The fact that you've completed your driving school and obtained your driver's license doesn't imply that you're secure enough. Also, just because you've been driving for a long time doesn't mean your license can't be suspended. Various circumstances could compel the state, specifically the Department of Motor Vehicles, to revoke or suspend your driver's license. In such a case, you'll need the assistance of a skilled lawyer to help you get your driver's license back. We at the Foos Gavin Law Firm will provide the legal representation you need for such a situation if you are in Sacramento.
An Overview of DUI Under California Law
Since a driver's license suspension is more likely to result following a DUI charge, it's critical to grasp the meaning of DUI. A DUI is charged if you're caught driving while your mental or physical competencies are impaired by alcohol, if you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or greater, or if you're caught driving while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, controlled substances, or a combination of both. The law also specifies the blood alcohol concentration limits for certain groups of drivers.
If you're over the age of 21 and driving a non-commercial or regular car, the BAC limit is 0.08 percent. The maximum permissible BAC for a hired passenger vehicle with a passenger inside and a commercial vehicle is 0.04 percent. The BAC limit for anyone on DUI probation or under the age of 21 years is 0.01%. The DUI laws also apply to illegal substances, over-the-counter medicines, prescription medications, and other alcohol-containing therapeutic drugs, such as cough syrups.
Understanding Drivers License Suspension
Under certain circumstances, the California DMV has the authority to suspend or revoke your driver's license. Court orders or departmental action could be used to justify such measures. While your driver's license is suspended, you're not legally permitted to operate a motor vehicle. When your license is reinstated after the suspension period has ended, you will be able to drive again.
There are a few things you need to think about, like submitting a handful of documents and paying hefty fines. It could be difficult to ascertain whether your driver's license is suspended unless the California DMV suspends it via court action. In this case, you should look into the three options below to see if your driver's license has indeed been suspended.
- Submitting a filled INF 1125 form for a fee of $5
- Check the DMV website for a $2 fee
- Visiting the DMV office in person and paying the mandatory $5 charge
Please keep in mind that when your license is suspended, you are not allowed to drive. Otherwise, you'll incur a higher fine or have an extension of your suspension term
Difference between a Drivers License Suspension and Revocation
When it comes to license suspension and revocation, there's a lot of misunderstanding. It's critical to understand the distinction between the two to better understand how to resolve a license revocation or suspension. When it draws down to the suspension, a defendant's driving rights are taken away for a set amount of time and then restored once that time has passed.
The perpetrator's license is normally restored after the suspension time or after payment of the applicable fines. If you are caught operating a vehicle with a suspended driver's license, you could have your license revoked or face harsher punishments.
Alternatively, the state has the authority to revoke a driver's license for serious violations such as felonies or failure to show up in court. If you get your California driver's license revoked, it indicates that you have permanently lost all of your driving privileges.
If you want to get your license back, you'll have to reapply with the California DMV, sit for an exam, and pay the required costs all over again once a certain period has passed. The time frame ranges between one and five years. The following are some examples of driving behaviors that could result in your driver's license being revoked by the California DMV:
- Trying to dodge law enforcement or traffic officer
- Speeding in crowded places during peak hours
- DUI coupled with recklessness, resulting in a road accident
- Driving recklessly in a motor vehicle for which you don't have the necessary license or training
- Flagrant disregard for the dangers of disobeying traffic regulations, pedestrians, road conditions, signs, weather, and mechanical faults in your motor vehicle
Suspension of Your Driver's License Due to DUI
If you're caught for DUI, law enforcement will take your driver's license and issue you with a suspension order from the DMV. The Order of Suspension would permit you to operate your motor vehicle for the following thirty days, after which your license will be suspended.
The DMV will conduct an automatic review, which will involve a review of the law enforcement's sworn report as well as any other documents, such as an arrest report or a traffic accident report. If the assessment shows that there is no reason for suspension, your license suspension would be lifted. If proof of suspension is provided, the license suspension would be maintained as follows:
- Suspension for 4 months for a 1st time DUI
- Suspension for 1 year for a 2nd or subsequent DUI conviction within 10 years
If a motorist under the age of 21 is caught driving with an alcoholic beverage in his or her car, their driver's license could be suspended for no more than one year under California law. The only exceptions are if the container is full, unopened, and unsealed, and if the under-21 is accompanied by a parent or another approved person.
The license of anyone caught operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.01 percent or more, or while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, could be suspended for one year. Lastly, if you are caught driving without a license and are qualified for one, you could face a year-long delay in obtaining one.
Suspension of an Out-of-State Driver's License
California features one of the harshest DUI laws in the country, and it applies to both in-state and out-of-state motorists. However, when it draws down to the 2 kinds of drivers, there's a little distinction between them. These distinctions include the following:
- If you're an out-of-state driver, the law enforcement officer should not seize your license. The law enforcer would instead issue you with an Order of Suspension informing you that your California driver's license will be suspended in the next 30 days. This notice would prompt the motorist to file for a California DMV hearing within ten days of the deadline provided
- The California DMV would notify the DMV in your state of the arrest, and your home state would impose the DMV punishments from your state. This is applicable if your home state is a member of the Interstate Driver's License Compact, which includes 45 states. Michigan, Georgia, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and Tennessee are the only states that are not members of the Compact
If you are charged with a misdemeanor DUI, your lawyer can represent you in court. The attorney could also appear before a judge on your behalf, even if it is a felony offense depending on the prior charges.
Suspension of a Commercial Driver's License
A commercial driver is considered DUI if his or her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.04 percent or above, as opposed to other motorists who should adhere to a 0.08 percent standard. Other DUI-related charges could result in your license being suspended. Some of these scenarios include:
- Failure to submit to a blood alcohol concentration test. This type of violation will result in an immediate license suspension
- Getting into an accident while under the influence of alcohol/drugs or evading a DUI checkpoint
- Driving a commercial vehicle or any motor vehicle with a revoked or suspended license
Possibility of Permanent Commercial License Suspension
Drivers of class A and B motor vehicles face harsh penalties if they are charged with DUI. As part of the harsh penalty, the driver could have his or her license suspended for the rest of their life. This is because of the level of training that such drivers receive, as well as the level of danger that they inflict when their motor vehicles are involved in a road accident. If a person is arrested for a second DUI violation, the likelihood of getting a permanent commercial license suspension, commonly known as an order of disqualification, is considered in most situations. Several factors decide whether a person receives a permanent suspension, such as:
- Leaving an accident scene after causing one
- Felony DUI
- Using a commercial vehicle to commit a crime, such as transporting controlled substances like marijuana
- Refusing to comply or submit to a mandatory chemical test
- Any of the above-mentioned criminal offenses combined
The DUI DMV Hearing
DMV hearings are a kind of administrative proceeding intended to assist drivers who want their driving license revocations or suspensions lifted. You should schedule a hearing with the California DMV following a driving license suspension owing to a DUI arrest, driving with a physical/mental condition, license fraud, driver's negligence, or license fraud. Administrative hearings at the DMV are normally held at certain DMV offices. Instead of a judge, expect a DMV hearing officer to preside over the case.
Even while DMV hearings are less stressful and more straightforward than court processes, you'll still need to show a variety of facts to prove your innocence. You could either attend the proceedings in person with your attorney or have it done over the phone. At this hearing, you'll be able to cross-examine witnesses, subpoena/present witnesses, testify, review and question any evidence provided.
Why Does the DMV Allow DUI Defendants to Have a Hearing?
Both the state and federal constitutions state that no one should be stripped of property without due process of the law. In this scenario, due process of the law entitles you to be notified of the specific action the DMV intends to undertake against you. It also allows you to express your version of the events and have your voice heard at a hearing. Regardless of whether you're guilty or innocent of a DUI crime, your DMV hearing would take place.
Scheduling an Administrative Hearing with the DMV
To schedule your hearing, get in touch with a driver's safety office near your residence. You have only 10 days after your arrest to obtain a hearing otherwise you will lose your right to do so. Your attorney could assist you in scheduling this administrative hearing on time so that you have a better chance of winning your case.
DMV Hearing Decisions
After examining the circumstances surrounding your case, the hearing officer would make a decision. This decision could be influenced by factors like your current driving record, previous violations of the Vehicle Code, as well as your willingness to accept a chemical test. The officer's main focus will be on the following:
- Were you driving a car with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher?
- Were you wrongfully detained by the officer?
- Was the police justified in suspecting you of violating VC 23140, 23153, or 23152 while driving?
- Were you aware that motorists who fail or refuse to take chemical tests will have their licenses suspended for a year?
- Were you unable to finish or declined to adhere to the exam when asked to do so by a peace officer?
You should expect the DMV official to either overturn the suspension or issue a license suspension. A DMV hearing officer could only overturn a license suspension if you can demonstrate that you're not a reckless driver. You will automatically retain your driving rights if you win the DMV hearing.
California Restricted Driver's License
The concept of obtaining a restricted license works once your driver's license is suspended. In this instance, the DMV would issue a restricted license if specific conditions were met. However, you should wait for the 30-day suspension period to expire and evaluate the three conditions listed below.
- Become a member of an alcohol-accredited school
- Submit proof of SR-22 insurance coverage
- Pay the DMV fee of $ 125
You'll be able to drive your car as soon as you have your restricted driver's license, but only under certain conditions. Some of the limitations are as follows:
- You'll drive yourself to and from work
- Only drive for work-related reasons and only during working days
- Drive yourself to and from an alcohol-approved institution you are required to attend.
Please keep in mind that if you're pulled over by a police officer while driving with a restricted driver's license, you should fit into one of the categories listed above. Additionally, once you finish the alcohol-approved program, your unrestricted driving license will be reinstated.
Interlock Ignition Device (IID) as an element of a Restricted Driving License
As of January 1st, 2019, the IID became accessible as a component of a California DUI charge. Drivers can apply for an IID-restricted driving license as soon as they file the application documents to the DMV. When it comes to IID installations, the agency does not impose any mandatory suspensions or waiting periods. The installation period for IIDs varies according to the DUIs and its as follows:
- 6-month IID installation for the first DUI offense
- 1-year IID installation for a second DUI charge
- A 2-year IID installation for a third DUI charge
- 3-year IID installation for a fourth or subsequent DUI charges
How to Avoid Suspension of a Driver's License
The DMV is not able to revoke or suspend a motorist's license without providing her or him an opportunity to defend herself or himself, although this occurs in rare instances. If such an option is given, the presentation is held at the Driver Safety Office nearest to the motorist's residence. The driver's safety officer is a division of the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) that enforces traffic laws in the state.
If you get a notice from the DMV that you are about to be suspended, you should respond promptly to protect yourself. The DMV has a short timeframe for such deliberation, with a request for a hearing normally taking 10 to 14 days. If the motorist does not respond or reply to the notice within the allotted time, the hearing is canceled, and the agency proceeds to suspend the driver's license.
A proper hearing schedule requires the defendant to plan with persistence and have a remarkable understanding of the Government codes, California codes, Evidence codes, and Administrative processes. A few motorists are probably aware of this and wouldn't defend themselves well. As a result, it is advised that you hire a professional lawyer to represent you during your hearing.
How to Get Your California Driver's License Reinstated
There's no need to be concerned if your driver's license has been suspended. You could reclaim it in several ways, based on the underlying cause for the suspension. If your driving license has been suspended, you will most likely be obligated to settle fines to both the DMV and the courts. You should also provide proof of financial responsibility to demonstrate that you have insurance coverage with that department.
If you are facing DUI charges or are serving a prison term, the department would force you to take some lessons. If your driver's license was suspended because of a physical or mental condition, you should present a driver's medical examination confirming that your current status no longer prevents you from driving safely. Even though you were able to get your driver's license reinstated, it does not guarantee that you will be able to drive again. To preserve your license, you must observe the traffic regulations established by the state. Otherwise, you risk receiving another suspension in addition to an increased penalty.
What is a Reinstatement Interview?
When a motorist's driving privilege has been revoked, a DMV Hearing Officer will be the only authority who can remove the revocation. After serving an appropriate duration of revocation of the privileges, the affected motorist may request a "Reinstatement Interview" with the DMV to determine if the revocation can be removed.
What Will Happen When I Don't Seek To Keep My Driver's License?
If your driving privilege has been revoked or suspended by the DMV, you will have the option to appeal the ruling. However, if you decide not to conquer the Department of motor vehicles, you will not cause yourself any additional problems.
You can lose your driving permit and request an ID card at any Department of motor vehicles Field Office. Although not having a driving permit is not unlawful, you should not drive an automobile.
What is a Set-Aside Order?
The hearing officer is required to issue a written ruling after an Administrative Hearing is held to overturn a driving license revocation or suspension. If a motorist obtains an "Order of Reinstatement or Set Aside " and the checkbox signifying a Set Aside has been checked, the hearing officer then has determined that the initial suspension of the driving permit was not warranted, and the order has been fully wiped from the motorist's driving history. This, for you, is a resounding triumph.
What Is DMV Discovery, And How Does It Work?
Once the Department of Motor Vehicles revokes or suspends a driver's license, it usually does so based on documentary proof. When a motorist seeks a hearing to have the suspension or revocation lifted, the DMV is required to give duplicates of all papers it plans to utilize to keep the license suspension in place. Discovery refers to the pieces of evidence that constitute the DMV's claim and should be delivered to the motorist a minimum of 10 days before any DMV hearing.
Find a DUI Attorney Near Me
You have up to 14 days to file an appeal for your driver's license with the DMV. In that scenario, having a professional DUI attorney on your side is critical if you want to win the case. We at the Foos Gavin Law Firm are in a good position to offer you the best legal assistance if you risk having your driver’s license suspended. Call us at 916-779-3500 to speak with one of our lawyers in Sacramento, CA.