DMV Consequences for DUI First Offense
We can handle both your criminal and DMV case immediately. Call 1-800-958-8293 or fill out the form before it’s too late.
Drivers arrested for a DUI first offense face two separate cases at the DMV and in court. California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will attempt to suspend a suspected drunk drivers license in what is known as an administrative per se (APS) hearing. A motorist arrested for drunk driving has only 10 calendar days to request a DMV hearing (* This document is in PDF format. You will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader® software to view the document). If no hearing is requested within 10 days, the DMV will automatically begin the process of suspending a driver’s license. A charge for a 2nd DUI offense or 3rd DUI offense faces its own special challenges.
You have only 10 days from your arrest to act before you automatically lose your driver’s license.
The consequences of an unsuccessful APS hearing depend on whether the motorist has prior convictions for drinking and driving or refused to take a chemical test. An experienced California DUI defense lawyer can represent the interests of an accused drunk driver at an APS hearing and fight to maintain the individuals driving privileges.
For first-time DUI drivers, the punishment imposed by the DMV depends on whether the motorist agreed to take a DUI chemical test. A driver in a DUI first offense case who agreed to a chemical test faces a four-month license suspension and the requirement to file formal proof of insurance (an SR-22) with the DMV for the next three years. The motorist also is required to enroll in alcohol education classes. The driver may be entitled to a restricted license that allows travel to work and alcohol education classes.
First-time DUI drivers who refuse to take a chemical test face harsher consequences. Drivers who refused a chemical test face a license suspension of one year, with no opportunity to obtain a restricted license. The driver must file an SR-22 in order to have the license reinstated at the end of the suspension period.
In order to suspend a driver’s license at an APS hearing, the DMV must determine three facts:
- that police had a reasonable belief that the driver committed a crime
- that the arrest was lawful
- that the driver had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or greater while behind the wheel
A skilled DUI criminal defense attorney will cast doubt on all three of these assertions.
Its important to remember that punishment imposed in connection with an APS hearing is separate from any consequences stemming from a court conviction. Although courts no longer have the authority to order driver’s license suspensions, the DMV will suspend a driver’s license for six months upon learning of a drunk driving conviction. This suspension is concurrent with, not in addition to, any APS suspension.
Although the DMV can suspend the driver’s license of a first-time DUI arrestee as a result of an unsuccessful APS hearing or a criminal court conviction, neither outcome is inevitable. An experienced California DUI attorney can launch an aggressive defense at both the DMV and in court, and keep negative consequences to a minimum.