Most people have to have a car to get around. Parts of Oakland and the East Bay have good public transportation with the BART and buses but it might not be convenient based on location or time. An unfortunate part of a drunk driving arrest is losing your license. If you get caught driving on a suspended or restricted license, it can add additional penalties.
The consequences of a DUI go far beyond just a fine and suspended license. Probation can follow you for a year and you will have a prior DUI on your record. If you were arrested for a DUI in Oakland or the East Bay, you do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested. Before you plead guilty and lose your license, talk to an experienced California DUI lawyer about your options.
What Is a Restricted License in California?
After a drunk driving or impaired driving arrest in California, your license will be administratively suspended 30 days after the arrest. You have a few options, including:
- Accept the suspension and don't drive
- Challenge the administrative suspension so you can keep your full license
- Get a restricted license that allows driving to and from work/school/medical appointments
- Get an ignition interlock device (IID) restricted license
Restricted License With Limited Driving
There are a couple of restricted license options. One is a restricted driver's license that allows only limited driving, to and from specific places. After your license is suspended, you have to apply for this type of license through the DMV. First, you have to wait for 30 days of your suspension with no driving.
To apply for a restricted license, you can use the Application for Non-Commercial Restricted Driver License for Financial Responsibility Actions. With the restricted license, your options to drive include:
- To, from, and during employment. This is for non-commercial vehicle driving, allowing you to drive any insured vehicle to and from your job or on the job.
- School transportation for minor dependents. This is for driving your minor dependent to and from school because no public or school bus transportation is available.
- Medical treatment. This is for health problems requiring more than one treatment. For this, you have to indicate the type of health treatment and name of treatment center. This also authorizes the DMV to get information about your medical records from the health care facility.
Under California Vehicle Code § 13352.4, drivers are also required to get an SR-22 proof of financial responsibility, enroll in DUI school, and pay the restricted license application fee to the DMV.
Restricted IID License
An ignition interlock device (IID) license is another type of restricted license that should allow you to drive anywhere. However, the restriction is that you have to have an alcohol-detection device installed and blow alcohol-free breaths into the device to drive. You can apply for this type of license at any time without waiting out the license suspension period.
An IID acts like a breathalyzer lock on your vehicle ignition. Drivers will need to get an IID installed in their vehicle and pay any installation and maintenance fees. The IID generally needs to be taken in for inspection and calibration at least every 60 days. If there are any violations or attempts to tamper with or remove the device, it will be reported to the DMV. Any violations can result in revoking your license.
To use an IID, you have to blow a clean (alcohol-free) breath into the device to start the car. The vehicle will then alert for continuing rolling samples while the vehicle is in operation. With an IID, there are no restrictions on where you can drive and for what reasons. The only restriction to this license is using the ignition device.
A first DUI conviction will generally require an IID for 4 months. A second DUI offense can require an IID for one year, and a third DUI requires a 2-year IID restriction. After that, if you have completed the other requirements, you can get your full license reinstated.
Administrative Per Se (APS) Hearing
There are two ways your license can be suspended after a DUI. Your license can be suspended after a DUI conviction or with an administrative suspension after the arrest. When you are arrested, the police will take your license and give you a slip of paper that acts as a temporary driving permit. The permit is only good for 30 days.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will administratively suspend your license 30 days after an arrest. The only way to stop this is to request a DMV hearing. You only have 10 days to request an APS hearing with the DMV. Your lawyer can do this for you and your lawyer may also be able to appear at the APS hearing so you don't have to.
If you get a DMV hearing, your license suspension will be postponed until the hearing. This generally means you can keep driving beyond the 30-day period, depending on the outcome of the hearing and your criminal case. If you win your DMV hearing, you can keep driving until you find out about the criminal case. If you lose the hearing, you can still apply for a restricted license.
Do Nothing and Wait Out the License Suspension
If you do nothing after a DUI arrest, your license will be suspended. A DMV license suspension generally lasts for 4 months. If you are convicted of a DUI, your license suspension will depend on the offense. Most 1st-time DUIs carry a 6-month license suspension. During this time, without a restricted license, you cannot drive at all.
Some people may not rely on their license for day-to-day activities and can get a California ID for identification instead of a driver's license. If you don't plan to drive, you can get an exemption from the IID requirement by submitting an exemption form. This requires individuals to certify they:
- Do not own a vehicle;
- No longer have access to a vehicle at your place of residence; and
- No longer have access to the vehicle used when the DUI offense occurred.
After the license suspension period, you can apply to reinstate your driving privileges.
DUI Defense in the East Bay
If you are arrested for drunk driving in the East Bay, talk to a DUI defense attorney about your driving rights. East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 38 years of DUI defense experience and understands how to approach each case for the greatest chance for success. Representing individuals in Oakland, Alameda County, and Contra Costa County, Lynn Gorelick is familiar with the local DMV and licensing laws for drivers accused of a DUI.