In California, a suspension of your license because of a DUI can range from 30 days to several years.
The specific time depends on whether or not you have a prior DUI or wet reckless charge and whether you completed a chemical test or if there is an allegation that you refused the blood or breath test.
The DMV will suspend your license under 2 separate proceedings.
- The first is the Admin Per Se (APS) proceeding. This is the administrative proceeding whereby the DMV needs to determine whether you were driving, lawfully arrested and your blood alcohol level was above 0.08% or more or you refused.
- The second, is the suspension that is triggered by a conviction of a DUI in court.
If your breath or blood test shows a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or more and this is your second time facing a driving under the influence (DUI) or wet reckless offense, then under the DMV’s Admin Per Se (APS) program, your license will immediately be suspended1.
You will be afforded the right to a DMV hearing if you request one within 10 days of your arrest. Your license suspension will be placed on hold (stayed) while the hearing is pending.
An APS triggered license suspension results in a loss of your driving privileges for one year if you have one prior DUI or wet reckless conviction within the last 10 years.
A court triggered license suspension is for a period of two years if you have a prior DUI or wet reckless conviction within the last 10 years. These suspensions will run concurrently.
However, you may still apply for a restricted license. The restricted license is available after 90 days of the APS suspension has passed and the individual has installed an Ignition Interlock Device, enrolled in the alcohol program and has an SR22 filing. 2
You are permitted to get a restricted license to get to and from your place of employment or any court ordered driving under the influence classes if all of the following requirements can be met:
- Enrollment in or completion of a driving under the influence program,
- You submit proof of financial responsibility or SR-22 insurance,
- You complete 90 days of suspension if the DUI conviction is for only an alcohol related suspension, or 12 months if the conviction involved drugs,
- You pay all reinstatement and reissue fees required by the DMV, and you agree to install an ignition interlock device.3
Unfortunately, if you have not completed or refused to take a chemical test after your arrest for a second DUI, you will face a much harsher punishment.
The license suspension will be for a period of two years but you will not qualify for a restricted license at any time during that two-year period.4
1. Do I need SR-22 insurance?
The SR-22 insurance is a type of insurance that allows you, after conviction of a DUI, to get your license reinstated after the period of suspension ends or a restricted license if permitted. An SR-22 is a document that shows proof of financial responsibility, and the insurer files it with your state’s DMV. You must carry this insurance with you until your probation period ends; at that time the SR-22 insurance will expire.
2. Do DMV and a court triggered suspension get added on top of each other?
No. The APS suspension and the court suspension run concurrent to each other and as long as your DUI is an alcohol and not a drug-related offense, you can get a restricted license after 90 days if you meet all of the qualifications.
3. What previous convictions count as a prior offense for the purposes of license suspension?
A wet reckless conviction and a DUI conviction are each “priorable offenses,” meaning that they will contribute to an increase in penalties if you are convicted a second or third time DUI.
Restricted License – A restricted license allows you to drive during your course of employment. It enables you to drive to and from work, school, or DUI School. A restriction involving an IID allows you to drive anywhere you please, as long as the vehicle you are driving is equipped with an IID.
Ignition interlock devices – In order to start your car with an ignition interlock device installed, you must blow into a handheld mouthpiece that will measure your blood alcohol level. Your car will only start if your breath alcohol level is 0.00%. After a suspension of your license for a second DUI or wet reckless offense, an ignition interlock device may be mandatory.
DUI School – Attendanceat a DUI school is a court imposed penalty that requires you to attend a licensed driving under the influence program that can range in length from six weeks to 30 months depending on the severity of your conviction, whether there are aggravating factors, and if you have any priors.
Wet Reckless Offense – If you are convicted of a wet reckless offense it means you were arrested on a DUI charge and pled guilty to the lesser offense of wet reckless, which carries with it lesser penalties. A wet reckless charge usually appears more favorable than a DUI charge. It is important to remember that a wet reckless charge is a priorable offense. Even if you have only one prior wet reckless on your record, if you are facing a second DUI arrest the penalties will be increased as if this was your second DUI charge.
The state of California has implemented some of the nation’s harshest DUI laws with tough penalties. It is important to consult a knowledgeable DUI attorney immediately because you only have an initial 10 days from the issue of an Order of Suspension or Revocation to contest the decision to the DMV.
Also, the timing of the suspension requirements can be rather confusing and you do not want to be pulled over driving on a suspended license.
Contact our office at 818-351-9555 for a free confidential consultation.
- California Vehicle Code 13353.2 -The department shall immediately suspend the privilege of a person to operate a motor vehicle for any one of the following reasons: (1) The person was driving a motor vehicle when the person had 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood. (2) The person was under 21 years of age and had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.01 percent or greater, as measured by a preliminary alcohol screening test, or other chemical test. (3) The person was driving a vehicle that requires a commercial driver’s license when the person had 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood. (4) The person was driving a motor vehicle when both of the following applied: (A) The person was on probation for a violation of Section 23152 or 23153. (B) The person had 0.01 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood, as measured by a preliminary alcohol screening test or other chemical test.
- California Vehicle Code 13352(a)(3
- California Vehicle Code 13352.5(a), 13352(a)(3
- California Vehicle Code 13353.7