California DUI General Information

I’ve just been arrested for DUI in California. What happens now?

The officer is required by law to immediately forward a
copy of the completed notice of suspension or revocation form and any
driver license taken into possession, with a sworn report to the DMV. The
DMV automatically conducts an administrative review that includes an
examination of the officer’s report, the suspension or revocation order,
and any test results. If the suspension or revocation is upheld during
the administrative review, you may request a hearing to contest the
suspension or revocation.

You have the right to request a hearing from the DMV
within 10 days of receipt of the suspension or revocation order. If the
review shows there is no basis for the suspension or revocation, the
action will be set aside. You will be notified by the DMV in writing only
if the suspension or revocation is set aside following the administrative
review.

At the time of my DUI arrest, the officer confiscated my
driver license. How do I get it back?

Your driver license will be returned to you at the end of
the suspension or revocation, provided you pay (on or after January 1,
2003) a $125 reissue fee to the DMV and you file proof of financial
responsibility. The reissue fee remains at $100 if you were under age 21
and were suspended under the Zero Tolerance Law pursuant to Vehicle Code
§23136, 13353.1, 13388, 13392. If it is determined that there is not a basis for the suspension or revocation,
your driver license will be issued or returned to you.

The officer issued me an Order of Suspension and
Temporary License. What am I supposed to do with this document?

You may drive for 30 days from the date the order of
suspension or revocation was issued, provided you have been issued a
California driver license and your driver license is not expired, or your
driving privilege is not suspended or revoked for some other reason.

The Notice of Suspension that the officer gave me at the
time of my arrest states I have ten days to request an administrative
hearing. What is the purpose of this hearing and what can it do for
me?

A hearing is your opportunity to show that the suspension
or revocation is not justified.

For how long will my driving privilege be suspended if I
took the chemical test?

If you are 21 years of age or older, took a blood or
breath test, or (if applicable) a urine test, and the results showed
0.08% BAC or more:

A first offense will result in a 4-month suspension. A
second or subsequent offense within 7 years will result in a 1-year
suspension. If you are under 21 year of age, took a preliminary alcohol
screening (PAS) test or other chemical test and results showed 0.01% BAC
or more, your driving privilege will be suspended for 1 year.

Do I need a hearing to get a restricted license to go to
and from work?

No. A request for a restricted license cannot be
considered at the DMV hearing. You may apply for a restricted license to
drive to and from work at any DMV field office.

The officer stated I refused to take a chemical test.
What does this mean?

You are required by law to submit to a chemical test to
determine the alcohol and/or drug content of your blood. You did not
submit to or complete a blood or breath test after being requested to do
so by a peace officer. As of January 1999, a urine test is no longer
available unless:

The officer suspects you were driving under the influence
of drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol, or Both the blood or
breath tests are not available, or You are a hemophiliac, or You are
taking anticoagulant medication in conjunction with a heart
condition.

How long will my driving privilege be suspended for not
taking the chemical test?

If you were 21 years of older at the time of arrest and
you refused or failed to complete a blood or breath test, or (if
applicable) a urine test:

  • A first offense will result in a 1-year suspension.
  • A
    second offense within 7 years will result in a 2-year revocation.
  • A
    third or subsequent offense within 7 years will result in a 3-year
    revocation.

If you were under 21 years of age at the time of being
detained or arrested and you refused or failed to complete a PAS test or
other chemical test:

  • A first offense will result in a 1-year suspension.
  • A
    second offense within 7 years will result in a 2-year revocation.
  • A
    third or subsequent offense within 7 years will result in a 3-year
    revocation.

How is the DMV suspension or revocation for the DUI
arrest different from the suspension or revocation following my
conviction in criminal court?

The DMV suspension or revocation is an administrative
action taken against your driving privilege only. The suspension or
revocation following a conviction in court is a mandatory action for
which jail, fine, or other criminal penalty can be imposed.

Source: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/dl/driversafety/dsalcohol.htm

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