What happens with a 1st DUI License Suspension in California?
For a person facing a 1st DUI in California, their driving privileges are at risk from two sources: The criminal courts and the DMV. Both the court system and the DMV have been given power to suspend a person’s license if they were arrested for DUI.
The driver facing a 1st DUI license suspension faces a 5 month suspension from the California DMV, and a 6 month driving restriction from the criminal courts. Additionally, in Los Angeles county a driver convicted of DUI has to install an ignition interlock device. Each of these is discussed in detail below:
The DMV: The APS Hearing process:
-5 month Driver’s License Suspension
The California DMV has established a process called an “APS suspension” where a driver who is arrested for DUI faces automatic license suspension unless they can show a suspension isn’t allowed under DMV rules at an “APS hearing.” The DMV process is quick and it’s automatic: A person only has 10 days to request an APS hearing or they face automatic supsension. The hearing is normally set about 40 days after the DUI arrest, and the hearing is an expedited procedure that takes approximatley 30 minutes if the driver doesn’t put on a defense.
What a DUI Attorney does to win an APS hearing:
The most important goal for a DUI attorney when dealing with an APS hearing is to find a winning argument that will prevent the DMV from suspending the driver’s license. Arguments that win DMV hearings attack one of the three things the DMV has to prove at the hearing:
1. The Driver was driving on public roadways
2. The arrest/detention of the driver was lawfully carried out
3. The Driver’s BAC at the time of driving was at or above 0.08%.
Successful APS defenses attack one or all of these essential elements of the DMV’s case. If an attorney can successfully attack one of these elements, the DMV will not suspend the driver’s license and the driver can continue to drive.
Criminal Court Restriction;
-6 month Restriction (to and from work driving only)
-Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device
For drivers throughout California, in addition to the DMV, a driver with a 1st DUI faces driving license restrictions that prohibit all driving, except for driving to and from the workplace. In Los Angeles county, drivers are also required to install an Ignition Interlock Device (a portable breathalyzer) in their car for a period of 5 months.
Successful DUI defenses in the criminal case can prevent the driver from facing these criminal court 1st DUI License restrictions. Learn more about successful DUI defenses: here.
1st DUI License Suspension References:
California DMV DUI suspensions The California DMV prides itself on its draconian license suspension procedures for people facing DUI charges as a way to reduce DUI collision on California roads.