California’s DUI laws can be complex and confusing. In this section, our attorneys break down the rules and explain the process.
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Your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) suspended your driver’s license after you were arrested for DUI. Now what? How long do you have to wait until you can reinstate your driver’s license?
The length of time you have to wait until you can try to reinstate a suspended driver’s license largely depends on the reason why your license was suspended in the first place.
For example, many states say that a DMV office can suspend your license for around 90 days if you accumulate too many points on your driving record.1 Here, you will have to wait approximately three months before you can begin the reinstatement process.
By contrast, many jurisdictions say that the DMV can suspend your license for up to one year following a DUI arrest.2 Here then, it will take at least one year for you to be able to get a new license.
Note, too, that the reinstatement requirements may vary depending on the reason for your license suspension. The time it takes you to complete these requirements will add to the overall time it may take you to reinstate a license.
If you are not sure how long your license was suspended, please consult with a defense attorney for help.
Most states say that you must take certain steps for a driver’s license reinstatement. The specific steps or acts you have to take will usually vary depending on:
In general, though, you will likely have to perform the following as part of the license reinstatement process:
Your local DMV office can suspend your license for both driving and non-driving reasons.
A few driving reasons for a license suspension include convictions of:
Some non-driving reasons for a license suspension include:
Your state’s DMV will usually send you a notice of driver’s license suspension in the mail.
If you did not receive this notice, you can probably check the online services of your state’s DMV. Once you access the applicable website, you may be asked to provide the following information:
If you still cannot learn if your license was suspended, you should contact your insurance company.
If you meet the eligibility requirements, a restricted driver’s license allows you to drive even though your license was suspended.
But you can only drive under certain conditions or restrictions, like to and from:
If your license was suspended for a DUI offense, you usually have to install an ignition interlock device in your car to obtain a restricted license.4
Most states say that it is a criminal offense if you drive a motor vehicle while your license is suspended.5
The crime is often charged as a misdemeanor and is usually punishable by:
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.