as soon as possible. With over ten years of criminal defense experience, Christopher Martens will aggressively defend your rights and will not be afraid to take your case all the way to trial. Call our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.