Administrative License Suspension & Appeals


When you are arrested for a DUI and have a BAC level of .08 or more, or refuse to take a chemical test, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in California will take immediate administrative action to suspend your driver’s license. The administrative license suspension process is separate and apart from the criminal penalties and/or fines you may face in your criminal case. This process is known as Administrative Per Se suspension (APS) and it is initiated at the time of arrest for a DUI. When this happens, it’s advisable to immediately contact a San Diego DUI Lawyer for help.

Your Driver’s License After a DUI Arrest or Chemical Test Refusal

At the time of arrest, and typically after the chemical test has been administered, or if you have refused the test, the police officer will confiscate your driver’s license, issue a temporary license, and provide you with a notice of suspension or revocation form. You may drive on the temporary license for 30 days from the date the notice of suspension was issued. Most importantly, you will have the right to contest the suspension of your driver’s license through a hearing with the DMV. You must request a hearing from the DMV within 10 calendar days of the date you received the notice of suspension or revocation, which in most cases is the same day the arrest occurred.

If you fail to request a hearing within the required timeline, you waive your right to contest the suspension and your license will be automatically suspended 30 days after your arrest. For drivers 21 and older who took a chemical test and who have no prior DUI convictions, the suspension will be for 4 months. For a second or subsequent DUI offense within the prior 10 years, the suspension will be for 1 year. If the driver is under 21 and has a .01 or greater blood-alcohol level, it will result in a 1-year suspension.

When you are arrested for a DUI in California, you are required to submit to either a blood or breath test under what is known as the state’s implied consent law. If you refuse to take a chemical test, are 21 or older, and it is your first DUI offense, your license will be suspended for 1 year. For a second offense within 10 years, your license will be revoked for 2 years. A third or subsequent offense within 10 years will result in a 3-year license revocation. The arresting officer is required to advise you of the consequences of refusing a blood or breath test after an arrest.

Find Out How a San Diego DUI Suspension Lawyer Can Help

The DMV hearing is an administrative proceeding that focuses solely on your driving privileges and the circumstances surrounding your arrest, not whether you are guilty or innocent of the DUI offense. If you took a chemical test, the issues in the hearing will be whether the arresting officer had reasonable cause to believe you were driving under the influence, if you were placed under lawful arrest, and if you were driving the vehicle with a BAC of .08 or greater. For those who refused to take a chemical test, the previously-mentioned issues will be discussed in addition to whether you were informed of the consequences of refusing to submit to a chemical test, and if you did, in fact, refuse to submit to a chemical test.

It is important that you contact a DUI attorney immediately following an arrest in order to preserve your right to contest the suspension of your license. Having an experienced San Diego DUI license suspension lawyer by your side throughout the administrative license suspension process will greatly improve your chances of avoiding a suspension. In addition to contesting the license suspension, the administrative hearing will provide your attorney the opportunity to review the evidence that may be used in your criminal case and question the arresting officer.

California DUI lawyer Jessica McElfresh can request and schedule an administrative hearing on your behalf, accompany you to the hearing, and present evidence to show that the suspension is not justified. McElfresh has helped countless clients contest license suspensions and she will fight to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. She is dedicated to providing personalized service to each client and she will aggressively defend your rights. To learn more about how we can help you contest DUI charges or protect your driving privileges call us today at (858) 756-7107.