845 Jefferson Street

Napa, CA 94559

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INFORMATION ABOUT THE DMV SUSPENSION OF YOUR DRIVER'S LICENSE FOLLOWING A DUI ARREST

 

Will my driver’s license be suspended?
 
If you are arrested for driving under the influence in Napa, you will face two separate actions by the California Department of Motor Vehicles against your license: an administrative action based upon the arrest, and another based on whether you end up convicted.
 
Is there anything I need to do immediately?
 
Within 10 days of your arrest you need to request a hearing to fight the administrative action. The DMV is unforgiving about this requirement.
If you fail to request a hearing within 10 days, your license will automatically be suspended 30 days after your arrest!
 
The administrative action against your license takes effect without regard to what happens in your criminal case, and usually starts long before your criminal case is resolved – unless you request a hearing!
 
When you contact our office, we will request the hearing for you in writing so there will be evidence of the timely request. Until you have the hearing, the suspension will be stayed and your driving privilege remains valid!
 
It is not uncommon for that hearing to occur several months after the arrest, which will give us time to prepare your defense to the action, and for you to be ready to get a restricted license or make alternative arrangements to driving.

 
What happens at the administrative hearing?
 
The DMV hearing may be held by telephone or in person at the Santa Rosa Office of the DMV. A hearing officer will decide the case and represent the government. It is very important that you are represented by an attorney at this proceeding, as the rules of evidence apply.

 
Your need for a driver license is not an issue at the hearing. Only the following issues will be discussed:

A. If you took a chemical test:
1.    Did the peace officer have reasonable cause to believe you were driving a motor vehicle in violation of CVC §§23152, 23153, or 23154?
2.    Were you lawfully detained while on DUI probation or lawfully arrested?
3.    Were you driving a motor vehicle when you had 0.01% BAC or more while on DUI probation; 0.04% BAC or more while driving a commercial vehicle; or 0.08% BAC or more while driving a noncommercial vehicle?
 
B. If you refused or failed to complete a chemical test:
1.    Did the peace officer have reasonable cause to believe you were driving a motor vehicle in violation of CVC §§23152, 23153, or 23154?
2.    Were you lawfully detained while on DUI probation or lawfully arrested?
3.    Were you told that your driving privilege would be suspended or revoked for 1, 2, or 3 years if you refused to submit to or failed to complete a chemical test?
4.    Did you refuse to submit to, or fail to complete a chemical test or preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test (while on DUI probation) after being requested to do so by a peace officer?
 
Of course, your attorney will know the many complexities and legal defenses that underlie each of these issues, and know how to best present and argue the issues to the hearing officer.

How long is the driver’s license suspension I’m facing?

The length of the suspension of your driver’s license depends upon a number of factors:

•    First Offense DUI - 4 month suspension
•    Second or More DUI in a 10 year period - 1 year suspension
•    Refusal to Take a Chemical Test (first offense): 1 year suspension
•    Refusal to Take a Chemical Test (second offense): 2 year suspension
•    Refusal to Take a Chemical Test (third or subsequent offense): 3 year suspension
 
The good news is that effective January 1, 2019, the California DMV usually allows people to continue driving during their license suspension if they agree to install an ignition interlock device in their cars. This does not apply if they find you refused a test.

Without installing an IID device, the administrative suspension usually includes a period of “hard” suspension during which you will not be given a restricted license. The length of the hard suspension ranges from 30 days on a First Offense to a year.

If you are convicted, the court will also suspend your license!    Read about that here.