Driving under the influence (DUI) in California carries a variety of penalties if you are convicted. In many instances, particularly on a first DUI, the most feared penalty is the suspension of driving privileges. If you are charged with a DUI-related offense, the suspension of your driver’s license can have a significant impact on your day to day activities. The help of a San Diego DUI lawyer can be critical to keeping your license.
What You Need to Know About DUI License Suspensions
When you get a DUI in California, you may face two different types of driver’s license suspensions: an administrative suspension when you’re arrested and a court-ordered suspension as part of your sentence if you’re convicted.
The administrative suspension is imposed by the DMV and the decision or hearing is conducted separately from your court case for the DUI charge. Whether you succeed at keeping your driver’s license at a DMV hearing has no effect on your criminal DUI charge, which will still proceed in court. The administrative suspension of your driving privileges can range from 4 months for first-time offenders to up to 1 year for third-time offenders.
While the DMV is charged with the authority to suspend your driver’s license, the court can also trigger such a penalty. If you are found guilty, the law prescribes the automatic suspension of your license. The duration of the suspension will depend on whether you have previous DUI convictions and other aggravating circumstances. Such aggravating circumstances, like that of refusing to submit to a chemical test after arrest, can enhance your penalties and will also increase the duration of your license suspension. A court-ordered suspension can range from 6 months for first offenders to up to 3 years for your third DUI.
Can I Fight a DUI License Suspension?
Individuals charged with DUI often assume that license suspension is automatic and they cannot fight the process. The key to avoiding this penalty is to be successful at your DMV hearing, which typically means obtaining the help of a San Diego DUI license suspension attorney.
- The DMV Hearing – At the time of arrest, your license will be confiscated and will automatically be suspended in 30 days if you fail to request a hearing within 10 days after your arrest. At this hearing, you will be able to fight any potential suspension. Having an experienced attorney will be critical to your success. While you will still have to fight the DUI charge, winning your DMV hearing can significantly help your case in court.
- Not Guilty Verdict – The court can trigger a license suspension if you are found guilty. It is important that you secure a not guilty verdict, have the charges dismissed, or reduced to an offense without an automatic suspension.
- Hire a Lawyer – Individuals charged with a DUI for the first time will often seek to represent themselves. This is often not a good decision, as DUI law in California is complex. Having a trained and experienced lawyer on your case can greatly aid your chances of securing your freedom and keeping your driving privileges intact. In cases where you lose your DMV hearing, or you failed to request the hearing within ten days of your arrest, having a San Diego DUI lawyer can be very useful in reversing the DMV decision.
- While the DMV process is different from the court proceedings, you have the right to be represented by a lawyer in both. Hiring a DUI defense lawyer will help you navigate both proceedings and reduce the chances of a suspension of your license.
How a San Diego DUI Attorney Can Help You Drive Again
At McElfresh Law, we have been representing individuals charged with criminal offenses for years. We understand the importance of having your driving privileges and we offer high-quality legal representation for both DUI court matters and DMV hearings. We focus on criminal defense litigation and possess valuable experience that is critical to securing your freedom and avoiding a suspension of your driving license.
The loss of your driving privileges has a huge impact on you, your family, and your ability to earn a living. Do not leave it up to chance. Trust San Diego DUI attorney Jessica McElfresh to help you today. Call for a free consultation a (858) 756-7107.