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DUI License Suspension and Restrictions

With the new state-wide Ignition Interlock Device (IID) law, a driver arrested and/or convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol might avoid what is called a “hard license suspension,” and be allowed to drive under an IID-restricted license. Unlike a restricted license, a hard suspension prohibits driving a vehicle for any reason for a circumscribed period of time. Persons convicted on driving under the influence of drugs still face a possible hard suspension of their license upon conviction as the IID law applies to DUI alcohol only.

The laws that impose license suspension and license restrictions are complicated and depend on whether the arrest was for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, whether the driver had prior DUI convictions, and the driver’s eligibility for the installation of an IID. (See here for more information about the new IID law.) An attorney versed in the suspended license/restricted license laws can explain each factor to you.

As an Orange County DUI defense attorney, William Weinberg has helped hundreds of clients navigate through these complicated laws. Employing a first line of defense for those arrested for having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of over 0.08 percent, Mr. Weinberg will review your case to see if you have a viable defense to the vehicle stop or arrest. When the vehicle stop or arrest appears to have been unlawful, Mr. Weinberg advises his clients to request an Administrative Per Se (APS) hearing. This hearing, as the name suggests, is an administrative proceeding before a DMV officer; it is entirely separate from the criminal proceedings. A driver who wins the APS hearing (although truth be told, this is rare) will not have their license suspended by the DMV. But the better news is that a driver who does not request an APS hearing or who loses the APS hearing, can still avoid a hard suspension by installing an IID.

Even a driver who wins the APS hearing still faces the criminal proceedings and a possible court-ordered license suspension. But often the very defense that won the APS hearing will precipitate a dismissal of the criminal charges. DUI defense attorney William Weinberg always explores every possible defense that may avoid a license suspension or restriction.

However, most drivers arrested for DUI end up with a DMV driver’s license suspension and a court-ordered suspension upon conviction on the DUI. With the installation of an IID, the driver is allowed to drive without restriction as long as the IID is operational and used as required by law. The IID option is not available to those who were convicted for driving under the influence of drugs.

A driver whose license is suspended—either by court-order on a conviction for driving under the influence of drugs or because the driver chose not to install an IID—may be able to obtain a restricted license after a prescribed time period. The restricted license allows the offender to drive to and from work or school and to the alcohol education programs that will be ordered as a result of the DUI. The time in which the restricted license becomes available to the driver depends upon several factors as does the length of time the driver will be confined to driving under these restrictions.

When a DUI offender is caught driving while his or her license is suspended or driving outside the allowed parameters of a restricted license, the penalties may come as a shock. The driver may be ordered to spend time in jail. For example, the California vehicle code mandates that driving on a suspended license or in non-compliance with a restricted license, even on a first time DUI, be punished with imprisonment in county jail for not less than ten days but not more than six months. The punishment can be much worse if the offender has been previously arrested for this offense or is designated a habitual traffic offender. In addition, the law will then require that the offender install an IID if he or she wants to have any driving privileges at all.

For IID restriction violations, the consequences are similarly harsh. Removing, bypassing, or tampering with an IID in any way is punishable by up to six months in jail. Furthermore, the offender’s license will be suspended or revoked until the remaining period of suspension for the underlying DUI offense terminates.

When the period of suspension or restriction has terminated, the driver can reinstate his or her regular driving privileges. All reinstatements of suspended licenses will require a special certificate of insurance called an SR 22.

Orange County DUI Defense Attorney William Weinberg can Help!

Whether this is your first, second, or third (or more) DUI, whether you have been arrested or convicted for driving under the influence or alcohol or drugs, you face the potential loss of, or restrictions on, your privilege to drive. This can make your life very difficult, especially here in car-dependent Southern California. An experienced Orange County suspended license/restricted license lawyer can help you navigate the complex DUI laws and make sure you properly apply for the driving privilege for which you are qualified. Orange County DUI defense attorney William Weinberg has helped hundreds of DUI offenders regain the driving privileges. He is available to discuss your options in a complimentary and confidential consultation. You may contact him at his Irvine office by calling 949-474-8008 or emailing him at bill@williamweinberg.com.

Orange County DUI Lawyer Blog - DUI

Anyone who is arrested should contact an experienced Orange County DUI Criminal Defense Attorney to determine whether or not their Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures, were violated.

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