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When Your License Is Suspended

April 13, 2021

What You Must Know & “Do” Now

Be Advised!

You only have 10 days from the date of your arrest to file a “request for hearing” with the Department of Motor Vehicles.

If you refused the test or were charged with refusing the test you face a possible suspension of your license for one or more years. Likewise, if you submitted to a test which yields a result of .08% or above, you can also be suspended for 4 months to 3 years. You are entitled to a hearing before the DMV to contest this suspension.

The Department of Motor Vehicles regulates licensing and takes administrative and disciplinary action which is separate and apart from a criminal proceeding involving driving under the influence of alcohol.

How to Request?

How to Request a DMV Administrative Per Se Hearing?

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence in California and you took a chemical test which indicates your blood alcohol level to be over the legal limit, 0.08% or more, or if you refused a chemical test, then you probably were given an Administrative Per Se (APS) Notice of Suspension.

After you were served with the Notice of Suspension the arresting officer most likely took your CA drivers license, but if you were from another state or didn’t have it with you at the time, then you should have been issued a pink temporary license. If you were an out-of-state licensee, law enforcement will not confiscate your license, but your driving privilege can still be suspended in California. The DMV will be suspending your privilege to drive in California, not the license itself. Therefore, out-of-state drivers are still subject to the suspension even though they retain their driver’s license from their home state.

For out-of=state drivers, consequences of a CA suspension can be very far reaching. Your home state can suspend you license based upon a CA conviction and/or renewing your out-of-state license can be impeded if you don’t clear up CA suspension requirements-this can come back to bite you years later. Be sure to speak with an experienced attorney who has nation-wide contacts to assist with this tricky issue.

Length of Suspension

The period of suspension will depend upon how many previous DUI convictions you have, or other equivalent actions, within the past seven years. Also, whether the current suspension is for chemical test refusal or a blood alcohol level over the legal limit. For the per se suspension periods, the previous or equivalent actions are counted if you were previously suspended under the administrative per se suspension act, even if you didn’t get a conviction for DUI.

If your suspension is for chemical test refusal, it’s for one, two or three years, depending upon whether you have one, two or three or more previous arrests or convictions.

If your suspension is for a blood alcohol level over the legal limit, then the suspension is for four-ten months, unless you have one or more prior arrests or convictions, in which case it’s for one year.

Time Limits

You must make a request for a hearing within ten days of the date you were given the Notice of Suspension (arrest date is day 1).

Most often, the Notice of Suspension will be given to you at the exact same time you were arrested. Once you request the hearing, a stay of the suspension will be issued by the DMV pending the hearing date and the decision following the hearing.

Information You Must Provide to the DMV

The information setout below supplies the Department of Motor Vehicles with the information legally necessary to obtain a hearing. You do not have to supply any other information at the time you make the request in order to receive a hearing date or the stay of your license suspension. You calculate ten days by counting day one as the first day after your arrest.

You should call the number in the upper right hand corner of the pink Notice of Suspension you were given and request your hearing and stay of the suspension. Once you have contacted the Sacramento DMV they may either provide you with or connect you with a local field office to schedule the hearing directly.

DMV Contact Information

San Francisco, Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino Counties
(415) 557-1170

City of Commerce El Segundo
(323) 724-4000 (310) 615-3500

Fresno Irvine
(559) 488-4292 (949) 440-4416

Oakland Oxnard
(510) 563-8900 (805) 488-0863

Sacramento San Bernardino
(916) 227-2970 (909) 383-7413

San Diego San Jose
(619) 627-3901 (408) 277-1314

At the time you make your request for hearing you must provide the DMV, with the following information:

  • Your name and driver’s license number;

  • The date. county and place of arrest; and

  • Your preference for either an in person or a telephonic hearing.

The DUI Law Firm of Jon Woolsey always sends both a fax and correspondence confirming the request for hearing and so should you!

If you make the hearing date prior to contacting our office, we will most likely seek a continuance (new hearing date further down the road) so that we have sufficient time to gather discovery from the arresting agency and determine if we will be calling the officer in for participation.

It is important that you know how the DMV works in these matters. We’ve all had problems with the DMV, in one way or another and this is by no means an exception to the rule. Our California DMV handles these proceedings quite differently than the judicial system. Evidence rules are relaxed, hearing officers are not lawyers, and every aspect of this appears informal until a decision is rendered The standard of proof in these hearings is a “preponderance” of the evidence, a much lower standard than “beyond a reasonable doubt” in the criminal court.

There is a built in bias among the hearing officers since they are employees of the DMV and therefore will always try to support the license suspension unless appropriately challenged in a documented fashion. Individuals who attempt to represent themselves at these hearings are doomed from the outset. After all, the hearings are very technical, and the chances of a person winning without legal help is slim. There is no sympathy from the DMV regarding your necessity to drive to work, to school or for other family needs.