Driving while under the influence is just one of California's several driving crimes. More serious than simple traffic infractions or citations, a DUI will affect your driving privileges for a significant period of time. Even with your first DUI, the California Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend your license for at least four months under the Admin Per Se program, which automatically suspends the licenses of those who are arrested for a DUI. Some first-time offenders with non-commercial licenses may be eligible to get a restricted license after serving a period of their suspension, however, they will be restricted in where they can drive for the remainder of their license suspension period. A restricted license only allows you to drive to and from your DUI treatment program, or some other court-ordered program, and to and from your place of employment. A restricted license can't reinstate all your driving privileges, but it can mean the difference between meeting all the requirements of your sentencing and or facing the consequences of not.
A restricted license will not be considered at your DMV hearing. If you did not prevail at your DMV DUI hearing, you will have to serve 30 days of your license suspension period before you can apply for your restricted license. Until you are given a restricted license, you cannot drive at all, under any circumstances. In order to receive a restricted license, you must pay a fee and apply at a DMV field office. Along with your application, you will have to submit proof of enrollment in a licensed DUI treatment program and file an SR-22 form or proof of financial responsibility. A restricted license will typically be valid for five months. The court may also order you to provide proof of installation of an ignition interlock device before you can drive on a restricted license. In order to be eligible for a restricted license, it must have been your first DUI or wet reckless offense within a ten-year period; you must have completed a chemical BAC test, you must have been over 21 at the time of the suspension, and your license must not be suspended or revoked for any other reason. Refusing to take or complete a chemical test to measure your BAC will render you ineligible for a restricted license.
You cannot use your restricted license for any other purpose as outlined above or you may be subject to penalties. These penalties will typically include a full suspension of your license with no option to drive on a restricted license. If you are not eligible to have a restricted license, you cannot drive throughout your entire license suspension period, which will be at least four months. It is important to be aware of the restrictions you might have on your license after a DUI conviction. Driving on a suspended or revoked license can result in jail time, a fine, and a longer license suspension or revocation period. Likewise, not adhering to the stipulations of your restricted license can result in your full license suspension period being reinstated. For example, you must attend your court-ordered DUI treatment program. If you do not attend or complete the program, your restricted license can be revoked. Repeat DUI offenders may be able to get restricted driving privileges after serving a year of their suspension or after waiting 90 days and installing an ignition interlock device. Commercial drivers may be able to get a restricted license if they were driving a personal vehicle at the time they were arrested but are not permitted to resume commercial driving even with a restricted license.
Consult with an experienced California DUI defense attorney if you are facing DUI charges and have concerns about your driving privileges. With California's Admin Per Se program, your license will be suspended even if you were arrested but never convicted of a DUI. You need to take steps to have your license reinstated through the DMV, even if your DUI charge was dropped. A skilled attorney can help you navigate the requirements the DMV sets forth for those arrested for a DUI and can advise you on the rights and freedoms the restricted license may give you and the conditions under which it may be used. He or she may also be able to help you through the process of applying for a restricted license.
Are you or a loved one facing charges of driving under the influence in Tulare, Kings or Fresno County area? Visalia criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens can best advise you on how to proceed with your case and get you back on the road as soon as possible. With over ten years of experience as a criminal defense attorney, Christopher Martens can help you navigate the DUI process. At The Law Offices of Christopher Martens, every client gets the respect they deserve. Contact our Visalia or Hanford offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] to discuss strategic options for your fighting your charges.