If you are convicted of DUI in California the court will notify the DMV and you will lose your driver’s license.
If arrested for DUI you face two kinds of license suspension. One is handled by the DMV on its own, and starts almost immediately after your arrest (APS license suspension). But the other happens if and when you are convicted, and is ordered by the courts. This second form of suspension generally lasts much longer.
Court ordered suspension involves a back-and-forth between the court that sentenced you and the state Department of Motor Vehicles. The DMV has administrative authority over all driver’s licenses in the state of California. It reserved the right to choose who can and cannot drive based on a complex set of policies. The court simply notifies the DMV of your conviction—it is the DMV itself that actually suspends your license.
The length of your suspension depends on your conviction. While it is suspended:
- You normally cannot drive for any reason
- You could qualify for a restricted driver’s license that allows you drive to and from work
- You will face additional penalties if caught driving illegally
To reinstate your license, you must complete the terms of your probation including DUI traffic school. Step by step instructions for reinstatement are here: How can I reinstate my driver’s license after a DUI in California?
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