In California, the most commonly imposed driving suspension is the administrative per se suspension (APS), which essentially is related to driving under the influence. If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over a certain legal limit, which can result in a suspension of your driver’s license, regardless of whether there was any sign of impairment.
Here are those limits: For those under 21, there is a zero-tolerance policy and a BAC as low as .01% will trigger an automatic suspension. When driving a commercial vehicle, the limit is .04%. For those already on a DUI probation suspension, you will get an extended suspension if your BAC is .01%. If you’re over the age of 21, a BAC of .08% or greater will result in a suspension.
An admin per se suspension becomes effective 30 days after
being served, and for first offenses, lasts four months, although you can opt
for a five-month work-restricted license after the first month. If you’ve had
prior suspensions within the last 10 years, your license will be suspended for
one year. Again, there are exceptions. If you’ve been convicted of a DUI, you
may be eligible for an ignition interlock restricted license after 90 days. An
Ignition Interlock Device is also known as a “car breathalyzer” making you
unable to use your vehicle if your BAC is over the legal limit. If your license
indicates this restriction, you will need to have the device installed in your
car in order to drive.
Notice of Suspension
At the time of an arrest for Driving under the Influence, law enforcement is required to take your California driver’s license. When your license is taken, your given a form (Form DS-367). It states that you must request a DMV hearing is made within ten (10) days or your driver's license will be suspended thirty (30) days after the arrest. At this point an experienced criminal defense attorney, after reviewing the facts of your case, will be able to properly advise you on what next steps you should take.
Request for a Hearing
If a request for a hearing is made within the ten days, the DMV will schedule an administrative hearing. This is different from a criminal proceeding. This will only cover your driver's license. The hearing can be conducted telephonically or in person. The hearing will be conducted with a DMV hearing officer. During the hearing the hearing officer will review the police report, and if the officer is subpoenaed, question the officer under oath about the facts of the arrest. It is very advantageous to you if you have an experienced criminal attorney represent you during this hearing.
The hearing officer then determines if there is a basis for the suspension. The suspension could be set aside or upheld by the hearing officer. You will be notified in writing of the hearing results. On a first time California DUI, the suspension will last four (4) months. While the actual suspension is for a significant time period, after thirty (30) actual days of suspension, a person may get a restricted driver’s license.
To navigate through this complicated process, you should
consult an attorney experienced in dealing with DUI/DWI cases.