Following a California DUI arrest, a person has only 10 days to request DMV administrative per se hearing to try and save their license. If the hearing is requested, their license will automatically be suspended. If a hearing is scheduled, but is ultimately lost, the person’s license will be suspended.
If the person enters a plea of guilty or no contest to a charge of Vehicle Code section 23152 (a) or (b), otherwise known as California’s DUI law, their license will be suspended by the court as part of the sentence.
One of the most common questions I get is, “How do I get my license back?”
If your license was suspended by the DMV after an administrative per se hearing loss, you must serve a 30-day “hard suspension.” This means that you cannot drive for 30 days after the suspension. After the 30 days has lapsed, you can apply for a restricted license.
The restricted license allows you to drive to only “essential” locations such as school, work, doctor’s appointments, and court requirements. To be able to get a restricted license, you must show proof that you are insured, proof that you have enrolled in an approved DUI program (AB541 for a first-time DUI), and a pay a reinstatement fee. In Los Angeles, you must additionally install an ignition interlock device to obtain a restricted license.
Following the expiration of the full suspension (4 months for DMV suspension, 6 months for a court suspension), you can request to have your license reinstated if you show proof that you are insured, proof that you have completed the DUI program, and pay a reinstatement fee.
The requirement that a person provide proof that they are insured can be accomplished by notifying their insurance company of the DUI arrest. The insurance company, if they still cover you, will provide a certificate called an SR-22 form which indicates that you are insured notwithstanding the DUI arrest.
If you are seeking a restricted license, enroll in an approved DUI program. Check your local California DMV for a list of approved schools. Once enrolled, the program will provide you with a proof of enrollment certificate.
If your full suspension has lapsed and are seeking a full reinstatement of your license, you must show proof that you have completed the DUI program. Once completed, the program will provide you with a certificate that you have completed the DUI program called a DL-101.
Lastly you will have to go into your local California DMV office to fill out a license reinstatement form and pay a $125 filing fee.