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Driver’s License Suspension for DUI Arrest in California

  • By: Ron Hedding
  • Published: August 17, 2020

How Long Will You Lose Your Driver’s License if You’re Arrested for a DUI Case in Los Angeles?

The two biggest concerns that people typically have with a DUI is, one, they don’t want to have a criminal record and go to jail — those kind of go hand-in-hand — and then the second one relates to their driver’s license.

I mean, obviously in Los Angeles, most people need their car.  They’ve got to drive and having a DUI and potentially losing your driver’s license is a horrible feeling.  You kind of lose control when that happens to you.

So, I find that one of my jobs is trying to protect your driver’s license and if you do have to lose it, obviously we want you to lose it for the shortest amount of time possible.

Six Month Suspension for First-Time DUI

On a first-time DUI you’re usually going to lose your driver’s license or have your driver’s license impacted for approximately six months.  However, the good news on that is most of the six-month time frame you’re able to drive.

The first thirty days you technically cannot drive and if you get caught driving you’d be arrested and cited for a new criminal case, and obviously, if you were on probation for the DUI you would violate your probation, so you definitely don’t want to get caught driving related to a DUI offense in Los Angeles.

After that first thirty days though, you are entitled to get a restricted license on a first-time DUI in Los Angeles and that would be for five months.

You’d have to install an ignition interlock device on your car that you would have to blow into to make sure that you don’t have any alcohol in your system and obviously, you couldn’t operate any car with alcohol in your system.

Driving on a Restricted Basis

For that five-month period you’re able to drive on a restricted basis to and from work during the course and scope of work, to and from any schooling that you might have, and obviously there are other exceptions that you would have to arrange with the DMV which they would have to approve.Driver’s License Suspension for DUI Arrest in California

The good thing about that five-month period is as long as you can justify that you’re going to one of the places that you’re allowed to go, then you’re allowed to drive and you wouldn’t have any issues.

If the police pulled you over you’d simply pull out your restricted license and show them and then tell them where you were going and be able to justify that you’re within that restricted license.

After the five months is up, you can get your license back, you just have to jump through a few hoops to get it back.

Driver’s License Suspension with Prior DUI Conviction

Where things start to get complicated as far as losing your license is when you have a prior DUI or more than one DUI in your past and you pick up a new DUI within ten years of that time frame.

Now you’re looking at a big problem because now you’re going to lose your license for a year with probably a real suspension for approximately four to six months and then you’d be able to get it back on a restricted basis.

That would obviously be something you’d have to work out with your attorney and with the DMV.  But obviously, when you’ve got second and third offenses, you’re looking at getting your license suspended, getting you license revoked for a period of time.

DUI Refusal in California

Also, if you’re a refusal related to a DUI then you lose your license for a year with no restricted license.  So, this is probable the worse thing to do and it’s kind of a bummer because I’ve heard people when they come in my office, I thought that I shouldn’t cooperate.

I was told that I shouldn’t cooperate.  I shouldn’t give my breath.  I shouldn’t give my blood, and then those people end up losing their driver’s license for a full year and the DMV is very vicious about this and will not give the driver’s license back no matter what the person tries to do.

You can apply for a hardship license, but to get a hardship license related to a DUI refusal in Los Angeles county is near impossible — extremely difficult to do.

DUI Lawyer in Los Angeles

So, if you or one of your loved ones have been arrested for a DUI and you’re concerned about your driver’s license, your concern is with good reason.  What I have you do is, you come in and we sit down.  I’ve been doing this for 26 years.

I’ve handled thousands of DMV hearings over the years.  I have a lot of experience.  I know when a case can be won.  I know when you probably don’t have a very good chance to win the case.

But I definitely know what to do when it comes to your driver’s license being in jeopardy related to a DUI in Los Angeles. What moves can be made to try to win and beat the DMV and when it’s time to do damage control.

Also, to mitigate your circumstances and make sure that you get the least restrictive punishment related to your driver’s license because I know how difficult it is when you lose it.

Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Contact our office for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0963.

Ron Hedding

About the Author Named Top Los Angeles DUI Defence Attorney by LA Times and named one of the Top 100 DUI Defence attorneys in California by the National Trial Lawyers Association. I'm the attorney other lawyers hire to defend them.