Los Angeles DUI and the Court Driver's License Suspension
For people who have been charged with driving under the influence, one of their top concerns is what effect a DUI conviction will have on their ability to drive an automobile. A DUI conviction will typically trigger an automatic court driver’s license suspension. This may be confusing for defendants who are also dealing with a potential administrative license suspension. It is important for anyone charged with a DUI offense to understand what the potential driver’s license consequences will be.
When a person is arrested for a DUI offense, the arresting officer will seize the person’s driver’s license and provide the driver with a notice of an impending license suspension. This administrative suspension operates independently of anything that happens in court. The suspension will automatically become effective unless the driver (or his or her attorney) files a request for an Administrative Per Se hearing within ten days of the arrest. If a timely hearing request is filed, the DMV will schedule a hearing to determine whether or not the suspension is justified. If the driver loses the hearing, the suspension is four months for a first time DUI offense. The driver would be eligible for a restricted license after 30 days. If the driver refused chemical testing, he or she would face a yearlong license suspension and with no ability to obtain a restricted license during the suspension period.
Regardless of what happens in the DMV hearing, the DMV will automatically suspend driving privileges for anyone who is convicted of DUI in court. There are situations where drivers may win the DMV hearing but are then surprised to have their license suspended when they are convicted in the court case. While the administrative and court suspension are independent of each other, the DMV will run the suspension concurrently, meaning that the driver will typically get credit for the time that they were unable to drive on a “hard suspension.”
The Court suspension is six months for a driver’s first DUI conviction where there was no refusal and a BAC below .15 percent. The driver would be eligible for a restricted license after serving a 30 day hard suspension during which no driving is allowed. The restricted license would allow the driver to travel for work and to and from the driver’s alcohol education program. The driver would have to provide proof of completion of the alcohol education program to the DMV before he or she would be eligible to have unrestricted driving privileges reinstated.
In Los Angeles County, drivers who are convicted of a DUI would have to have an Ignition Interlock Device (“IID”) installed in their vehicles as part of the DMV IID Pilot Program. The IID restriction would replace the restriction that limits travel to and from work and to and from the alcohol program. The driver would be allowed to drive anywhere at any time as long as the IID is in the vehicle.
It is important to remember that the automatic suspension only applies to drivers who are convicted of DUI. Drivers who are convicted of reduced offenses, such as wet reckless, reckless driving (“dry reckless) or exhibition of speed would not be subject to a court suspension (though they may have their license suspended at the administrative hearing).
If you have been charged with DUI and are concerned about a driver’s license suspension, it is crucial that you speak with a Los Angeles DUI Attorney right away. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Lawyer Michael Kraut works hard to help his clients keep their driver’s licenses.
For more information about Los Angeles DUI and the court driver’s license suspension, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.