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How long do I have before my license is suspended?

After a DUI arrest, the clock begins ticking for a California driver's license suspension. There are some misunderstandings about how long before a driver's license is suspended after a DUI because there is a limited time to appeal the suspension and there is a separate administrative and criminal basis for taking away your license.

If you do not challenge the DMV administrative license suspension, your license will be administratively suspended 30 days after a DUI arrest in California.

You only have 10 days to request an administrative per se hearing with the DMV. Once you request the DMV hearing in Alameda or Contra Costa County, the automatic suspension will be stayed until the hearing.

The simplest way to extend the time before your license is suspended is to talk to your California DUI lawyer as soon as possible. By contacting experienced California DUI lawyer Lynn Gorelick todayyour attorney will request the administrative hearing and represent you in the DMV hearing and the criminal case. 

Administrative Suspension After a DUI Arrest

The administrative license suspension (ALS) is a process through the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). An ALS is triggered upon an arrest for a DUI. During the booking process, the police will take your license and give you a slip of paper that acts as your temporary license.

The temporary license is good for 30 days. This can be confusing because many people expect that they have 30 days to challenge the suspension. However, you only have 10 days to request a DMV ALS hearing to challenge the license suspension.

DMV APS Hearings to Challenge the Suspension

Once you request an ALS hearing, your license suspension will be put on hold, or stayed, until the DMV hearing. The hearing is not as formal as the criminal hearing and your lawyer can challenge the basis for the traffic stop, arrest, or chemical testing. However, the DMV is not interested in hearing why you need your car or have to drive to get to work or school. This is not a hearing to plead your case based on sympathy.

Talk to your California DUI defense lawyer for more information about an ALS hearing in your case. Your lawyer can also generally appear on your behalf so you don't have to take time off of work or school to go to the DMV hearing.

License Suspension After a DUI Criminal Conviction

Challenging and winning a DMV APS hearing does not mean the driver is in the clear and can keep his or her license. A DUI conviction can still result in a suspended license. This means that if you want to keep your license after a DUI arrest, you need to challenge both the DMV APS hearing and the criminal charges.

A suspended license is one of the most difficult penalties to deal with after a DUI in California. The license suspension period is based on a number of factors, including the number of prior DUI convictions and if the driver refused a chemical test after arrest.

The license suspension period after a first-time DUI in California is generally 6-months. A 2nd DUI within 10 years results in a 2-year license suspension. A 3rd DUI within 10 years results in a 3-year license suspension. A 4th DUI within 10 years is a felony and will result in getting your license revoked.

If you refuse a chemical test, your license will be suspended for 1, 2 or 3 years under California's implied consent laws.

Restricted IID License After a DUI

There is another option for drivers facing a DUI. Under California's new IID laws, drivers with a DUI will be able to get a restricted license after getting an IID installed in their vehicle. Before this, drivers had to wait out the mandatory 30-day suspension period before they could get a restricted IID license. Now, drivers can get an IID restriction as soon as the device is installed.

Driver's License Reinstatement After a DUI

See our Driver's License Reinstatement After a DUI page for more information about getting your license reinstated after a DUI license suspension in California.

You can keep your license to drive by contacting an experienced East Bay DUI defense lawyer to request a DMV hearing, challenge the suspension in the APS hearing, and challenge the criminal case to avoid a criminal conviction. If you were arrested for drunk driving or drug DUI anywhere in the East Bay, contact California DUI lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.

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