Legal Guide

Home > Legal Guide

Is your license suspended immediately after a DUI?

If you get a DUI (driving under the influence), you can almost guarantee a license suspension. The first thought that comes to mind is, will I be able to drive? If not, how long will I be suspended? This article will explain all you need to know.

What happens at the moment of the arrest?

If you are a Californian citizen and you are arrested for driving under the influence, your license will be suspended immediately. The DMV will then hand you a notice of suspension, which is effective immediately. You have 10 days following the arrest to contest it under the per se hearing, either by yourself or your attorney. If you are proven guilty for the first DUI offense, the suspension will last for four months. After 30 days have passed since the arrest, you can apply for a restricted license. If you refused a breath or blood test at the time of the arrest, you could face a year without a license. This would mean that there is no option to apply for the restricted license within that period.

Who does the Admin per se apply to?

The admin per se was set up in 1990 and permits an officer to suspend the license. This is if you don’t meet the following:

  • The blood alcohol content was over 0.08% in an individual’s vehicle. 0.04% for driving a commercial vehicle.
  • A driver under the age of 21 has a blood alcohol content of 0.01% or over.
  • The last possible reason is that you decided not to take the breath or blood test after the arrest.

If the driver was proven guilty in court, the DMV will revoke the license. This is final and overrides any outcome at the previous DMV hearing. Suspension by the administrative and the court are two separate entities. However, if you were given a hard suspension (30 days ban from driving) for unfair reasons, the DMV will give credit for that time.

How long will I be suspended for my first DUI?

Anyone who commits their first DUI will have their license suspended for six months. This is provided there was no refusal of a blood alcohol concentration (BAC), and the BAC’s result was less than 15%. After the first 30 days of the sentence, the driver can then apply for a restricted license. The first 30 days are known as the hard suspension whereby no driving is permitted. The restricted license permits the driver to use the car to travel to work, school, and the driver’s alcohol education class. For the driver to be able to receive their full license back, they must show the DMV proof that they completed the alcohol education classes.

How can I prove I am using the restricted license as instructed?

In Los Angeles, a driver with a restricted license will have an ignition interlock device (IID) fitted into their vehicle. The IID checks the driver’s breath is clear of alcohol as a part of the DMV's pilot program. The IID is only fitted for drivers convicted of a DUI and often installed for up to five months. The IID means that the driver must perform a breathalyzer test before any journey has been made. The breath is tested along with random parts of the journey, to prove no alcohol is in the system.

If you have recently been convicted of a DUI and worried about your license being suspended, please visit for more information.

comments powered by Disqus