If you have been arrested for DUI in California, you may be confused about the status of your driving privileges. If your license was suspended, you may be wondering how and when you can obtain a restricted license.
A restricted driver license may be given only after a mandatory 30-day suspension period ends. Although the total period of suspension is longer than 30-days, you may be eligible to get a restricted license that would grant you limited driving privileges. Generally, a restricted license allows a person to drive to-and-from work, during work, and to-and-from the DUI alcohol program.
However, a new DMV procedure (that was previously available in only 4 California counties under a pilot program) will become available throughout California effective 2019. This new procedure allows first-time DUI violators to drive without restriction after the first 30 days of suspension, so long as an ignition interlock device is installed in any vehicle owned and/or operated by the violator. Generally, the ignition interlock device must be maintained for a 5-month period.
The Q & A list below is designed to answer many of the questions you are likely to have about a restricted driver license.
Will I lose my driver’s license?
If you are arrested for DUI, the arresting officer will immediately confiscate your license at the scene. You then have 10 days to request a DMV hearing to challenge the suspension of your license. If you do not request a hearing, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended.
My driving privileges were suspended following my DMV hearing, but I was found not guilty of the DUI charges in court. Do I get my license back?
If you were acquitted of all DUI charges in court, the DMV will verify the acquittal of all DUI charges and the suspension (or revocation) will be reversed. That means you would get your license back.
My driving privileges were suspended after my DMV hearing, but I plead guilty only to a reckless driving in court. Do I get my license back?
No. The DMV takes action separate and independent from the court.
My driving privileges were suspended after my DMV hearing, but the DA’s Office did not file DUI charges against me (or my DUI charges were dismissed). Do I get my license back?
Not necessarily. Under California law, a driver may have a renewed right to a hearing within one year of the driver’s arrest if the DUI charge is not filed by the DA due to insufficient evidence, or if the case is dismissed for insufficient evidence.
I got a conviction for DUI. How can I get a restricted license?
After a mandatory 30-day suspension, you must show proof of enrollment in a DUI treatment program, proof of financial responsibility (SR 22), and pay reissue fee of $125. You may request a restricted license that would allow you to drive to and from the DUI program and/or to, from, and during work.
If you were under 21 and your license was suspended under the Zero Tolerance Law, the reissue fee remains at $100 (Vehicle Code §§23136, 13353.1, 13388, 13392).
If you have a commercial driver license and you were not operating a commercial vehicle at the time of the offense: after a mandatory 30-day suspension, you may request a restricted license by paying a reissue fee of $125. The restricted license would allow you to drive to and from work. It would also allow you to drive during work.
For commercial driver licenses: if you were under 21 and your license was suspended under the Zero Tolerance Law, the reissue fee remains at $100 (Vehicle Code §§23136, 13353.1, 13388, 13392).
Anyone who has suffered a 2nd DUI conviction within 10 years of a prior conviction: you may request a restricted license one year after the effective date of the suspension. You must show proof of enrollment in the DUI program, pay a reissue fee of $100, and provide proof of financial responsibility.
Anyone with a 3rd DUI conviction or more within 10 years of the prior two convictions is not eligible to apply for a restricted license.
If you have any other questions about your DUI case or your driving privileges, you can discuss you matter during a free consultation with an expert DUI lawyer at California Criminal Defense Center. Call us toll free at 1-800-4-DUI-LAW (1-800-438-4529). You can also email us by completing the free consultation form on this page.