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Driver's License Reinstatement After a DUI

Two of the possible penalties for a DUI arrest are the loss of your California Driver License.  First, the California Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend your driver license based solely upon the arrest itself, as an administrative action.  Then, if you are found guilty of driving with blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, the DMV will also issue a suspension of your license based upon theconviction.  These are two separate suspensions, and they are completely separate and independent of one another.  Either way, at a certain point, you will want to get your license back.  Even here in the East Bay, people need their car to get to work, to school, simply going to the store, or just for the freedom to get out of town occasionally.

Reinstatement of License

In order to have your driver license reissued or reinstated after a DUI suspension, you will need to comply with certain requirements. This includes:

  • Waiting out the suspension period;

  • Pay any court mandated fines, if required;

  • Provide proof of financial responsibility (typically automobile insurance), usually an SR-22 certificate;

  • Complete the appropriate class from a licensed DUI school, and obtain a Notice of Completion Certificate;

  • Have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed, if required; and,

  • Pay the driver license reissue fee to the DMV.

Restricted License

In some cases, a suspended license can be converted into a restricted license. This allows a person limited driving privileges. Generally, it will permit you to drive to and from work (or school) and in the scope of employment, to court and to DUI school as required. In cases where, as a condition for obtaining a restricted license, the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device, or IID (see below) is required, there is no restriction as to where or when you can drive.

To get a restricted license, you are required to wait for a certain period of time once your suspension begins (typically 30 days on a First Offense, 90 on a Second, etc.), obtain and file an SR-22 certificate of financial responsibility with the DMV, and show Proof of Enrollment in the appropriate DUI class. Once all these have been accomplished, you can go to the nearest DMV office, pay the re-issue fee of $125, and apply for a restricted driver license.

Suspension Period

There are mandatory suspension periods associated with losing your APS hearing and/or being convicted of a DUI.  The suspension time can be limited by requesting the restricted license as described above.  The length of time will depend on the specific type of DUI. In most cases, a first (non-commercial) DUI will result in a 6 month suspended license that can be limited to 30 days. A second DUI within a 10 year period can result in a 2 year suspension, which in certain cases, can be limited to 90 days. A third DUI can result in a 3 year suspension, which in certain cases, can be limited to 6 months.

SR-22 Filing

Before you can get your driver's license reinstated, you will be required to obtain an SR-22. An SR-22 is a certificate of financial responsibility. This is a requirement after a DUI conviction, or for other major driving violations. You will also have to pay for the fees associated with an SR-22 filing. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires an SR-22 be electronically filed prior to obtaining either a restricted license, or having your driver license fully reinstated. If you lose insurance coverage, the insurance company will immediately notify the DMV of your non-coverage.

I Should that occur, in order to drive again, you will be required to purchase at least the minimum levels of auto insurance coverage as required under California law. After securing an insurance policy meeting these minimums, your insurance company will verify you have the minimum coverage. The SR-22 requirement usually lasts for a period of three years.

It is always possible for you to buy higher insurance coverage, but the minimum liability under California law is 15/30/5, or:

  • $15,000 bodily injury liability per person

  • $30,000 bodily injury liability per accident

  • $5,000 property damage liability per accident.

Ignition Interlock Device Installation

Another requirement for reinstatement of your driving privileges in Alameda County is the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID). In Contra Costa County, an IID is only required for a second, or subsequent, DUI. After installation, the car will only start after the driver blows into the device. If the driver does not blow an alcohol-free breath into the device, the car will not start.  The device requires periodic tests to remain in operation. You will be responsible for the costs associated with installation and maintenance of the IID.

DUI School/DUI Program

Enrollment in and completion of DUI programs is a requirement for most alcohol-related driving offenses. The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) regulates DUI programs in the state. The type of required program will depend on the violation. This includes: The Wet Reckless Programs (12-hour); First Offender Programs (3 to 9 months); and the subsequent DUI offenders programs (18 to 30 months).

A list of licensed DUI program providers can be found here.

Payment of Fines & Reissue Fee

You will be required to pay any fines assessed by the court.  Additionally, you will have to pay a reissue fee to the DMV for your license to be reinstated. In most cases, the DUI reissue fee is $125.

East Bay DMV Office Locations

For more information about your driver's license suspension, and how to get your license reinstated, contact the DMV during normal business hours at: 1-800-777-0133. Or visit your local DMV office.

Alameda County has five (5) DMV offices, including: Oakland; Oakland Coliseum;Hayward; Pleasanton; and Fremont.

Contra Costa County has four (4) DMV offices, including: El Cerrito; Walnut Creek;Concord; and Pittsburg.

Experienced DUI Attorney Representation:

Whether you are arrested for a DUI in Hayward, Oakland, Berkeley, or Dublin; Walnut Creek, El Cerrito, Danville, or Richmond; or anywhere else in Alameda or Contra Costa counties, Lynn Gorelick is familiar with the local DUI laws and license repercussions. She knows the local prosecutors, judges, and officers involved. With over 36 years of DUI experience, Lynn Gorelick understands the law and the science required to fight DUI, and other alcohol charges.  

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