Will My License be Suspended after a California DUI Conviction?


One of the most feared consequences associated with a California DUI conviction is the license suspension. While most people who have been convicted of a California DUI know that their license will be suspended, few know the process by which a license is suspended or for how long a license will be suspended following a DUI arrest. 
 
 
The first thing that people should be aware of is the fact that there are two separate proceedings which can lead to a license suspension; 1.) the DMV administrative per se (APS) action, and 2.) the court case.
 
Following the DUI arrest where it is suspected that a person had a blood alcohol content of at least 0.08 percent or if the person refused a chemical, that person has only 10 days to request a hearing from the DMV to try and save their driving privilege. Most people do nothing and their license is automatically suspended. If, however, a hearing is scheduled, that person or an attorney can present evidence to refute that the BAC was at or above a 0.08 percent or that the person refused a chemical test. 
 
These “APS” hearings are very difficult to win. This is because the hearing officer, who is an employee of the DMV, is both the proponent of the incriminating evidence as well as the finder of fact. In other words, the hearing officer acts as the prosecutor, jury, and judge. 
 
At the APS hearing, if it is found that a person had a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more, they face a four month suspension. If it is found that the person refused a chemical test following a lawful arrest, they face a one year suspension. If the hearing is successful and it is found that the person neither had a 0.08 blood alcohol content nor refused the chemical test, their license is safe…at least for now.
 
Even if the DMV APS process has concluded, chances are that the court case is still ongoing. If a person is convicted of a California DUI either through a plea deal or after a trial, the court will notify the DMV of the conviction which triggers a “mandatory action” suspension. This suspension is six months in length. If the person served any time for an APS suspension, that time will be credited against the mandatory action suspension and the remaining APS suspension, if there is any, is served concurrently with the mandatory action suspension. In other words, a person who loses the APS hearing and is also convicted at court should serve no more than a six month suspension. 
 
So what happens when the APS hearing and the court case have different outcomes? 
 
DMV hearing loss and a court conviction -> License suspension
DMV hearing loss and a court dismissal -> License suspension
DMV hearing loss and an acquittal after a court trial -> License suspension set aside
DMV hearing win and a court conviction -> License suspension
DMV hearing win and a court dismissal -> No license suspension
DMV hearing win and an acquittal after a court trial -> No license suspension
 
Whether a license is suspended through the APS process or the mandatory action, a person can apply for a restricted license after 30 days of a “hard suspension.” During the hard suspension, the person cannot drive at all. After the hard suspension, and if a restricted license is granted, a person can travel to and from work, school, doctor’s appointments, and other necessary locations. 
 
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John Stamos Busted for California DUI


John Stamos, best known for his role as Uncle Jessie on Full House, was arrested this past Friday on suspicion of driving under the influence in Beverly Hills, California. 

 
 
Police in Beverly Hills responded to several calls about an “erratic driver” this past Friday evening. 
 
It was unclear, at the time, whether the actor was suffering from a medical condition or was intoxicated. Police then transported the 51 year-old actor to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. It was later determined that Stamos had been allegedly driving under the influence. 
 
Stamos was then placed under arrest, cited with a California DUI, and released into the hospital’s care. 
 
Variety reports that the actor’s first court date is set for September 11, 2015.
 
After being released, Stamos tweeted “Thanks to everyone for their love & support. I’m home & well. Very appreciative of the BHPD & Cedars for their care.”
 
If convicted, Stamos faces informal “summary” probation for three to five years, up to six months in county jail, between $390 to $1,000 plus assessment in fines and fees, a three, six, or nine month court-approved DUI program, and a six month license suspension through the California DMV.
 
Although, if it is determined that there are no aggravating factors, such as a particularly high blood alcohol content, Stamos is more likely looking at three years of informal probation, $390 plus assessments in fines and fees, a three month DUI program, and a six month license suspension through the California DMV. 
 
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Court Rules Valet Under No Obligation to Withhold Keys from Drunk Driver


Pennsylvania’s appellate court issued a ruling last week which limited the liability of valets and their employers when intoxicated drivers are returned their keys and subsequently cause an accident.
 
 
On January 11, 2011, a valet working for the Mohegan Sun Pocono Casino located in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, returned keys to Richard Moranko, 38. After leaving the casino, Moranko was involved in a single-car accident which took his life. Tests later determined that Moranko’s blood alcohol content was 0.329 percent, more than four times the legal limit.
 
Moranko’s mother, Faye Moranko, filed a lawsuit alleging that the casino was negligent in serving alcohol to her son, who was visibly intoxicated, and for giving him the keys to his car. 
 
The casino was granted summary judgment in 2012 and Moranko’s mother appealed.
 
After losing the appeal last June, the Pennsylvania Superior Court, which is one of two appellate courts in Pennsylvania allowed Moranko’s mother to reargue the case.
 
Once again, the court held for the casino. 
 
“While we sympathize greatly with Moranko’s loss, we cannot find that, as a matter of law, Mohegan Sun had the power, let alone the duty, to withhold the decedent’s keys,” the judges wrote in their ruling, acknowledging the case is the first of its kind for the state.
 
The casino relied upon a state Supreme Court decision that held a social host with no right of control over a drunk guest’s vehicle could not be held liable for negligence. It also relied on a Nevada Supreme Court case which established that a parking lot attendant cannot be liable for returning a car to an intoxicated owner because the attendant is required by law to return the property on demand.
 
 
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DUI Offenders with Suspended Licenses Caught Driving Away From Court


Undercover sting operations by law enforcement agencies aimed at catching DUI offenders with suspended licenses driving away from court are not uncommon. And last week, one such operation took place in Newport Beach, California.
 
 
Orange County sheriff’s deputies staked out the parking lot of the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach with the hopes of nabbing DUI offenders who attempted to drive away from the courthouse with suspended licenses. 
 
"They’re driving on a suspended license, which obviously is a violation of the law, but they all stem from a DUI case, and all the funding dollars and all the enforcing efforts that we’re doing are to combat driving under the influence," Orange County Sheriff’s Department Lieutenant Jeff Hallock told CBS Los Angeles. 
 
Unfortunately, many of the people caught during such stings have no other way of getting to their court hearing. Instead of having a bench warrant issued if they are a no-show, they would rather run the risk of getting caught driving on a suspended license. 
 
In California, when a person is arrested for a DUI, the California DMV may suspend that person’s license through a process known as the Admin Per Se (APS) action for a period of four months. Following a conviction for a DUI, the court notifies the DMV of the conviction and the DUI offender’s license will be suspended for a period of six months. This is called the Mandatory Action suspension. A DUI offender will get credit against the mandatory action suspension for any time the person’s license was suspended during the APS suspension. 
 
If a person is caught driving with a suspended license, and the reason for the suspension was a California DUI, that person is looking at informal probation for up to three years, ten days to six months in county jail, $300-$100 in fines and fees, and installation of an ignition interlock device. 
 
The Newport Beach sting yielded eight arrests over the course of just a few hours. 
 
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California Lawmakers Get DD at Taxpayer Expense


Apparently California lawmakers are driving drunk often enough that the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Office have hired “special service assistants” whose job is to provide “ground transportation for Senate members.” 
 
 
According to the Sacramento Bee, four lawmakers in the past five years have been accused of driving under the influence of alcohol, one of which was State Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego whom I wrote about last August. 
 
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León refused to discuss the detail of the special service assistant program. “We’re not going to provide comment, because it’s a security issue,” his spokesman, Anthony Reyes, said.
 
While President de León might not be talking, a man who turned down the designated driver position is. He told the Sacramento Bee that Senate officials approached him about being an 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. on-call driver to drive senators home “just if they were drinking too much…and to pick them up and take them home.”
 
Senate members have been given small plastic cards with the phone number for “Sacramento 24 hr transportation.” The card features a “California State Senate” banner across the top with a picture of the Capitol dome in the background. The card also includes a phone number for the Senate’s Chief Sergeant-at-Arms Debbie Manning with the message advising members to call her “in an emergency.” 
 
Although the card says that the number is for emergency only, Senator Jeff Stone R-Temecula otherwise. “There is no reason to have anyone on staff 24 hours a day, which is really nothing more than a specialized transport for those that may over indulge,” said Stone.
 
Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, said the rides are reflective of the Legislature’s “air of entitlement” and the “growing divide between legislators and ordinary citizens.”
 
“They get all these perks,” he told the Sacramento Bee. “Perhaps at the end of session, when things run late, there could be some temporary allocation made so legislators can get to the airport. But on an ongoing basis, this makes no sense.”
 
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