A variety of factors determine whether a DUI driver loses the privilege to drive for months... or years.
A California DUI license suspension is often the most burdensome consequence of a DUI charge. It means, of course, that you cannot lawfully drive a car. Particularly in this state, that can negatively impact almost every aspect of a person's life.
Following a DUI arrest, a California DUI license suspension can arise from two sources. The first is the court process. If a DUI defendant is convicted, he or she will be subject to suspension for a length of time determined as follows: first time offenses carry six month suspensions, second time offenses carry two year suspensions, and third time offenses carry three year suspensions. More serious DUI charges that involve additional offenses and/or injuries to victims can result in considerably longer suspension terms.
The second source is the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). DMV is empowered to impose a California DUI license suspension on every driver arrested with .08% or more blood alcohol content. This suspension will go into effect automatically 30 days after a DUI arrest unless the driver reserves a hearing with DMV and then successfully contests the drunk driving allegation. Where drivers do not reserve a hearing or fail to prevail at one, DMV will impose suspensions lasting four months for first time offenses and one year for second and third time offenses.
Significantly, the DMV hearing must be reserved within 10 days of arrest or the driver forfeits his or her right to one. These details are outlined on the pink temporary license issued following arrest.
The court and DMV processes briefly outlined above are independent. Drivers may therefore suffer a California DUI license suspension from one, the other, or both. Where both are imposed, however, the total term is limited to the one imposed by the court.
As Souther California DUI lawyers, it's our job to fight on behalf of our clients in both processes. Essentially, each involves the same evidence (police reports, alcohol breath tests, chemical blood tests, etc.). Utilizing experience gained over many years, we work to challenge the sufficiency of this evidence and/or demonstrate that it was collected in violation of law or proper procedure. Often, both offer some opportunity to put your license back where it belongs... in your wallet.