Common questions about license revocation after DUI in California

After getting arrested for drinking and driving, drivers may have several questions about what will happen regarding their right to drive.

In California, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association, it is illegal for drivers to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content level at or above 0.08. Drivers arrested for DUI face serious consequences, and after the arrest, many drives have questions about what will happen moving forward, especially where their driver's license is concerned.

What happens after the arrest?

After a DUI arrest occurs, the law enforcement official overseeing the case must immediately provide a copy of the suspension or revocation form and any driver's license retrieved to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Then, the DMV conducts an administrative review that involves reviewing the suspension or revocation order, the officer's report and any test results obtained during the arrest process. If the administrative review approves the revocation or suspension, the arrested driver may request a hearing to contest the revocation or suspension. This hearing must be requested by the driver or their attorney within 10 days from the receipt of notice of suspension and temporary license (usually at the time of the arrest). Therefore, time is of the essence.

How do drivers arrested for DUI get their licenses back?

Drivers arrested for drunk driving can have their license returned once the revocation or suspension period is over as long as they pay a $125 fee to the DMV and file proof of financial responsibility. However, if the administrative review process determines the suspension or revocation was unwarranted, drivers will have their license returned to them at no charge.

In some cases, drivers may be eligible for a restricted license after serving some time with a full suspension. The requirements for getting a restricted license include signing up for drinking/driving classes and obtaining SR-22 insurance. An attorney can be very helpful in this process.drivers should apply for a restricted license at a DMV field office.

What is the purpose of an administrative hearing?

Drivers who request an administrative hearing with the DMV within 10 days have the opportunity to show the revocation or the suspension of their driver's license following a DUI arrest is not justified. Although the administrative hearing deals with the same facts as the criminal case, the procedures, rules of evidence, and consequences are different than the criminal court. In the administrative hearing, it is critical to have a lawyer for the driver to cross-examine the DMV's witnesses, limit the admissibility of DMV evidence, and bring forth the most relevant and help evidence in favor of the driver.

Reach out to an attorney

Not only may drivers arrested for DUI in California have questions about their right to drive, but they may also have questions about the additional consequences they face. For this reason, drivers should seek the legal guidance and assistance of an attorney after a DUI arrest.