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DUI and Driver's License Suspension

When a driver is arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the driver is required by law to turn over his or her license to drive to the arresting officer. The officer will provide the driver with a document, called an Order of Suspension/Revocation, notifying the driver that his or her license to drive will be suspended (or revoked) effective 30 days from the date of the arrest. This document will serve as a temporary driver’s license allowing the driver to legally drive for 30 days from the arrest and no more.

The suspension is an administrative matter governed by the DMV and can be challenged only by requesting an Administrative Per se (APS) hearing conducted by the DMV. If the driver requests a hearing and the DMV finds that there was no probable cause for the DUI stop and/or arrest, the DMV will order that the driver’s license be reinstated. If the driver does not request a hearing, the DMV automatically conducts its own review to determine whether there is a basis for the driver’s license suspension. The DMV review will rarely find upon its own review that there was no basis for the suspension. However, an experienced DUI defense attorney in Orange County can sometimes identify errors in the officer’s stop or arrest that can be argued in an APS hearing and could result in the DMV ordering the reinstatement of the driver’s license.

When the DMV suspends a driver’s license following a DUI, the length of time the license will be suspended is governed by a complex web of laws found in the California Vehicle Code. Generally, a first-time DUI will result in a four-month suspension. First-time offenders are usually eligible for a restricted license after one month on suspension. The restricted license will allow the driver to drive for work, school, and DUI classes. A restricted license is not available to a first-time offender who refused a chemical test at the time of the DUI arrest or who is under the age of 21. A test refusal will result in an automatic hard suspension for one year.

A driver arrested for a second or third DUI (within the past ten years) will face a one-year license suspension. The DMV may allow a restricted license on these offenses, but only after a 90-day hard suspension and with the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) on the driver’s vehicle. This option is not available to 2nd and 3rd time offenders who were arrested for driving under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs (and that includes cannabis), who are under the age of 21, who refused a chemical test at the DUI stop, or who were on probation for a previous DUI.

A DUI with aggravating factors, such as an excessive BAC (over .15%), a DUI with an accident or injury, having children in the car (under age 14) at the time of the arrest, speeding or reckless driving while under the influence, or test refusal can all increase the amount of time a driver’s license is suspended. The skills of an experienced Orange County DUI defense attorney may mitigate the serious impact of a lengthy suspension due to one of these factors.

A driver’s license can be revoked for two years if the driver refused to submit to a chemical test and it is the driver’s 2nd DUI in ten years or three years if it is the driver’s 3rd DUI. If the driver is already on DUI probation when he or she is arrested for a DUI, the driver’s license may also be revoked for a specific period of time. A revocation means the driver cannot get his or her driving privileges reinstated for any reason until the revocation period expires. A driver’s license can be permanently revoked If the driver is convicted of a DUI 2nd degree murder (Watson murder) or is convicted of a fourth DUI. It is on a conviction of these offenses that will trigger the DMV to revoke the license.

Orange County DUI Defense Attorney William Weinberg can Help

Having defended those accused of driving under the influence for 25 years, Attorney Weinberg has the skills and experience to defend DUI clients in a variety of situations. He understands the hardship of losing driving privileges and works hard to make sure his clients’ driving privileges are restored at the earliest possible allowed by law.

Contact Orange County DUI Attorney William Weinberg for a free consultation regarding your matter. He may be reached by calling his Irvine office at (949) 474-8008 or by emailing him at

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