Driving after drinking alcohol, or driving under the influence (DUI) as it is legally known, is one of the most dangerous things you can do. California, like almost all states, has heavy penalties in place for DUIs. However, in addition to your criminal case, California also allows an administrative hearing.
You may be wondering what is an administrative DUI hearing and how it might help or hurt you. Naturally, you may also be thinking about whether this additional procedure will affect how long you lose your driving privileges if convicted.
For all California drivers, it’s important to know what an administrative DUI hearing is and how long you may be without your license. This blog post will examine just that. Remember that if you or someone you know was charged with a DUI in California, an experienced Tehama County DUI lawyer is here to help.
What Is an Administrative DUI Hearing?
California recognizes two different forms of license suspension, one through the criminal court system and one through the Department of Motor Vehicles. The process is a bit different in California than in other states, so please read carefully.
If a police officer suspects that you may have been driving under the influence, you will technically lose your license before even going to court. This is because the officer will confiscate your license and in its place give you a 30-day temporary license.
Within 10 days of your arrest, you are required to request a DMV Administrative Per Se (APS) hearing from the Driver’s Safety Office of the California DMV. The purpose of this hearing is solely to determine if you should have your license suspended because of your DUI arrest. During this hearing, you can try to keep your driving privileges.
If for whatever reason you don’t seek an administrative DUI hearing, however, you’ll have your license suspended automatically. After the 30 days of your temporary license are up, you will lose your driving privileges. This is also the suspension length if you do attend your APS hearing but are not successful.
How Long Will I Lose My License After a DUI?
When you are charged with a first-time DUI in California, regardless of the result of your criminal case, you face a four-month administrative license suspension. This is only avoided by succeeding in your administrative hearing. On top of that, if your blood alcohol level is 0.08% or more, the criminal court will impose a six-month suspension.
Furthermore, if the officer who suspected you of driving drunk tells you to take a blood or breath test after your arrest, your license may be suspended for a year and perhaps beyond that as well. The suspension is also a year if there’s an injured passenger or pedestrian as a result of the DUI. A prior history of DUI convictions is another aggravating factor. If your license was suspended for a previous charge when you were convicted again, your license will be revoked for two years through the criminal system in addition to a 12-month administrative suspension from the DMV.