If this is your second DUI conviction (or more), you will receive a much longer license suspension than you did in your first DUI. In California, the DMV handles your suspension and it can happen in two different ways:
- The DMV will suspend it automatically, 30 days after your arrest (the “admin per se” suspension) unless you fight it.
- Additionally, your license will be suspended as part of your sentence if you lose your DUI case in court (“court-ordered” suspension).
The most important thing you can do to protect your license after your DUI arrest is to fight the admin per se suspension. You can do this by requesting a hearing with the DMV, which your lawyer can do for you. You have only 10 days from your arrest to request this hearing.
How long will my license be suspended for a 2nd DUI, 3rd DUI or 4th DUI?
Repeat DUI penalties are based on a 10-year “look-back” period. That means that if you had one previous DUI within the past 10 years, you are a second-time offender. But if that same prior charge was more than 10 years ago, your new DUI will count as a first offense.
The penalties are longer for each subsequent DUI. In most cases:
- A 2nd DUI carries a license suspension of 1 year (administrative per se) or 2 years (if convicted)
- A 3rd DUI carries a license suspension of 1 year (administrative per se) or 3 years (if convicted)
- A 4th carries a license revocation of 4 years
A license “suspension” means your license is temporarily taken away and can be reinstated easily after the time is up. A license “revocation” means that your license is permanently taken away. Even after the revocation period is over, you must re-apply for the license like a new applicant.
Do I have to serve both the admin per se suspension and the court-ordered suspension?
No. The admin per se suspension counts toward your total suspension time. So if you have already had your license suspended for 6 months and are then convicted of DUI, you are considered to have served 6 months of your court-ordered suspension.
Can I get a restricted license to drive to work?
In most cases, yes, although there are exceptions. For example:
- You may have to serve part of your license suspension as a “hard suspension” with no driving at all. This is particularly true if you lose your DMV hearing or did not request a hearing.
- The hard suspension period will be longer if your DUI involved illegal drugs.
- You cannot get a restricted license at all if you refused to take the breath, blood or urine test after your DUI arrest.
Is there a way to keep my driver’s license?
Yes. Although suspension is supposed to be automatic for all DUIs, this is far from the truth. A good DUI lawyer can potentially win your DMV hearing, stay your license suspension until your court date, and win at court (or negotiate a deal that does not involve license suspension). This can allow you to keep your license and, in many cases, avoid DUI penalties altogether.
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.