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Can I Rent a Car After a DUI?

There are lots of restrictions after a DUI conviction. DUI penalties go far beyond fines and jail time. A drunk driving conviction can require DUI school, license suspension, restricted driving, and community service. Beyond the courts, you may find an increase in insurance rates, impact on your job, and even prevent you from traveling to Canada

One of the ways most people don't think about is how a DUI can limit your ability to rent a car. Many people rely on car rentals for out-of-town business, family vacations, or getting to work when their car is in the shop. A California DUI conviction can restrict your ability to rent a car, even after your license is reinstated. 

After reviewing this information, if you have any other questions or want immediate help for a DUI arrest, contact our law firm immediately

Driving Restrictions After a DUI

After a California DUI arrest and DUI conviction, there are driving restrictions. The limits on driving can be confusing because they can be imposed by the courts, the DMV, and private companies. The court will generally restrict a license after a conviction. The DMV can suspend your license after an arrest, even with no conviction. Private companies, like rental car companies, can impose just about any restriction they want.

Suspended License and Car Rentals

After a DUI arrest (before any conviction), the police will take away your license and give you a temporary license that is only good for 30 days. After 30 days, your driving privileges will be suspended. You have only 10 days to request a DMV hearing to keep your driving privileges. This is why it is important to contact a DUI lawyer as soon as possible after an arrest. 

When your license is suspended, you will not legally be allowed to drive in California or other states. You will also generally be restricted from renting a car at any car rental agency in the U.S. Do not present an invalid driver's license to a car rental company to try and rent a car or it can lead to financial and legal problems if you are pulled over or get into an accident. 

Ignition Interlock IID License and Car Rentals

Most first-time DUIs in California are eligible for an ignition interlock device (IID). An IID is a device installed in a car that allows the driver to blow a clean breath into the device to start and operate the car. Shortly after a DUI, the driver can get an IID license, get it installed on their vehicle, and continue to drive with an IID until they are eligible to have their license reinstated

In general, rental car companies do not have IID-enabled vehicles for rent. If you have an IID-restricted California driver's license, you will not likely be able to rent a car from a major car rental company in the U.S. Even after your full license is reinstated, most car companies will still refuse to rent a vehicle to someone with a recent DUI (up to 4 years after the DUI conviction). 

Car Rental Company Policies

Even if you have paid your dues, waited out the license suspension, and have fully reinstated your license, the car rental companies can still decide to turn you away. The car rental policy for each individual company may be different. For example, Budget's car rental policy provides that you can rent a car with a DUI on your record as long as you've had no DUIs in the past 48 months (4 years). 

Avis has a similar DUI policy, restricting rentals for drivers with a DUI in the past 4 years. Some car rental companies may still rent to a driver with a prior DUI. Many rental companies do not do a background check or driving record check. Some car rental counters only check to see the driver has a license. Unfortunately, the individual may not know if their reinstated license will work until they go to pick-up the vehicle.  

Are Car Rental Companies Liable for Damage After Renting to a Driver with a DUI?

Car rental companies can rent a vehicle to a driver as long as they have a valid license and insurance. Car rental companies do not have a duty to investigate DMV records of a driver. California courts have found that the car rental agency is not liable for a driver's accident involving a DUI if the driver had a valid license at the time and showed no signs of impairment. However, the car rental companies may still not want to rent a car to someone with a DUI for liability reasons. 

East Bay DUI Defenses to Keep Your License

If you are worried about the consequences of a DUI, the best way to keep your driving privileges is to challenge the conviction. Contact an experienced East Bay DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible after an arrest to give you the best chance to keep your license. 

East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 37 years of DUI defense experience and understands all the most up-to-date changes in DUI laws and science. Representing individuals in Alameda County and Contra Costa County, Lynn Gorelick is familiar with the local criminal laws, local officers, judges, and the prosecutors involved. Contact East Bay DUI defense lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.

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