Is My Driver's License Suspended After a DUI Arrest?

California has an administrative driver's license suspension program, called Admin Per Se (APS), which gives the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) the authority to suspend a person's driver's license after they have been arrested for a DUI. The DMV's action is separate from any sanctions imposed if the individual is subsequently convicted of driving under the influence.

The Cop Took My Driver's License. What Does that Mean?

If you were arrested for suspicion of drunk driving, the arresting officer will confiscate your driver's license. They will then issue an Order of Suspension/Revocation, which takes effect 30 days after it's been issued.

The officer will forward a copy of the suspension order, their report of the incident leading up to your arrest, and other relevant information (such as whether or not you took a chemical test) to the DMV. They will also send your driver's license to the agency to be destroyed.

The DMV's Administrative Review

After the DMV receives the information from the officer, it will automatically begin an administrative review. The agency will examine the evidence to determine whether or not to uphold the order of suspension.

You don't have to, and should not, wait for the DMV to finish its review to learn the fate of your driver's license. You can, and should, request a hearing to contest the suspension. Although you can drive for 30 days under the Order of Suspension, you only have 10 days after your arrest to request a DMV hearing. If you fail to meet the deadline, your driver's license will be suspended without your having a chance to challenge the action.

What Happens at the DMV Hearing?

During the DMV hearing, you may present evidence and testimony to support your assertions that a suspension of your driver's license is not justified. Although you can go to the hearing on your own, it's recommended that you hire an attorney for legal representation. Your lawyer can help prepare for the hearing and present your side of the story.

The DMV hearing is not held to determine whether or not you're guilty of a DUI offense. Rather, the hearing officer will be looking at whether your arrest was lawful, your blood alcohol content (BAC) was at or above the legal limit, and whether you refused a chemical test.

If the DMV upholds the action, your driver's license may be suspended or revoked as follows:

  • If you took a chemical test and had a BAC of .08 or more:
    • 4 months for a first offense
    • 1 year for a second or subsequent offense within 10 years
  • If you refused a chemical test:
    • 1 year for a first offense
    • 2 years for a second offense within 10 years
    • 3 years for a third or subsequent offense within 10 years

Within 15 days of the DMV’s decision, you can request a departmental review to contest it. If even after this review, your driver's license is suspended, you may seek to obtain a restricted driver's license, which would allow you to travel to, from, and during work.

At Koenig Law Office, we have extensive experience handling DUI cases in Bakersfield, and we are here to answer your questions and provide the defense you need. Call us at (661) 338-5353 or contact us online today.