DMV Consequences for a Third-Offense DUI / DWI

DMV Consequences for a Third-Offense DUI DWIMotorists arrested for three DUI / DWI offenses within 10 years face serious sanctions from the DMV. The DMV will attempt to suspend the driver’s license of multiple DUI / DWI offenders in what is known as an administrative per se (APS) hearing. Drivers arrested for DUI / DWI have only 10 calendar days to request a DMV hearing. If no hearing is requested within 10 days, the DMV will automatically begin the process of suspending a driver’s license.

Because the consequences of multiple drunk driving arrests are so severe, it’s critical to have aggressive legal representation. An experienced California DUI / DWI criminal defense lawyer can represent the interests of an accused drunk driver at an APS hearing and fight to maintain the individual’s driving privileges.

The DMV consequences imposed on drivers with multiple DUI / DWI arrests depend on whether the motorist refused to take a chemical test. A driver arrested three times for DUI within 10 years who submits to a chemical test faces a two-year license suspension and the requirement to file formal proof of insurance (an SR-22) with the DMV for the next three years. The motorist also is required to enroll in alcohol education classes. The driver may be entitled to a restricted license after 18 months that allows travel to work and alcohol education classes.

Third-offender DUI / DWI drivers who refuse to take a chemical test face harsher consequences. Drivers who refuse a chemical test also face a license suspension of one year for a first refusal, two years for a second refusal, and three years for a third refusal. Under California’s implied consent laws, drivers who refuse chemical tests cannot obtain a restricted license. The driver must file an SR-22 in order to have the license reinstated at the end of the suspension period.

A DMV hearing officer must find three facts to be true in order to suspend a driver’s license – that police had a reasonable belief that the driver committed a crime, that the arrest was lawful, and that the driver had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or greater while behind the wheel. An experienced California DUI / DWI criminal defense attorney will aggressively challenge each of these assertions.

The punishment imposed in connection with an APS hearing is separate from any consequences stemming from a court conviction. Although courts no longer have the authority to order driver’s license suspensions, the DMV will suspend a driver’s license for two years upon learning of a third drunk driving conviction within 10 years. This suspension is concurrent with, not in addition to, any APS suspension. The DMV also will require the installation of an ignition interlock device and attendance at an 18- to 30 month alcohol education class.

Motorists with three DUI / DWI arrests within 10 years risk losing their driver’s licenses as a result of an unsuccessful APS hearing or a criminal court conviction, but both actions may be avoided with savvy legal representation. An experienced California DUI / DWI attorney will plan strategies to aggressively defend a client at both the DMV and in court, and keep repercussions to a minimum.

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