Recently on our DUI forum a user asked, “I was arrested for DUI last week in California. I have heard that more drivers are having to install ignition interlock devices on their cars to have the right to drive after a DUI conviction. Will I have to do this in California?”
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.
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:
- The first step is to request an administrative hearing. This request generally must be made within 30 days after the DUI arrest.
- 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.
- Find out if you must take an alcohol treatment program.
- 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.
- 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.