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DUI License Suspensions

Who is Affected?

This law requires the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to suspend or revoke the driving privilege of any person arrested for driving under the influence who:

  • Takes a breath test which shows a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more, 0.05% or more if under age 21; or
  • Takes a blood or urine test and the officer believes that the driver is at or above the 0.08% BAC, 0.05% if under age 21; or
  • Refuses to take or fails to complete a blood, breath or urine test of his or her BAC.

What Happens To My Driver License?

You will receive an Order of Suspension/Revocation from the officer. If you hold a valid California driver license, the officer will pick it up and send it to DMV. The Order of Suspension/Revocation serves as a temporary license which expires 30 days from its issue date. Then the suspension/revocation action goes into effect.

The temporary license does not allow you to drive if you do not have a valid California driver license or there is another driver license action in effect.

THE SUSPENSION OR REVOCATION IS INDEPENDENT OF ANY JAIL, FINE OR OTHER CRIMINAL PENALTY IMPOSED IN COURT FOR THE DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OFFENSE.

What Does DMV Do?

DMV automatically conducts an administrative review which Includes an examination of the officer's report, the suspension/ revocation order, and the blood, breath or urine test results. If the review shows that the BAC is less than 0.08%, or less than 0.05% if under age 21, the suspension/revocation will be set aside. You will be notified by DMV in writing only if the suspension/revocation is set aside.

What Can I Do About The Suspension/Revocation?

You have 30 days from receipt of the Order of Suspension/ Revocation to request a hearing to show that the suspension/ revocation is not justified. A telephone hearing will be conducted unless you request an in-person hearing.

The suspension/revocation will not be stayed (delayed) unless:

You request a hearing within 10 days from the issue date of the order, and DMV cannot provide a hearing before the effective date of the suspension/revocation.

Before the hearing you may see or obtain copies of DMV's evidence. If you want copies released to someone else, give them signed permission.

You may be represented by an attorney or other person, or you may represent yourself. You may present oral testimony and other evidence or you may file the information you would like to present in written form.

DMV ordinarily will not arrange to have the peace officer testify. However, DMV reserves the right to call the officer if it is later determined that his or her testimony is needed. You may subpoena the officer or any other witness you feel may help your case. You are responsible for payment of any required fees and for making sure your witness receives the subpoena.

After the hearing, you may request a departmental review in writing within 15 days, or a court review within 30 days, from the date shown on the bottom of the notice telling you the results of your hearing.

To reinstate your driving privilege after a suspension/revocation, you must pay a $100 reissue fee to DMV and file proof of financial responsibility by a California Insurance Proof Certificate (SR-22), or $35,000 cash deposit, or surety bond, or self- insurer certificate under Section 16430 VC. You must maintain proof of financial responsibility for 3 years.

Hearing Issues

Your need for a license cannot be considered at the hearing. Only the following issues will be discussed:

A. If you took a blood, breath or urine test:

  1. Did the peace officer have reasonable cause to believe you were driving a motor vehicle in violation of Vehicle Code Section 23140, 23152 or 23153?
  2. Were you placed under lawful arrest?
  3. Were you driving a motor vehicle when you had 0.08% or more by weight of alcohol in your blood or 0.05% or more if under age 21?

B. If you refused or failed to complete a blood, breath or urine test:

  1. Did the peace officer have reasonable cause to believe you were driving a motor vehicle in violation of Vehicle Code Section 23140, 23152 or 23153?
  2. Were you placed under lawful arrest?
  3. Were you told that if you refused to submit to or failed to complete a test of your blood, breath or urine, your driving privilege would be suspended for one year or revoked for two or three years?
  4. Did you refuse to submit to or fail to complete a blood, breath or urine test after being requested to do so by a peace officer?

How Long Will I Be Suspended or Revoked?

A. If you took a blood, breath or urine test and the results showed 0.08% or more, or 0.05% or more if under age 21:

First offense: suspended 4 months.

One or more separate offense(s) in 7 years: suspended 1 year.

B. If you refused or failed to complete a blood, breath or urine test:

First offense: suspended 1 year.

Second offense in 7 years: revoked 2 years.

Three or more offenses in 7 years: revoked 3 years.

Can I Get A Restricted License?

NOT IF YOU REFUSED OR FAILED TO COMPLETE A CHEMICAL TEST. If this is your *first offense and you completed a chemical test with results of 0.08% BAC or more, the following restrictions may apply to you.

NON-COMMERCIAL RESTRICTED DRIVER LICENSES. For first offenders only with BAC 0.08% or more who were 21 years of age or older at the time of arrest. Section 13353.7 V.C.

If you provide proof of enrollment in a California Department of Alcohol and Drug programs approved first offender Driving Under the Influence (DUI) program as described in Section 23161 lb) V.C., file proof of financial responsibility by a California Insurance Proof Certificate (SR 22), and pay a $100 reissue fee, you may apply for a restricted license after 30 days of suspension. You may then request one of the following restrictions:

Driving Under the Influence Restriction.

Your driving privilege will be restricted for at least 60 days to driving to and from the DUI program.

To and From and During Course of Employment and Driving Under the Influence Restriction. Your driving privilege will be restricted to driving to and from and during the course of your employment and to and from the DUI program. This restriction remains valid for five months.

If you enroll and fail to participate or do not complete the DUI program, the department will immediately revoke your restricted license and re-impose the suspension for up to 4 months from the day your suspension began.

A first offender attending a DUI program who does not apply for a restricted license may request the early termination of the suspension. To end the suspension early, the offender must have served 90 days of the suspension, completed a DUI program, filed proof of financial responsibility by a California Insurance Proof Certificate (SR 22), and paid a $100 reissue fee.

Course Of Employment Restricted License

For first offender commercial drivers only with BAC 0.08% or more, or 0.05% or more if under age 21. Section 13353.6 V.C.

NO COURSE OF EMPLOYMENT RESTRICTION IS ALLOWED IF YOU HAVE A COMMERCIAL DRIVER LICENSE AND YOU WERE OPERATING A COMMERCIAL VEHICLE AT THE TIME OF ARREST.

If you have a valid commercial driver license, as defined in Section 1521 0 VC, and you were not operating a commercial Vehicle at the time of your arrest, after a 30 day suspension, you may pay a $100 reissue fee and apply to the department for a license "restricted to driving to and from and during course of employment." The term of restriction will be for no less than 5 months (1 50 days) after the 30-day suspension ends. You may also enroll in the DUI program as shown above.

FIRST OFFENSE. You must not have another offense within 7 years Of a separate violation of driving under the influence, including such a charge reduced to reckless driving, or vehicular manslaughter, or a violation of Section 23140 V.C., which resulted in a conviction, or separate administrative determination that you were driving with a BAC of 0.01% or more while under age 21, or 0.08% or more at any age, or you refused a chemical test.

 

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