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How Do I Get My License Back After a Second DUI in California?

The penalties for a drunk driving conviction in California can seem harsh but after dealing with them for a few months, it may not seem like such a big deal. Even though a DUI is expensive, the most frustrating part for many drivers is the ignition interlock device. However, after only 6 months, you can get the IID restriction lifted. 

After a 2nd DUI, the penalties are harsher than for a 1st offense. Not only will you have to keep the IID for a lot longer, it will take more time before you can get your full driving privileges restored after a 2nd drunk driving conviction. 

There are several ways to be able to keep your license even if you were arrested for a second DUI. Fighting the drunk driving charge and challenging the DMV suspension are ways you can keep your license after an unfortunate drunk driving arrest. If you are arrested in Oakland or the East Bay and don't want to lose your license, call an experienced East Bay DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible. 

What Happens to Your License After a 2nd DUI?

Like your first DUI, as part of the arrest and booking process, the police will take away your license and give you that pink piece of paper that acts as a temporary license. You probably remember this from the first DUI, but you have to act immediately if you want to keep your license. 

DMV License Suspension Hearing

The temporary paper license is good for 30 days but you only have 10 days to request a DMV hearing to keep your license. Your California DUI defense attorney can request a formal hearing for an administrative per se (APS) hearing. After you request a hearing, you will buy additional time before your license is administratively suspended. 

During the APS hearing, your attorney can present your case to show that there is enough doubt to justify keeping your license until you've had your day in court, including showing: 

  • The police did not have probable cause to stop the vehicle
  • Field sobriety tests were inaccurate and flawed
  • The chemical breath testing was inaccurate or improperly administered

If your attorney can win your APS hearing, you can keep your license, pending the outcome of your criminal case. If your attorney can successfully defend your criminal charges, you won't have to deal with a suspended license at all and can go back to living your normal life. 

Pleading Guilty to a 2nd DUI or Wet Reckless 

In some cases, pleading guilty or nolo contendere to a 2nd DUI or wet reckless charge may be your best option. Your attorney may be able to negotiate a plea deal where there were aggravating circumstances to get those additional charges dropped from your case. For example, if you were arrested for fleeing the scene of an accident, drunk driving, and reckless driving, pleading guilty to the DUI and dropping the other charges could be considered a win. 

If you are found guilty through a jury trial or plea deal, the consequences of a 2nd drunk driving conviction within a 10-year period include strict license suspension penalties. The penalties for a 2nd DUI in California include: 

  • Fines of $390 to $1,000, and additional penalties
  • Probation revocation fine
  • Alcohol/drug program for a minimum of 18 to 30 months (DUI school)
  • Suspended license for 2 years (with ignition interlock device (IID) restriction)

Repeat Offender DUI With Injury

A 2nd DUI with injury, under California Vehicle Code 23153 carries a 3-year license suspension. If the driver installs an ignition interlock device (IID), the mandatory IID restriction term is 2 years. 

Can I Get an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for a Second California DUI?

The license suspension period for a 2nd DUI is 2 years. However, since January 1, 2019, repeat DUI offenders can install an IID for a specified time. During the restriction period, drivers can only operate a vehicle with an IID. The mandatory IID restriction term for a 2nd DUI is 1 year. However, it may be as long as 2 years depending on the second offender class completion. 

An IID is not just a way for you to drive during your license suspension. According to the California DMV, "you will not be able to reinstate your driving privilege without the installation of an IID, even if you have served your suspension or revocation period."

Applying to Get Your License Reinstated

After waiting out your restriction term, you can get your license and driving privileges fully reinstated. To reinstate your driving privileges with no restrictions, you must complete the following, and provide the DMV with proof of: 

  • Complete mandatory IID installation term ( minimum 1 year for a 2nd DUI)
  • Complete a licensed DUI school, and obtain a Notice of Completion Certificate
  • Proof of insurance (SR 22)
  • Clear all outstanding suspensions or revocations
  • Pay any court-mandated fines;
  • Proof of insurance
  • Pay the DMV driver's license reissue fee

Where Can I Go to Get My License Reinstated?  

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.

How Can an East Bay DUI Defense Lawyer Help?  

You can try to handle a DUI on your own but you may have seen how that can go after your first DUI. One of the first ways an East Bay DUI defense lawyer can help is immediately taking action to keep your license with a DMV license suspension hearing. This is a way for you to keep your driving privileges for longer than the 30 days provided by your temporary permit. 

Your attorney can also advise you of your legal options, challenge the prosecutor's case, or negotiate for the best plea agreement to keep you out of jail and minimize the penalties. An experienced California DUI defense lawyer understands how to evaluate a case to find the greatest strengths. 

Find an East Bay trial attorney who has a record of success defending drivers charged with drunk driving. If you got a DUI in Oakland or Alameda County, call attorney Lynn Gorelick at 510-785-1444 or 925-847-3006. 

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