A DUI conviction can have long-lasting effects on your life, particularly on your ability to drive. In California, having a DUI can result in a suspension or revocation of your driver’s license. It is a serious matter that requires careful attention and adherence to legal procedures.
If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having your driver’s license suspended due to a DUI in California, it’s important to be aware of the steps you need to take to reinstate your license.
From completing your DUI program to meeting specific eligibility requirements, there are certain guidelines you must follow. A DUI lawyer in Los Angeles can provide you with the help you need in order to regain your driving privileges and move forward after a DUI conviction.
How Long Does it Take to Get My License Back After a DUI in California?
Having your license suspended is one of the hardest DUI penalties in California. Virtually everyone relies on their car to get to and from work and most other obligations. You will want to reinstate your license as early as possible if your license is suspended.
Remember that your license is not automatically reinstated when the suspension period is up. For example, if you were sentenced to a six-month suspension period and six months have passed, it is not legal to drive until you have completed the reinstatement process.
You must follow all the steps, and the DMV must issue you a new license before it is legal for you to drive. If you need help, it’s important to speak to a criminal defense attorney with experience handling California DUI claims.
How to Reinstate Your License after a California DUI
Here are the complete steps to reinstate your license in California. These steps are specific to a license suspended for DUI. If your license was suspended for another reason, the process might differ, which is why you should speak to an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer about your case as soon as possible.
There are several things you must do to reinstate your license after a California DUI. You are required to:
Complete the Full Period of Your License Suspension
One full year must pass if you were sentenced to a one-year suspension. Until the time has elapsed, there is no way to reinstate your license.
Serve Your Full Jail or Prison Sentence
You cannot reinstate your license until the full term is served. If your jail time was converted to a work furlough, work release, or any other alternative sentencing program, you must have documentation that you completed it.
Complete DUI School
DUI traffic school is a classroom course you must take following any DUI conviction, and depending on the conviction, the courses can take a significant amount of time.
It can last three months, nine months, 18 months, or 30 months. (There is an alternate 12-hour course for reckless) You will require a Notice of Completion, which is issued by the institution, in order to restore your license once you have finished the program.
Complete Any Other Sentencing Conditions
Some DUI sentences will carry mandatory drug or alcohol treatment, including rehab. Others will require that you attend a deterrence program, install an ignition interlock device on your car, or meet other conditions.
Get the Right Car Insurance
You must get proof of insurance before you apply to reinstate your driver’s license, but you need a special type of insurance and a form SR-22 that proves you have it. You get the SR-22 form from your car insurance company. While there are alternatives to SR-22 insurance, they don’t apply to most people, and you must typically put down a $35,000 cash deposit or equivalent surety.
Apply for Reinstatement
After completing all the above steps, go to your local motor vehicle office and apply for reinstatement. You should bring all the paperwork listed above.
Contact a drunk driving accident lawyer today for a free consultation. An experienced lawyer will ensure that your rights are protected and that you have strong representation in court. Do not talk to the prosecutor or anyone else before you talk to a DUI defense lawyer in California.
What is An Administrative Hearing?
You were likely given a notice of suspension by an arresting officer that indicates a ten-day time frame to request an administrative hearing. You can challenge the validity of the suspension or revocation in a hearing.
However, it is important to consider that upon proof of the following, the department has the authority to suspend the license:
- The DUI stop and arrest that followed were done legally by the police officer.
- The driver was either driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC of 0.08%) or more or refused to take a blood test or breath test, which is against the California Vehicle Code.
An important distinction between this hearing and a DUI trial is the lesser standard of proof required in the hearing. The process for having your license reinstated is complex. It is advisable to seek help from an experienced DUI attorney.
Applying for Reinstatement
When applying for license reinstatement, the reinstatement fees are also your financial responsibility. This is on top of all the other fines and fees you have paid. The amount of the reissue fee varies based on the following:
If you apply for reinstatement after an Admin Per Se (APS)suspension, the fee is $125 (or $100 if you’re under 21). This would apply to you if you had your license suspended by the DMV but later won your DUI case.
- DUI first offense: $55 fee
- 2nd or additional offenses: $55, but additional fees may apply.
As you can see, getting your license back is difficult, even if you complete your sentence faithfully. If you need to drive sooner, you may qualify for restricted driving privileges during your suspension periods. An experienced DUI defense lawyer can explain the qualifications for a restricted driver’s license so you can apply for one when necessary.
Obtaining a Restricted License
You can obtain a restricted driver’s license in California for the following:
- To drive to and from work
- To drive for work-related purposes while on the job
- To drive to and from the alcohol school, you have been ordered to attend by the court
It can be tempting to drive for reasons other than those that are listed, but you risk being caught and having your suspension extended, facing further fines and possible criminal penalties. In order to avoid the temptation to drive outside of the reasons listed, you should utilize public transportation, ask for rides from family members and friends, or use a rideshare service. Doing so keeps you safe from having your license suspended further.
You Can Fight to Keep Your License
If you have been arrested for DUI, you should do everything you can to fight the charge. The best way to do that is to have a good DUI lawyer. We can match you with a top Los Angeles DUI attorney and get a free consultation.
Contact the Los Angeles DUI attorneys for your free legal consultation today.