The state of California takes driving under the influence very seriously and has put mandatory penalties for a DUI arrest and conviction into place. Besides potential jail time and fines, you will lose your California driver’s license after a DUI conviction. How long you lose your license depends on your specific case.
If you’ve been arrested for DUI, don’t delay seeking legal advice from a Los Angeles DUI lawyer. Working with an experienced DUI lawyer can help you get the best possible outcome in your case. The Simmrin Law Group has experienced lawyers who specialize in DUI cases. We may be able to help get your charges reduced or even dismissed.
A DUI Arrest Results in an Automatic Suspension
In California, if you are pulled over and ultimately charged with DUI under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a), your California driver’s license is automatically suspended, per the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) regulations concerning DUI arrests.
The police officer will confiscate your license after your arrest. If you have an out-of-state driver’s license, the officer will not confiscate your license. However, in both cases, the officer will issue you a pink, temporary driver’s license.
The DMV suspension or revocation is an administrative action the state takes against your driving privileges only. This is called Administrative Per Se (APS). This administrative action is totally separate from any penalties handed down by the courts, which may include fines, jail time, further suspension of your license, and mandatory treatment programs.
Once your DUI case has made it through the legal system, you will have to pay additional reinstatement fees to get your license back. If you are found not guilty of DUI or the charges are dropped, your driver’s license will be returned to you with no required fee. To find out if your license has been suspended in California, request a copy of your driver record from the DMV.
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Request a Hearing With the Department of Motor Vehicles
It is possible to contest the automatic suspension of your license by the DMV, but you must act quickly. Within 10 days of your arrest, you should contact the DMV to request a hearing. At the hearing, you can present your case on why you believe your license should not be revoked.
A DUI lawyer can represent you in this hearing to give you the best possible chance of success. If you fail to request a hearing, the DMV will proceed to suspend your license within 30 days of your arrest. This suspension will occur even if you are later found not guilty in your criminal trial.
Possible Penalties for a DUI Conviction in California
Potential penalties for a DUI conviction in California get progressively harsher if it is your second, third, or even fourth DUI arrest. While jail time and fines can be hard to deal with, losing your driver’s license can sometimes be even more of a hardship, especially if you have a long commute or drive for a living. Even with light sentencing, the penalties can be tough for a DUI conviction.
For a First DUI Offense
Your license may be suspended anywhere from one month to one year.
You may be sentenced to jail time anywhere from two days to six months.
You may be assessed a fine of up to $2,000.
You may face a mandatory completion of a shorter alcohol treatment program.
For a Second DUI Offense
Your license may be suspended anywhere from 90 days to two years.
You may be sentenced to jail time anywhere from four days to one year.
You may be assessed a fine of up to $2,500.
You may face a mandatory completion of an 18-month alcohol treatment program.
For a Third DUI Offense
Your license may be suspended for up to three years
You may be sentenced to jail time anywhere from 120 days to one year.
You may be assessed a fine of up to $3,000.
You may face a mandatory completion of an 18-month alcohol treatment program.
In addition, Los Angeles is one of four pilot counties that requires you to install an Ignition Interlock Device in your vehicle if convicted of a DUI. The Ignition Interlock Device is a breathalyzer in your own vehicle that will require you to blow a BAC below the legal limit in order for your car to start.
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Other Factors That Can Increase the Length of Your Suspension
There are other factors that could come into play concerning your DUI conviction that may result in an increase in the length of time your driver’s license is suspended.
Refusing a Chemical Test
When you are pulled over for a suspected DUI, the police officer will likely request that you take a chemical test. You can refuse this initial request unless you are under 21 years old or have a prior DUI conviction. However, after you are arrested, the officer will request a second time that you take a chemical test. This time you are required to do so.
Failing to take a chemical test after an arrest can result in an additional one to three-year suspension of your driver’s license.
On a DUI Probation
If you are still on probation from a previous DUI arrest, a new DUI charge can result in an additional one to three-year suspension.
DUI Results in an Injury or Death
A DUI that results in the injury or death of another person can greatly increase all of the potential penalties that you face. In some cases, this can include the permanent revocation of your driver’s license.
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Permanent Revocation of Your License After a DUI Conviction
There are certain cases where you may permanently lose your California driver’s license after a DUI conviction. Sometimes the permanent revocation can occur after your first offense.
4th Offense DUI Conviction
Upon a fourth DUI conviction, the state of California will revoke your license forever, regardless of the time that has passed since your prior DUI convictions. If you are a commercial driver, you might lose your commercial driver’s license (CDL) permanently with your second DUI conviction.
DUI With Serious Injury Conviction
You would face this charge if a DUI caused an auto accident that led to a serious injury. The judge will decide what happens with your license if you are convicted of this DUI charge. You could face a minimum of three years of suspension, or the judge could revoke your license permanently.
DUI Manslaughter Conviction
You might face a DUI manslaughter charge if your DUI resulted in someone’s death. If you are convicted of DUI manslaughter, the judge will suspend your license for three years or more. In some cases, the judge will revoke your license permanently.
DUI Murder Conviction
If someone died as a result of your DUI, you could be charged with DUI manslaughter or DUI murder. DUI murder, also known as the Watson Murder Law, is the most serious charge and implies a conscious disregard for human life. If you are convicted of DUI murder, your license will be revoked for life.
Defenses Against DUI Charges In California
Many possible defenses could be used to fight DUI charges, depending on the specifics of your case. Below are two of the most commonly used arguments in DUI cases.
Stopped Without Probable Cause
Police officers must have a valid reason to stop vehicles. If your lawyer can prove that the arresting officer did not have a valid reason for pulling you over, they could get all of the resulting evidence that the officer gathered against you suppressed.
You Were Not Under the Influence
Your lawyer may attempt to prove that there was no actual evidence of impairment when you were charged with a DUI by the arresting officer.
Contact a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer for a Free Consultation
Whatever the circumstances of your DUI case are, you need a lawyer working with you to help make sure you get the best possible outcome for you and your family. If you or a loved one has already been convicted of DUI, and you want to appeal, you need an experienced Los Angeles DUI appeals lawyer on your side.
Call the Simmrin Law Group or use our online contact form to schedule a free case evaluation. We’re available to help you 24/7.