A driver arrested on suspicion of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) / Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in California must request a DMV administrative “per se” (APS) hearing within 10 calendar days of arrest, or risk having his or her license suspended. There are two possible outcomes to a DMV hearing. Consulting with an experienced California drunk driving lawyer can help ensure the best possible outcome at an APS hearing.
The first and best possible outcome is that the DMV hearing officer can set aside the revocation, suspension or restriction of a driver’s license. This means that the DMV case is over, and the driver is free to go the Department of Motor Vehicles and obtain a duplicate license at no charge.
The second possible outcome is an administrative per se action will be imposed. A driver who agreed to a chemical test charged with a first DUI faces a four month license suspension and the requirement to file formal proof of insurance (an SR-22) with the California Department of Motor Vehicles for the next three years. Although the driver may be entitled to a restricted license that allows travel to work and alcohol education classes, the restricted license cannot be obtained until the license has been fully suspended for one month.
A driver who took a chemical test but has prior DUI convictions or APS suspensions within the past 10 years will have his or her license suspended for one year for a second offense, two years for a third offense, and three years for a fourth offense. The driver also will be required to file an SR-22 and enroll in and complete an alcohol education class that could last from 18 months for a second offense to 30 months for a third or fourth offense.
A driver who refused a breath, blood or urine test at the time of arrest faces harsher consequences. The license will be revoked for one year for the first refusal, two years for a second refusal, three years for a third refusal, and four years for a fourth refusal.
Although the consequences imposed by the Department of Motor Vehicles after a drunk driving arrest can be severe, a driver can successfully fight to have the APS action set aside. An attorney who specializes in DUI / DWI defense can successfully navigate the DMV process, and may be able to help reduce or eliminate repercussions at the DMV.