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The DMV Process Following A DUI Offense In California

Interviewer: When someone’s arrested for a DUI, what happens to the driver’s license?  Is it taken away immediately and if so, are there any other licenses available?
Scott Stotz: When someone is arrested, generally speaking, if they’re above the 0.08 legal limit, in California, the officer is supposed to confiscate that license and issue a pink temporary license. That temporary license is good for 30 days and so then the individual is left with responsibility of requesting a DMV hearing within 10 days from the date of arrest.  If they fail to do so, then their license would be suspended 30 days after the arrest. After that, if it is a first offense and their license is suspended, they would be eligible for a restrictive license and timelines varies a little bit, for how long they need to keep that restricted license before being able to obtain a full license, depending on the circumstances and how the court case plays out.
The DMV Restrictions For a DUI are More Severe if It’s a Second or Third Offense
If it’s a second offense, generally they’re not going to be eligible for a restricted license for a long time. If it’s a second offense, they may end up waiting 3 months and they may end up waiting a year depending on the circumstances.  If it’s a third offense, they may have to wait a year and a half before they can get a restricted license. Usually, if they do get a restricted license, that restriction only allows them to drive to and from work, during the course of employment, as well as to and from any alcohol programs that they need to attend – that’s it.  No grocery shopping, picking kids of from school, or any other “personal” driving is allowed.
The Consequences Associated With a Breath or a Blood Test Refusal in California
Interviewer: What happens if someone refused a breath or a blood test?
Scott Stotz: If they refused on a first offense, then their license could be suspended for a year and that’s based purely on the refusal regardless of whether or not they actually are convicted of the DUI in court.  If that happens, then they would not be eligible for a restricted license and they would have to sit outside for a year. If they have prior offenses, then that suspension would be extended. For example, if it’s a second offense, then that would be a 2-years suspension with no restricted license, and if it’s a third offense, a 3-years and it just increases from there depending on the circumstances.
The Aggravating Factors For A DUI Charge In the State of California
Interviewer: Are there any factors that will enhance or aggravate a DUI charge, maybe turn it into a felony and make it more serious?
Scott Stotz: Yes.  If someone is involved in a collision and there is bodily injury, it can be anything as simple as a bruise.  If there’s any kind of injury like that, even if it’s a first offense, that could make the DUI charge a felony. Even if it’s the second offense or a third offense, if they have a prior felony DUI, any subsequent offense can also be treated as a felony. If the person gets a fourth DUI within 10 years from each other, that fourth one can be treated as a felony also even if, technically, they were all misdemeanors and no collisions or no prior felony DUIs were involved.
The Enhanced Charges Accompanying the Presence of a Minor in the Car During an Instance of DUI
Interviewer: What happens with someone if there’s an accident that occurred and there’s a minor in the car under the age of 15 or 16?
Scott Stotz: There would be a couple of enhancements.  The minor in the car would trigger a separate sentencing enhancement which is going to increase any jail time and potentially the fine, any points as well depending on whether or not they were injured. That may be a felony in itself. For example, if there’s a single car collision, if you and I are driving in the car and I’ve had some alcohol and I get an accident and I’m convicted of the DUI; and you had a scratch over your eye, even though we were on the same car, because of your injury, I could be charged with a felony DUI. So, it doesn’t necessarily have to be someone that’s in another vehicle.