The law in California is clear that you face certain mandatory penalties in light of a DUI conviction. The severity of these penalties will depend heavily on the circumstances of your case. You will have your license suspended or permanently revoked after you’ve been convicted of a DUI.
It’s because of these mandatory penalties, like losing your driver’s license after a DUI conviction, that you should make sure that you’re represented properly. A skilled DUI defense lawyer can help reduce the penalties you face. If the case against you is particularly weak, the right attorney may even be able to have the charges dismissed entirely.
The California DMV Suspends your License Within 30 Days
As long as you haven’t pled guilty to the charges during your arraignment, the first challenge to keeping your license after being arrested for a DUI comes from the California DMV. The DMV will conduct a review of your charges 30 days after the date of your arrest. If left to go on without your input, you can expect that DMV will suspend your license. For a first DUI offense, this administrative suspension by the DMV will last four months. Generally, this period will run concurrently with any license suspension you get as a result of a DUI conviction.
You can contest this automatic suspension, but you must act quickly. You have ten days to request a hearing to present a defense against this process. This hearing will happen quickly, as they schedule it within about 30 days of your arrest. If you don’t contest the review, your license will be suspended even if you are later found not guilty in the criminal proceedings.
When the hearing comes up, you don’t have to represent yourself. You may have your attorney present, who can examine the evidence and even question witnesses on your behalf. Even if the hearing doesn’t go your way, having a lawyer present and cross-examining witnesses may help strengthen your case when it proceeds to trial.
Suspension After a Conviction
If you get convicted of a DUI offense, regardless of the DMV’s administrative suspension, you are looking at having your license taken away for some time. The exact range of time you will lose your license depends heavily on your case.
Your license will be suspended for progressively longer periods of time for each DUI on your driving record. For the purposes of California’s DUI penalties, all the DUIs must happen within 10 years of the date of your first DUI arrest. Any DUIs that have happened outside of this period will not affect your case.
The length of time you will have your license suspended varies, but generally is within the following range:
- First offense: Six to nine months (not counting the DMV suspension)
- Second offense: Up to two years
- Third offense: Up to three years
- Fourth offense: Up to four years
A fourth or greater offense may not result in a suspension. Instead, the court may decide to permanently revoke your license.
Other Factors That Will Increase Your Suspension
The above list assumes that there are no aggravating factors when you are convicted of a DUI. However, some circumstances will result in a longer suspension. These include:
- Refusing a chemical test (adding one to three years to your suspension)
- You were on a DUI probation when arrested for a new DUI charge (adds one year to your suspension)
- Your DUI resulted in the injury or death of another person
California can permanently revoke your license for certain offenses. On top of four or more DUIs, the state may revoke your license if:
- Your DUI resulted in a serious injury
- Your DUI was coupled with a manslaughter charge
- You were convicted of a DUI murder charge
Fight the DUI Before You Lose Your License
A DUI charge in Los Angeles or anywhere in California will haunt you for many years to come. On top of losing your license, you’ll have to pay thousands of dollars in fines, have a mark on your record that can prevent you from getting certain jobs, and may result in you spending time behind bars.
Instead of trying to end the process quickly, you are better off fighting the charges with a passionate advocate by your side. Even if you believe the case against you is strong, a skilled DUI attorney can help reduce the penalties you’ll end up facing.
Call (310) 971-9045 to schedule a consultation with one of our highly experienced lawyers. They have years of practice fighting DUI charges in California. The initial consultation is completely free to you, so contact us to see how we can help stop you from having your license suspended.