The California DUI License Suspension


One of the most dreaded consequences for a person who has been arrested on suspicion of a California DUI is the suspension of their license. Unbeknownst to most people who have been arrested for a California DUI is that there are actually two separate hurdles to clear to save their license; the California DMV and the court.

Following a California DUI arrest, a person only has 10 days to request a hearing through the DMV. Most California DUI attorneys will include the DMV hearing with the retainer for the court case. Independent from what happens in the court, the DMV needs to determine if the person was driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more or if the person refused a chemical test following a lawful arrest.

If it is found that the 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.

The DMV hearing process usually concludes prior to the conclusion of the court case. At court, there are usually two main issues that need to be addressed. The first is whether the person was driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more. The second is whether the person was driving a vehicle while “under the influence” of alcohol or drugs or a combination of both.

If a person is convicted and found to have a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more or is found to have been “under the influence,” they face a six month suspension through the court.

So then what happens when the DMV and court comes to different conclusions?

Here’s the cheat-sheet I use:

  • 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

If your license has been suspended either through the DMV or the court, don’t despair. You can always request a restricted license after 30 days of a “hard suspension.”

This entry was posted in California State Law, Court Proceedings, DUI Arrests and Procedures, DUI Laws and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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