Category Archives: DUI/DWI

Georgia DUI arrest what are my rights?

Recently on our DUI forum a user asked, “I was arrested last night for DUI in the State of Georgia. I told the cop several times I wanted to talk to my lawyer before I took any tests. That did not go over too well and eventually they notified me that I had refused the chemical test. What gives? I thought I could talk to my lawyer during a Georgia DUI arrest?”

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North Dakota DWI- How will this affect my Minnesota license?

Many drivers are surprised to find that if they are arrested a North Dakota DWI but they are a resident of Minnesota they may their Minnesota driver’s license suspended. Currently, it is illegal in every state, including North Dakota, to operate a motorized vehicle with a BAC or blood alcohol concentration or 0.08% or higher. It is also illegal to operate a motorized vehicle if you are unable to do so safely, regardless of your BAC.

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No Drunk Driving Pledge – 2012 Christmas Promise

Help spread the word to lower car accident fatalities this Christmas season. Say NO to drunk driving during the holidays!

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DUI- Can I get a restricted license?

If you have been arrested for drunk driving and you either failed or refused to submit to a blood alcohol content test (BAC)or if you were are ultimately convicted of a DUI you may have your license suspended even if was your first DUI offense.

Silhouette of Car with Driver

Under some conditions, however, you can get a restricted license. Conditional or restricted licenses generally are awarded to allow the driver to operate a motorized vehicle under certain conditions such as driving to school, to work or in the case of a medical emergency.

Several states have moved away from conditional licenses and instead are now allowing certain drivers to install an ignition interlock device in their car which allows them to drive anywhere at any time. Some states do not allow this option.

Information for obtaining a condition license can generally be found on the Department of Motor Vehicles website for your state but finding the information can be very difficult. Many drivers who have a DUI lawyer can discuss the process with them.

Process for getting a restricted license after DUI


Because the process for obtaining a restricted license can vary widely by state, this blog will have to speak in generalities only. As mentioned above, the exact steps should be listed on the DMV website for your state.

In most states, if you were stopped for a DUI or DWI a police officer will probably confiscate your driver’s license.  If it was taken you may have been issued a temporary license which is generally good for 30 to 60 days.  Most states will allow you to request a hearing if your license was confiscated because you either failed the BAC test or you refused to submit to the test. This temporary license should allow you to drive without restrictions until the license suspension officially starts.

The following steps must be done if you would like to request a restricted license:


  1. The first step is to request an administrative hearing. This request generally must be made within 30 days after the DUI arrest.
  2. Apply for a conditional license. Depending on your state, you may be able to complete an online application. State laws may also require you to install an ignition interlock device.
  3. Find out if you must take an alcohol treatment program.
  4. Additional reinstatement fees will also have to be paid in all states when the suspension is completed and you are requesting a driver’s license reinstatement.
  5. Some states will also require you purchase additional insurance at the time you reinstate your license.

Do all states allow restricted or conditional licenses? No, these licenses are not offered in some states and some states are very restrictive, only allowing the driver to drive at certain times in the day or to certain locations such as work or school.

Do I need a DUI lawyer?


If the state has sufficient evidence they will charge you will DUI. You may have the option to plead guilty, request a plea agreement or fight your case in court. It is highly recommended that you have at least a consultation with a DUI lawyer. A DUI lawyer can also help with the administrative license suspension hearing.

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Drunk Driving and Child Custody

Group of children in a primary school in Paris...

If you have been arrested for drunk driving you may not be surprised to learn that you are facing thousands of dollars in fines and penalties in addition to the possibility that you may lose your license. But did you know that if you are going through a divorce a DUI conviction can cause additional DUI penalties that may not be monetary?

DUI and non-financial penalties


If you have been convicted of a first, second or third drunk driving charge you may find that when you are seeking employment or education that employers or school administrators may pull your driving record and find out about your DUI. Additionally, some employers may deny you employment or impose other sanctions if you have been arrested for DUI.

Did you also know that a drunk driving charge can affect your divorce? Our court system generally views any alcohol-related accident or conviction as evidence that you may not be a “fit” parent, and if you are in the middle of a contested divorce and hashing out the terms of your custody agreement with your spouse a drunk driving conviction may give them evidence that you should not have custody of your child. If you are a repeat offender or if you have had difficulty with alcohol in the past this can also be even more detrimental to your child custody case.

Will this mean you will lose the right to partial or full custody? Not necessarily, but it does mean that if you have been arrested for drunk driving it is time to find the right drunk driving lawyer who can review your DUI charges and make sure you have a strong DUI defense.

What if your divorce is uncontested or amicable? In this case a DUI conviction is less likely to result in a denial of child custody, but it is still important to get the best legal defense you can to fight your DUI charges.

Other considerations for a divorce


If you have been arrested for DUI most likely you already feel shame and embarrassment and you are concerned about the legal and financial ramifications of a DUI conviction, but it may be time to get help, especially if you have children.

As mentioned above, a DUI may impact your family, your job or your education. Some employers will require you to notify them if you have received a DUI conviction. Should you notify your divorce attorney too? Yes, if you have been convicted of DUI or if you have DUI charges pending it is important to explain the situation to your divorce attorney and make sure they understand all of the legal issues involved in your child custody agreement.

Your divorce or DUI lawyer may also suggest taking an alcohol education class or joining Alcoholics Anonymous to prove to the court that you have taken proactive steps to fight your addictions and that you take the DUI charges seriously.

Getting your driving record expunged


Under some conditions it may also make sense to talk to your DUI lawyer about having your records expunged. Some convictions cannot be expunged and the process is not free, but in the long run it may make sense to have your record sealed so that others cannot view your arrest record.

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DUI- How do I know if I was arrested for drunk driving?

Mug shot of Gordon Campbell in Hawaii

Mug shot of Gordon Campbell in Hawaii (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A recent driver asked on our forum if they were actually arrested for DUI or drunk driving if the police officer stopped their car and gave them a warning for failure to signal but did not give them any indication that they were arrest for DUI.

If you have been arrested for DUI the police officer will generally tell you that you have been arrested. They may even handcuff you and put you in the police car. Additionally, you can also expect, in most cases, for the officer to ask you to submit to a blood alcohol content test and give you notice of the consequences if you refuse to take the test.

What happens after blood alcohol content test?


In most states a refusal of the blood alcohol content test will result in the administrative loss of your driver’s license for at least one year. In many states the blood alcohol content test refusal can also be used as DUI evidence against you at your drunk driving trial. If you take the test and fail the test (your BAC is 0.08% or higher) you can also expect to have your driver’s license suspended. The length of the license suspension varies by state. In some states, after the blood alcohol chemical test, you are also allowed to request an independent blood alcohol chemical test from a qualified tester.

After the DUI arrest


So, to answer the question above, generally the arresting officer will arrest the driver at the time of the stop, but they have several days following the DUI stop to submit their report to the authorities and begin their case.

Generally, citations must be processed within a reasonable amount of time, which can vary. Unfortunately, some drivers will have to stay in jail until they are able to post bond or until they sober up. Other drivers may have to stay in jail several days until they can see a judge.

Some drivers want to know when they will be formally charged for DUI. This is different than being arrested for DUI. If you stay in custody (which means the state is holding you in jail) you have the right to see a judge generally 72 hours from the time of the DUI arrest. What if you are not in police custody? The state may wait days, weeks or months to file their formal drunk driving charge and schedule your DUI court appearance.

Keep in mind if the state waits too long to file their formal DUI charges you can argue that the prosecutor has violated your right to a speedy trial. If the court agrees you might be able to have your DUI case dismissed.

What if you were involved in an accident?


What if you are involved in a DUI accident and you were incapacitated? The officer at the scene may be more concerned with your health and safety and getting you good medical care and less concerned about arresting you for DUI. In this case it might not be unusual for the officer to send you to the hospital and arrest you later for DUI.

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Drunk driving – South Dakota License Suspension

Will my South Dakota License be suspended after DUI?


South Dakota considers driving a privilege and under South Dakota’s Implied Consent Laws drivers may face “administrative” penalties from the South Dakota Department of Motor Vehicles, which is a separate process from punishments following a criminal conviction for drunk driving in South Dakota, even if they are not convicted of drunk driving.

In South Dakota there is a mandatory punishment for all drivers who refuse to take the blood alcohol content test or who take the test and have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) which is above the maximum amount legally allowed in South Dakota (0.08%).

Penalties assesses by the Department of Motor Vehicles for a first time drunk driving offense is a 30 day license suspension. If a driver is arrested a second time they are facing a one year South Dakota License suspension, and third time drunk driving offenders can face a 3 year license suspension.

Drivers who refuse to submit to chemical testing will have their license suspended for one year even if they are not legally intoxicated. The license revocation typically starts on the 120th day following the South Dakota drunk driving arrest although the arresting officer will generally confiscate the driver’s license at the time of the DUI arrest.

Talk to a DUI lawyer about your DUI arrest to find out how to contest your license suspension through an Administrative Hearing. Hearings to challenge the license suspension can be requested within a specified time after the drunk driving arrest.

What happens after the Administrative Hearing?


Drivers who lose at the Administrative License Hearing have the right to file an appeal, but they will have to continue to serve out the suspension until the court concludes their DUI case (qualifying drivers may be able to request and acquire a Limited Driving Privilege license).

What if you lose at the appeal level? You will have to serve out the remaining time of your license suspension. Following your license suspension you may request a license reinstatement.

If you win at the Administrative License Hearing or at the appeal level, your license will be given back to you.

Criminal Penalties for first drunk driving charge in South Dakota


As mentioned above, the Administrative License Suspension is just the first step in the penalties you can face after a drunk driving arrest. If you are convicted of drunk driving in South Dakota you may also face the following criminal penalties:

  • Potential jail time for up to 48 hours
  • Fines not to exceed $1,000
  • Look back periods of 10 year. This means that if you are arrested for a second drunk driving charge within 10 years, in the state of South Dakota, it will be considered your second drunk driving charge. Drivers arrested for a drunk driving charge after 10 years will be considered first time DUI offenders.
  • Drivers may be required to install an ignition interlock device.
  • Potential community service or house arrest

What if I am caught driving with a suspended license in South Dakota?


Do not drive with a suspended license. This can be considered a criminal offense and depending on the number of previous DUI convictions you have had in the past, you could face mandatory jail time.

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California Minors and drunk driving

California Minors arrested for Drunk Driving


Recently states have implemented more severe drunk driving laws for minors. Although in many states a driver may be able to legally operate a motorized vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration up to 0.08%, underage drivers or minors in the state of California are unable to legally driver if the blood alcohol content level is 0.01%.

These laws are called “zero tolerance” laws and it means that if a minor consumes as little as one beer or one class of wine, the driver can face a one year license suspension by the California Department of Motorized Vehicles (or a one delay in getting their driver’s license). Minors who refuse to the blood alcohol content test at the time of their arrest may face additional penalties such as a driver’s license suspension of one to three years. Although this is not considered a criminal offense, this civil offense is illegal under California Vehicle Code 23136.

At the time of the California DUI arrest, the California driver’s license is confiscated by the police officer, and the driver has a 10 days to request an Administrative Hearing. At the Administrative hearing the minor has the option to hire a drunk driving attorney to represent them. Minors may also have witnesses attend the hearing, testify on their own behalf and cross-examine witnesses for the state.

Minor Drivers in California with Blood Alcohol Content of 0.05% to 0.08%


Minor drivers arrested with a blood alcohol content level of 0.05% or higher face a misdemeanor drunk driving charge. Penalties become increasingly severe with every subsequent drunk driving arrest. For a first arrest the driver faces the following drunk driving penalties:

  1. Fines and penalties of $100

Plus the following civil penalties (for violating California’s zero tolerance laws):

  1. One year license suspension
  2. Mandatory attendance in a 3 month alcohol program prior to license reinstatement
  3. Possible participation in a youth drunk driving program which can include visiting the emergency room, an alcohol recovery center, talking to and visiting with the coroner and potentially interacting with victims of drunk driving accidents.
  4. Additionally, a judge will expect the minor to abstain from further use of illegal drugs or alcohol

Minor Drivers in California with Blood Alcohol Content of greater than 0.08%


Minor drivers who are arrested with a blood alcohol content level above the illegal limit of 0.08% will be convicted of a California drunk driving charge. This blood alcohol content level is the illegal limit for all drivers, not just those who are over 21 years of age. If a minor is convicted of a misdemeanor drunk driving charge in California there are serious drunk driving penalties.

Penalties for minors convicted of a California drunk driving charge include:


  1. 3 to 5 years informal probation
  2. Six month license suspension
  3. Up to one year in jail
  4. Up to $1,000 in fines
  5. Alcohol education course

Hiring a Drunk Driving Lawyer


If you have been arrested for drunk driving and you are a minor, this can be extremely serious. Do not wait to talk to someone about your drunk driving charges, especially if your blood alcohol concentration levels were above 0.08%.

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Reinstate Illinois Drivers License after DUI

How do I get my Illinois Drivers License back after DUI?


According to the Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles, the first step to apply for reinstatement of your Illinois drivers license, assuming you are at your eligibility date, is to apply for a consultation with an informal hearing officer. The officer will review the driver’s record and explain all of the documents for reinstatement of your Illinois drivers license. If you have been arrested for drunk driving in Illinois contact a drunk driving lawyer who can review Illinois drunk driving laws.

Steps to Reinstate your Illinois Drivers License


After the consultation, the driver, if they are arrested for a drug or alcohol related offense, must complete the following requirements to reinstate their Illinois drivers license:

  1. Complete an alcohol/drug evaluation by a Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (DASA)-licensed provider within six months prior to the hearing date. The intensity and requirements of this treatment plan are categorized and vary depending on whether the driver is classified as minimal risk, moderate or significant risk or high risk.
  2. Complete an informal or formal hearing. Information hearings are held for drivers who have committed one single drunk driving offense or whose offense did not involve a fatality. Drivers who have multiple drunk driving offenses or who an offense involving a fatality will have a formal hearing.

Restricted Driving Permit after Drunk Driving Conviction


After an informal hearing it may be possible to have a drivers license restored for partial driving privileges. This is called a restricted driving permit or RDP. An RDP allows a driver to drive at certain times for employment, medical care, daycare, or educational purposes.

To qualify for a RDP the driver must submit evidence of employment, class scheduled and educational verification, daycare verification or evidence they are attending support or recovery groups. Not all drunk drivers convicted of DUI qualify for a restricted driving permit.

Prior to approving a restricted driving permit the driver must:

  • Show proof or financial responsibility
  • Pay an $8.00 fee
  • Take driver’s examination if required.

Reinstatement of Illinois license after Drunk Driving Conviction


A full restoration of driving privileges after a drunk driving charge allows the driver to driver anywhere at any time without driving restrictions. Reinstatement is not done if a driver does not have a valid Illinois license or if their license has been suspended or revoked in another state.

Prior to reinstatement the driver must do the following:

  • Pay the reinstatement fee.
  • Provide proof of financial responsibility
  • Evidence of installation of a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) if required.

What is an Administrative License Suspension?


Drivers may lose their driving privileges following a DUI arrest if their blood alcohol content is 0.08% or higher or they refuse to take the blood alcohol test. Administrative license suspensions become effective on the 46th day from the date of the DUI arrest and are separate from charges and conviction penalties which may later result from a drunk driving conviction.

If your Illinois license has been suspended you may apply for a restricted driving permit after 30 days of suspension but this relief is only available to first-time drunk driving offenders and drivers may be required to install an ignition interlock device.



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Drunk Driving License Suspension Process in New Mexico

New Mexico DWI License Suspension Process


When you are pulled over and arrested for drunk driving in New Mexico, your driver’s license is confiscated immediately. In addition to the criminal drunk driving charge that you may face, you must also handle an Administrative License Revocation hearing that will decide the fate of your ability to drive legally in the state of New Mexico.

New Mexico Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) hearing


Once you are charged with DWI, your driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days. To receive an administrative license hearing at the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Department concerning the civil case to suspend your license, you must submit a written request within ten days of your drunk driving arrest. If you fail to meet the ten day time requirement, your license will automatically be revoked 20 days after the date of your drunk driving arrest.

How do I request a New Mexico MVD hearing?


You need to put in writing your request for a License Revocation hearing and include either a copy of the Notice of Revocation (given to you by police), or if you do not have this Notice, you can write down all information the MVD would need to identify you and your drunk driving case: your name, date of birth, driver’s license number, Social Security number, return address, phone number, citation number, date of drunk driving arrest, and the agency that arrested you. Include the $25 processing fee and mail to:

Driver’s Service Bureau
Motor Vehicles Division
P.O. Box 1028
Santa Fe, NM 87504-1028

It is also a good idea to request that your arresting officer(s) appear in person to testify at the MVD hearing. This could help your DWI attorney gain valuable information that could help you with your criminal drunk driving case.

What issues are considered at the New Mexico Vehicle Department hearing?


The person in charge of the hearing and who will decide your case is usually an attorney hired by the MVD. He will consider the following matters:

* Did the police officer have grounds to believe you were operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol?
* Were you arrested?
* If you refused the chemical test, did the officer warn you of the consequences?
* Was the chemical test administered properly?
* What was your BAC?

What happens if I lose the New Mexico MVD hearing?


If you lose the civil case against you at your MVD hearing, the length of the administrative revocation of your license depends on various factors:

* What is your driving history?
* What is your age and blood alcohol content at time of your drunk driving arrest?
* What type of vehicle were you driving? Was it a commercial vehicle?
* Did you submit to the blood alcohol content test?

If you refused the blood alcohol test, the revocation period will automatically be one year. One important thing to remember is: the state of New Mexico only has 90 days after the notice of revocation to conduct the MVD hearing.

The MVD hearing is a complicated process and an experienced New Mexico DWI attorney can look at the facts surrounding your drunk driving case and help you not only with your criminal drunk driving case but also with your License Revocation hearing.

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