DUI convictions are often associated with struggling through license suspensions, being burdened with financial fines, possible jail sentences, and probation, along with having to attend mandatory DUI courses. These convictions can come with long lingering effects. Professional and personal activities that were once taken for granted may be taken away as well.
Renting a car may be one of these activities that could be taken away. A DUI lawyer in Los Angeles can advise you on whether car rental companies have restrictions that prohibit someone with a DUI conviction on their record from operating their vehicles.
Before a DUI conviction restricts your life, it is important to defend yourself from these types of inconvenient consequences. If you have been accused of driving under the influence, protect your rights and secure the representation of a Los Angeles DUI Attorney.
DMV Restrictions on Driving Privileges After a DUI Arrest
Potential driving restrictions may arise from an arrest or a conviction for DUI. These restrictions may be imposed by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the court system, and in some situations, private companies can restrict the services they offer.
In accordance with California law, if you are stopped and arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, the arresting officer has to confiscate your driver’s license and issue a temporary license. They will issue an official notice suspending your license. Law enforcement is required to forward the license and the order of suspension to the DMV.
You then have a ten-day period to fight the suspension by appealing for a hearing. If you choose not to appeal, the DMV will enforce the suspension. If you are unsuccessful at the hearing, your license can be suspended from four months to three years. The length of the suspension depends on the circumstances surrounding your arrest and prior convictions.
Court-Issued and Private Company Restrictions After a DUI Conviction
If convicted of a DUI charge, the criminal courts may add more restrictions and suspensions on top of the DMV’s initial suspension. Typically, first-time DUI convictions carry a six-month suspension. The suspension is usually extended if the DUI garners a felony charge or if there were prior offenses. A suspended license prohibits you from driving legally in California and all other states.
It is illegal to drive with a suspended license, so anything requiring a valid driver’s license and the ability to drive legally becomes out of reach. This is especially true regarding rental car companies. You cannot rent and drive one of their vehicles without a license. Presenting an invalid license while renting a car can lead to even more legal problems and unneeded financial strain, and crashing a rental car while driving under a suspended license is a recipe for disaster.
Even after the suspension ends, or you are driving with a restricted license, your driving record will still create snags when trying to rent a car. As private businesses, car rental companies have the option of enforcing any additional restrictions they choose to impose on renters.
The Policies of Rental Car Companies
A car rental company can still deny access to their rental vehicles even after a driver’s license is reinstated. There is no umbrella policy all companies have to follow. The company’s decision to rent to someone with a DUI conviction is often determined by how long ago the DUI occurred.
The policies of each company can be similar or vary widely:
- Alamo only requires a valid driver’s license. There can be no restrictions requiring the use of a portable breathalyzer.
- Avis requires a clean driving record for at least 48 months.
- Budget requires a clean driving record for at least 48 months.
- Enterprise requires a valid driver’s license or a verifiable temporary license. There can be no restrictions requiring the use of a portable breathalyzer.
- Hertz only requires a valid driver’s license. There can be no restrictions requiring the use of a portable breathalyzer.
- Sixt only needs a valid driver’s license, and renter must be 21. There is no mention of a DUI policy in their rental criteria.
Even companies that may not run initial background checks, they usually have special conditions for renters with restrictions on their licenses. They do not have to make you aware of these policies until you arrive to pick up the vehicle. In order to prevent uncomfortable surprises, it is best to call a representative of the rental company and discuss your particular situation.
Car Rental Companies and Background Checks
All someone renting a car really needs is a valid driver’s license and insurance coverage. If someone rents a car using a valid license and presents insurance coverage and then drives it while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and gets into an accident, the company is not liable because the renter had the required documents and was not impaired when renting the car.
It is not a legal requirement for car rental companies to check a driver’s DMV records. But in most cases, rental companies want to do everything they can to protect their assets. Even though they are safe from fault, most will still conduct background checks to know the history of the driver they are allowing to operate their vehicle. If the background check reveals anything that may conflict with their policies, they are within their rights to refuse service.
The best way to keep away from the pitfalls of a restricted or suspended license is to avoid a DUI conviction on your record. There is no reason these limitations should inconvenience you when you travel for business or want to rent a car on vacation. If you have been arrested for DUI, protect the freedom that comes with an unencumbered license by securing the skilled representation of an experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney.
Contact a DUI Lawyer in Los Angeles Today
Partnering with a skilled DUI attorney in Los Angeles can help you avoid a litany of burdensome inconveniences and consequences associated with a conviction for driving under the influence.
If you have been arrested on suspicion of DUI, it is in your best interest to reach out to an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer. With the right legal representation, you may be able to prevent suspended licenses and see a reduction or dismissal of criminal charges.
A Los Angeles DUI attorney can navigate your case and defend your freedoms. Contact us today to receive a free consultation.