If your license was suspended in California for a DUI or any other reason, you should have been notified when it was suspended – but often, you won’t be. Likewise, you may have been told that you could lose your license depending on how your case went, but never got confirmation as the case progressed. This can be frustrating, especially with the steep penalties for driving on a suspended license in California.
Luckily, you can find out easily if your license is currently suspended in California. We’ll go over the two types of suspension in a DUI case, how you get notified of each one, and how to find out definitely the status of your license.
What Is a License Suspension?
A license suspension is when the state removes your driving privileges. You are not allowed to operate a motor vehicle without a license. If you are caught driving on a suspended license, you will receive punishment. You can drive again legally when your license is reinstated or if you’re allowed a restricted license.
There are many reasons for license suspensions in California. DUI isn’t the only one. Some other reasons include:
- Driving without insurance
- Failing to appear in court for a traffic ticket
- Failing to report an accident
- Too many points on your driving record
- Failure to pay child support
Two Types of DUI License Suspension
If you were arrested for DUI in California, there are two ways your license can be suspended. They are:
- Administrative suspension. Also known as “Admin Per Se” suspension, this kind of suspension is handled by the California DMV. It happens automatically 30 days after your DUI arrest, even if you have not been found guilty – unless you fight it.
- Suspension as part of your sentence. Regardless of administrative suspension, if convicted of DUI, you will be given a license suspension as part of your sentence.
You can end up getting your license suspended for either or both reasons. Notice is given differently for each type of suspension.
How Do You Know If You’ve Gotten Administrative Suspension?
The administrative suspension process starts as soon as you’re arrested. Normally, the police will take away your license on the spot. It’s a routine part of “booking” someone at the station. If they do this, they will give you:
- A pink sheet of paper that serves as a temporary license for 30 days
- A written notice that you have only 10 days to request a hearing with the DMV, or else your license will be suspended
Unfortunately, police don’t always do this. If they forget, you should receive written notice from the DMV within several days of your arrest. If this doesn’t come, or you’re not sure you received it, your license will most likely be suspended after 30 days, anyway.
Important: If you do not request your hearing within the 10-day period, your license will be suspended after 30 days. Talk to a DUI lawyer immediately and ask them to file your hearing request. If you were given no notice, you may be able to fight it. A DUI lawyer can help you.
How Do You Know If Your License Was Suspended As Part of Your DUI Sentence?
All DUI sentences now include license suspension in California. The process for a court-ordered suspension is much clearer. You will be informed of your suspension at your sentencing. Normally, you will be asked to sign paperwork regarding your sentence that includes information about your suspension.
Find Out the Status of Your Driver’s License in California
Since license suspension rules are complex, you still might not be sure whether your license is currently suspended or not. If you lose your paperwork, you’ll need to ask about your status. You can find out by contacting the DMV, but in most cases, they will not simply tell you over the phone. You must request a copy of your driver record. This can be done in three ways:
- Request your driver record online. This requires that you create a login (free) and pay a $2.00 printout fee. Request your record online here. Note: records printed out online are not considered “official documents.” If you need the document for legal reasons, see the options below.
- Go to your local DMV office. You will need to fill out a form INF1125, which you can print out for free here, then take it to your local DMV office. There will be a $5.00 fee to request the record in person, but this record is considered official.
- Do it by mail. You can also print out form INF1125 and mail it to DMV headquarters. You will need to include a $5.00 fee, and the record is considered official. Address it to:
Department of Motor Vehicles, P.O. Box 944247 MS G199, Sacramento, CA 94244-2470.
Remember: if you know for a fact that your license was suspended, it does not automatically reinstate when the suspension period is up. If you have not taken steps to reinstate your license, it is still suspended.
How Do I Get My License Reinstated After a DUI?
There are several steps you’ll need to take to get your license reinstated after a DUI conviction. The first step is to complete your mandatory suspension period. This will be at least six months and can be much longer. You will be told the length of your suspension at your sentencing.
Once that has finished, you’ll need to show proof of enrollment in a DUI treatment program and a certificate of completion, also known as a DL-101, from the program. You’ll also need to file a Proof of Financial Responsibility form (SR-22.) DUI convicts have higher insurance minimums, and the SR-22 is proof from your insurer that you’re paying for more coverage.
Finally, you’ll need to pay a re-issuance fee. For adults, this is $125. Minors suspended under the Zero Tolerance Law have to pay $100. As you can see, there are many hoops to get your license reinstated. It’s far better not to get suspended at all!
Seek a Lawyer’s Help with Your California License Suspension
The rules around DUI and driver license suspension are complicated in California. If you want to fight for your license, your best option is to speak to a Los Angeles DUI lawyer. We can match you with a top DUI lawyer and get you a FREE consultation. Fill out the form to the right or call us to get your free consultation today.