FAQ: DMV Issues After A DUI Arrest

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I've just been arrested for DUI. What happens now?

 

The officer is required by law to immediately forward a copy of the completed notice of suspension or revocation form and any driver license taken into possession, with a sworn report to the DMV. The DMV automatically conducts an administrative review that includes an examination of the officer's report, the suspension or revocation order, and any test results. If the suspension or revocation is upheld during the administrative review, you may request a hearing to contest the suspension or revocation.

 

You have the right to request a hearing from the DMV within 10 days of receipt of the suspension or revocation order. If the review shows there is no basis for the suspension or revocation, the action will be set aside. You will be notified by the DMV in writing only if the suspension or revocation is set aside following the administrative review.

 

At the time of my arrest, the officer confiscated my driver license. How do I get it back?

 

Your driver license will be returned to you at the end of the suspension or revocation, provided you pay a $125 reissue fee to the DMV and you file proof of financial responsibility. The reissue fee remains at $100 if you were under age 21 and were suspended under the Zero Tolerance Law pursuant to Vehicle Code §§23136, 13353.1, 13388, 13392. If it is determined that there is not a basis for the suspension or revocation, your driver license will be issued or returned to you.

 

The officer issued me an Order of Suspension and Temporary License. What am I supposed to do with this document?

 

You may drive for 30 days from the date the order of suspension or revocation was issued, provided you have been issued a California driver license and your driver license is not expired, or your driving privilege is not suspended or revoked for some other reason.

 

The Notice of Suspension that the officer gave me at the time of my arrest states I have ten days to request an administrative hearing. What is the purpose of this hearing and what can it do for me?

 

A hearing is your opportunity to show that the suspension or revocation is not justified.

 

For how long will my driving privilege be suspended if I took the chemical test?

 

If you are 21 years of age or older, took a blood or breath test, or (if applicable) a urine test, and the results showed 0.08% BAC or more:

 

    A first offense will result in a 4-month suspension.

    A second or subsequent offense within 10 years will result in a 1-year suspension.

 

If you are under 21 year of age, took a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test or other chemical test and results showed 0.01% BAC or more, your driving privilege will be suspended for 1 year.

 

Do I need a hearing to get a restricted license to go to and from work?

 

No. A request for a restricted license cannot be considered at the DMV hearing. You may apply for a restricted license to drive to and from work at any DMV field office.

 

The officer stated I refused to take a chemical test. What does this mean?

 

You are required by law to submit to a chemical test to determine the alcohol and/or drug content of your blood. You did not submit to or complete a blood or breath test after being requested to do so by a peace officer. As of January 1999, a urine test is no longer available unless:

 

    The officer suspects you were driving under the influence of drugs or a combination of drugs

    and alcohol, or

    Both the blood or breath tests are not available, or

    You are a hemophiliac, or

    You are taking anticoagulant medication in conjunction with a heart condition.

 

How long will my driving privilege be suspended for not taking the chemical test?

 

If you were 21 years or older at the time of arrest and you refused or failed to complete a blood or breath test, or (if applicable) a urine test:

 

    A first offense will result in a 1-year suspension.

    A second offense within 10 years will result in a 2-year revocation.

    A third or subsequent offense within 10 years will result in a 3-year revocation.

 

If you were under 21 years of age at the time of being detained or arrested and you refused or failed to complete a PAS test or other chemical test:

 

    A first offense will result in a 1-year suspension.

    A second offense within 10 years will result in a 2-year revocation.

    A third or subsequent offense within 10 years will result in a 3-year revocation.

 

How is the DMV suspension or revocation for the DUI arrest different from the suspension or revocation following my conviction in criminal court?

 

The DMV suspension or revocation is an immediate administrative action taken against your driving privilege only. This is called Administrative Per Se (APS). Any sanctions imposed by DMV under APS are independent of any court-imposed jail sentence, fine, or other criminal penalty imposed when a person is convicted for driving under the influence (DUI).

 

How to find a driving under the influence (DUI) program

 

To find out which program you require, contact the Municipal Court in the county where you appeared for sentencing of the DUI violation, or you may contact the DMV at (916) 657–6525.

 

I was on a court–ordered probation for a DUI conviction and have been arrested for DUI. What happens now?

 

An officer will serve you an immediate order of suspension if you have a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.01% or greater, as measured by a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) device or other chemical test, if you are on court–ordered probation for a DUI conviction. This is an Administrative Per Se (APS) action. You are not eligible for a restricted driver license during your suspension.  If the officer determines that you are in violation of more than one APS action, you may be issued a suspension and/or revocation order for each action.

 

You may request a hearing from DMV within 10 days of receipt of the suspension by contacting a local Driver Safety office.

 

I am scheduled to appear in court on the DUI charge. Is this similar to a DMV hearing?

 

No. The DMV hearing is an administrative proceeding regarding the suspension or revocation of your driving privilege only.

 

Why does DMV offer the right to a hearing if I am already scheduled to appear in court for the DUI charge?

 

Both our State and Federal Constitutions provide that no person shall be deprived of property without due process of law. Due process of law entitles you to a notice of the action DMV intends to take against your driving privilege and an opportunity to be heard (hearing).

 

How is the DMV hearing different from the court trial for DUI?

 

The DMV hearing is an administrative proceeding regarding your driving privilege and the circumstances surrounding the arrest, not whether you are innocent or guilty of a criminal act. Only the following issues will be discussed:

 

If you took a blood or breath or (if applicable) a urine test:

 

    Did the peace officer have reasonable cause to believe you were driving a motor vehicle in violation of Vehicle Code Section 23140 , 23152 , or 23153 ?

    Were you placed under lawful arrest?

    Were you driving a motor vehicle when you had 0.08% or more by weight of alcohol in your blood?

 

If you refused or failed to complete a blood, breath test, or (if applicable) a urine test:

 

    Did the peace officer have reasonable cause to believe you were driving a motor vehicle in violation of Vehicle Code Section 23140 , 23152 , or, 23153 ?

    Were you placed under lawful arrest?

    Were you told that if you refused to submit to or failed to complete a test of your blood, breath, or (when applicable) urine, your driving privilege would be suspended for one year or revoked for two or three years?

    Did you refuse to submit to or failed to complete a blood or breath test, or (if applicable) a urine test after being requested to do so by a peace officer?

 

Am I obligated to have a DMV hearing?

 

No. Your are not required to request a DMV hearing.

 

Does the DMV hearing substitute for the court trial?

 

No. The DMV hearing and court trial are independent of each other. The DMV hearing deals with the circumstances surrounding a DUI arrest. The Court trial deals with whether you are innocent or guilty of a criminal act.

 

The suspension of my driving privilege was sustained following my DMV hearing, but I was found not guilty of the DUI charge in criminal court. Do I get my license back?

 

When a driver has been acquitted of DUI charges in court, a suspension or revocation will be reversed if it is determined by the DMV that the court decision does, in fact, equal an acquittal.

 

The suspension of my driving privilege was sustained following my DMV hearing, but the DUI charge was reduced in criminal court to reckless driving. Do I get my license back?

 

No. A reduction of a DUI charge to reckless driving in the criminal court is separated and/or independent from the administrative proceeding, and does not affect the driving privilege suspension.

 

The suspension of my driving privilege was sustained following my DMV hearing, but the DUI charges were dismissed in the criminal court or the district attorney decided not to file a DUI charge against me. Do I get my license back?

 

Not necessarily. Current law may permit a driver a renewed right to a hearing within one year of the arrest date when a DUI charge is dismissed or not filed by a District Attorney due to lack of evidence, or filed, but later dismissed by the court because of insufficient evidence.

 

I was convicted in court of the DUI charge, but the judge said I could get a restricted license. How do I obtain this restriction?

 

If you have a non-commercial driver license and you show proof of enrollment in a DUI treatment program, file proof of financial responsibility and pay (on or after January 1, 2003) a $125 reissue fee after a mandatory 30-day suspension, you may request a restricted license to drive to and from the DUI treatment program and/or to, from, and during work. The reissue fee remains at $100 if you were under age 21 and were suspended under the Zero Tolerance Law pursuant to Vehicle Code §§23136, 13353.1, 13388, 13392.

 

How can I find a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Program as ordered by the court?

 

This link will take you to a DUI Program Directory of Service Providers.

 

If you have a commercial driver license and you were not operating a commercial vehicle at the time of the offense and pay (on or after January 1, 2003) a $125 reissue fee after a mandatory 30-day suspension, you may request a restricted license to drive to, from, and during work. The reissue fee remains at $100 if you were under age 21 and were suspended under the Zero Tolerance Law pursuant to Vehicle Code §§23136, 13353.1, 13388, 13392.

 

Any driver with a second DUI offense within 10 years may submit proof of enrollment in a DUI treatment program, proof of financial responsibility and pay a $100.00 reissue fee one year after the effective date of the suspension to drive to and from an alcohol program and to, from, and during work.

 

Any driver with a third or subsequent DUI offense within 10 years is not entitled to apply for any type of restricted license.

 

I had a DMV hearing and the hearing officer set aside the suspension and let me keep my license. Does this have any effect on what happens to the DUI charge in criminal court?

 

No. The DMV hearing officer can only set aside the administrative action against your driving privilege. This decision is separate and/or independent from any criminal charge, sanction, penalty, or decision.

 

What if I am on Probation for a DUI and was Caught with a Measurable Amount of Alcohol in my System?

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