You will lose your license either:
- 30 days after your arrest, if the DMV suspends it, or
- On the day of your sentencing, if you are convicted of DUI
California’s DUI laws are complicated, because there are two different ways to lose your license. Technically, all license suspensions are handled by the DMV, but they can go ahead and suspend your license on their own (known as administrative suspension or per se license suspension), or they can wait until the courts convict you.
By default, the DMV will automatically suspend your license 30 days after your arrest unless you take action to stop it.
The 30-Day Deadline for Administrative Suspension
When you are arrested for DUI, police will take away your license and give you a piece of paper that serves as a temporary license. This temporary license will expire after 30 days, and at that time the DMV will suspend your license unless you fight it. You must file a request for a hearing within the 30-day deadline, or the license suspension stands. The easiest way to do this is to ask a DUI lawyer to request the hearing for you.
Once you request a hearing, it’s possible that you’ll still end up facing administrative suspension—but it’s far less likely. This is because:
- Your lawyer can represent you at the hearing, and can often convince the DMV not to suspend your license at all. And,
- The hearing is often scheduled many months in the future—so you may end up resolving your case at court before the hearing ever happens at all.
The Timeline for License Suspension from the Courts
If you win your DMV hearing, you can keep your license until and unless you are convicted by the court. This can be a matter of just a few months, if your case moves quickly, or it can be much longer. But the court cannot order your license taken away for your DUI until you are actually convicted.
This means you have the chance to avoid losing your license altogether. This can happen if:
- Your lawyer bargains the case down to a lesser charge, instead of DUI
- Your lawyer attacks enough of the prosecutor’s evidence that the case is dropped or dismissed
- Your lawyer wins your case for you
Letting you keep your license should be your lawyer’s highest priority, along with avoiding jail time. These are the two most difficult penalties for most people to face.
Have you been charged with DUI? We can connect you with an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer and get you a FREE consultation. Fill out the form to the right or call (310) 896-2724 and get your free consultation today.