California drivers arrested for driving motor vehicles in California while intoxicated will have their California driver’s license confiscated by the police officer, who will then send a copy of the suspension notice to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (CA DMV) and a copy of their California DUI arrest report. The California DUI arrest report will also include the driver’s BAC test results. The driver has the legal right to operate motor vehicles for 30 days from the date of the administrative license suspension, assuming they had a valid California license and it was not expired.
California drivers may challenge their administrative license suspension by requesting an administrative hearing within 10 days of the California DUI arrest. If the DMV sets aside the administrative license suspension they will notify the California driver in writing.
Administrative License Suspension in California
The DUI process can be confusing, and many DUI defendants do not realize that the administrative license suspension by the DMV is separate from the court imposed DUI penalties if the California driver is convicted of a California DUI.
Assuming the driver does not face any additional DUI penalties after a California DUI conviction (which affects their right to drive), the driver may have their license reissued to them after they pay the reissue fee of $125 to the CA DMV and file proof of financial responsibility. If the Administrative review finds that the police officer did not have the right to suspend the driver’s license the license will be automatically returned to the driver.
Purchasing California SR22 Insurance
The CA DMV requires drivers who have either been involved in an accident without insurance, arrested for DUI or wet reckless or considered a negligent operator (had too many points on a California driving record) to purchase SR22 Insurance. SR22 is a special form of car insurance which provides additional liability coverage to “high risk” drivers.
California SR22 Insurance must be purchased and a copy of proof of insurance filed with the DMV prior to reinstating a driver’s license after an administrative license suspension.
License Reinstatement after the DUI criminal conviction and license revocation
As mentioned above, the administrative license suspension differs from the suspension which may follow a criminal DUI conviction. Drivers convicted of DUI, depending on whether it is the first, second or third DUI may have their California license suspended. After the revocation or suspension period ends the driver may apply for a reinstatement with the CA DMV. Steps to reinstate a California driver’s license after a DUI criminal conviction include:
1. Taking the motor vehicles test again including the road test, vision test and written test
2. Completing the drinking driver program for the first California DUI offense and a 18 or 30 month program for second or later DUI offenses or a comparable program.
3. Pay the license reinstatement fee of $125 to the CA DMV.
4. Purchase SR-22 insurance and forward proof to the CA DMV.
5. Possible installation of an ignition interlock device on the driver’s motor vehicles
Driving Suspension for Chemical Test Refusal in California
California has increased the administrative DUI penalties for refusing to perform a chemical test after a DUI stop. For instance, drivers who are over the age of 21 who refuse to take a chemical test will face an automatic one year license suspension if it was their first DUI offense. A second DUI offense with a refusal (within 10 years) can result in a 2 year automatic license revocation and a third DUI offense (within 10 years) will result in a three year license revocation. These are administrative penalties only and are separate from driving suspensions which may occur after a DUI conviction in criminal court.
- What Happens To My License After A DUI Arrest In Illinois (duiattorneyhome.com)
- Underage DUI Arrest in California (duiattorneyhome.com)
- Refusing a Chemical Test In California (duiattorneyhome.com)