Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

Stop Sign

Driving Under the Influence means you were found to be driving with alcohol or other substances in your system. Here you can find more information about what comes next – court hearings, driver license (DL) suspensions or revocations, and more.

Arrest for DUI: General Information

The police officer is required by law to immediately forward a copy of the completed notice of suspension or revocation form along with any driver license taken into possession with a sworn report to DMV.

DMV automatically conducts an administrative review that includes an examination of the officer’s report, the suspension or revocation order, and any test results (such as a breathalyzer).

You have the right to request a hearing from the DMV within 10 days of receipt of the suspension or revocation order. If the review shows there is no basis for the suspension or revocation, the action will be set aside. You will be notified by the DMV in writing only if the suspension or revocation is set aside following the administrative review.

Your driver license will be reinstated at the end of the suspension or revocation, provided you pay a $125 reissue fee to the DMV and you file proof of financial responsibility (insurance). The reissue fee remains at $100 if you were under age 21 and were suspended under the Zero Tolerance Law. California Vehicle Code (CVC) §§23136, 13353.1, 13388, 13392If it is determined that there is not a basis for the suspension or revocation, you may apply for a duplicate DL at a DMV field office.

You may drive for 30 days from the date the order of suspension or revocation was issued, provided you have a California driver license and your driver license is not expired, or your driving privilege is not suspended or revoked for some other reason.

A hearing is your opportunity to show that the suspension or revocation is not justified.

If you are 21 years old or older, took a blood or breath test, or (if applicable) a urine test, and the results showed a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or more:

  • A first offense will result in a four-month suspension.
  • A second or subsequent offense within 10 years will result in a one-year suspension.

If you are under 21 years old, took a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test or other chemical test and results showed a BAC of 0.01% or more, your driving privilege will be suspended for one year.

No. A request for a restricted license cannot be considered at the DMV hearing. You may apply for an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) or a restricted license to drive to and from work.

You are required by law to submit to a chemical test to determine the alcohol and/or drug content of your blood. If an officer states this, it means that you did not submit to or complete a blood or breath test after being requested to do so. As of January 1999, a urine test is no longer available unless:

  • The officer suspects you were driving under the influence of drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol, or
  • Both the blood or breath tests are not available, or
  • You have hemophilia, or
  • You are taking anticoagulant medication due to a heart condition.

If you were 21 years or older at the time of arrest and you refused or failed to complete a blood or breath test, or a urine test (if applicable):

  • A first offense will result in a one-year suspension.
  • A second offense within 10 years will result in a two-year revocation.
  • A third or subsequent offense within 10 years will result in a three-year revocation.

If you were under 21 years old at the time of being detained or arrested and you refused or failed to complete a PAS test or other chemical test:

  • A first offense will result in a one-year suspension.
  • A second offense within 10 years will result in a two-year revocation.
  • A third or subsequent offense within 10 years will result in a three-year revocation.

The DMV suspension or revocation is an immediate administrative action taken against your driving privilege only. This is called Administrative Per Se (APS). Any sanctions imposed by DMV under APS are independent of any court-imposed jail sentence, fine, or other criminal penalty imposed when a person is convicted for driving under the influence (DUI).

The suspension or revocation following a conviction in court is a mandatory action for which jail, fine, or other criminal penalty can be imposed.

DMV Administrative Hearings vs. Criminal Court Trials for a DUI Arrest

No. The DMV hearing is an administrative proceeding regarding your driving privilege and the circumstances surrounding the arrest, not whether you are innocent or guilty of a criminal act. Only the following issues will be discussed:

If you took a blood, breath or a urine test (if applicable):

  • Did the peace officer have reasonable cause to believe you were driving a motor vehicle in violation of CVC §23140 , 23152 , or 23153?
  • Were you placed under lawful arrest or detained while on DUI probation?
  • Were you driving a motor vehicle when you had 0.08% or more by weight of alcohol in your blood?

If you refused or failed to complete a blood, breath test, or a urine test (if applicable):

  • Did the peace officer have reasonable cause to believe you were driving a motor vehicle in violation of CVC §23140 , 23152 , or 23153?
  • Were you placed under lawful arrest or detained while on DUI probation?
  • Were you told that if you refused to submit to or failed to complete a test of your blood, breath, or (when applicable) urine, your driving privilege would be suspended for one year or revoked for two or three years?
  • Did you refuse to submit to or fail to complete a blood or breath test, or (if applicable) a urine test after being requested to do so by a peace officer?

Both State and Federal Constitutions provide that no person shall be deprived of property without due process of law. Due process of law means that you will receive a notice of the action DMV intends to take against your driving privilege and you will be given an opportunity to be heard (hearing).

No. You are not required to request a DMV hearing if you do not want one.

When a driver has been acquitted of DUI charges in court, a suspension or revocation will be reversed if it is determined by the DMV that the court decision does, in fact, equal an acquittal.

No. A reduction of a DUI charge to reckless driving in criminal court is separate and/or independent from the administrative proceeding, and it does not affect the driving privilege suspension.

For restriction eligibility, please click on the specified link:

First Offenders Non-Injury Restriction Options

First Offenders Injury Restriction Options

Repeat Offenders Restriction Options

DUI Offenders Drug Only Restriction Options

Commercial Drivers

If you have a commercial driver license (CDL), you must downgrade to a Class C noncommercial driver license in order to get a restricted license.

If you have a CDL and you were not operating a commercial vehicle at the time of the offense and you pay a $125 reissue fee after a mandatory 30-day suspension, you may request a restricted license to drive to, from, and during work.

The reissue fee remains at $100 if you were under age 21 and were suspended under the Zero Tolerance Law. California Vehicle Code (CVC) §§23136, 13353.1, 13388, 13392

Multiple Offense Drivers

Any driver with a second DUI offense within 10 years may:

  1. Submit proof of enrollment in a DUI treatment program.
  2. Submit proof of FR (insurance).
  3. Pay a $100 reissue fee one year after the effective date of the suspension in order to drive to and from an alcohol program and to, from, and during work.

Any driver with a third or subsequent DUI offense within 10 years is not entitled to apply for any type of restricted license.

An officer will serve you an immediate order of suspension if you have a blood alcohol content level (BAC) of 0.01% or greater, as measured by a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) device or other chemical test, if you are on court-ordered probation for a DUI conviction. This is an APS action. The chart below shows the length of your suspension:

If You…You Will Receive
Submit to a PAS or other chemical test with a BAC of 0.01% or greaterA one year suspension.
Refuse or fail to submit to a PAS test or other chemical testA two year suspension.
refuse or fail to submit to a PAS test or other chemical test, and you have two or more prior DUI convictionsA three year revocation.

If the officer determines that you are in violation of more than one APS action, you may be issued a suspension and/or revocation order for each action.

You may request a hearing from DMV within 10 days of receipt of the suspension by contacting a local Driver Safety Office.

No. The DMV hearing officer can only set aside the administrative action against your driving privilege. This decision is separate and/or independent from any criminal charge, sanction, penalty, or decision.

Need something else?