There are new laws in place effective January 1, 2019 for obtaining a driver’s license following a loss of a DMV hearing or a DUI conviction. These new laws only apply to DUI cases where the incident took place on or after January 1, 2019. There are different penalties if the driver is under 21 years or older, was on probation for a DUI at the time of the new DUI, refused a chemical test or someone else was injured in a DUI-accident.
If you have lost your DMV hearing or are convicted of a DUI in court, your license will be suspended. In some cases, the DMV will send you a notice that your license has been suspended (usually after the DMV hearing, but not always after the court conviction). Whether you receive a notice or not, it is your responsibility to go to the DMV to get your driver’s license back. If you lose the DMV hearing and get a DUI conviction, you may have to go back to the DMV twice (after each event).
You have three options to obtain your driver’s license after a suspension. All of these options will require that you obtain SR-22 insurance, that you enroll in and eventually complete a DUI program and that you pay a license re-issuance fee to the DMV (usually $125).
Option 1 – Serve Full Suspension. You can serve the full suspension where you will not be allowed to drive for four months (following DMV hearing loss on first DUI) or one year (following DMV hearing loss on multiple DUIs). These suspensions are the result of losing your DMV hearing, but if you are convicted in court, you could face longer suspensions. You face a one year for a first DUI, two years for a second DUI, three years for a third DUI and four years for a fourth DUI. After your suspension period ends, you can obtain your full driving privilege as long as you have obtained SR-22 insurance, completed your DUI program and pay a re-issuance fee.
Option 2 – IID / Unrestricted License. You agree to the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle. The IID is like a breathalyzer attached to your ignition. You will not be allowed to start your car until you blow in the device. The car will not start if there is any alcohol in your system. With the IID, you can start driving immediately. There are no restrictions on where or when you can drive. However, you will also need the SR-22, DUI program and re-issuance fee.
The length of the time you will have the IID depends on certain factors. Initially, the IID will be in your car for at least four months (following DMV hearing loss on first DUI) or one year (following DMV hearing loss on multiple DUI). If you are convicted of the DUI in court, the IID will have to be in your car for longer* – 6 months for a first DUI (10 months if your BAC is high), one year for a second DUI, two years for a third DUI and three years for a fourth DUI. Also, the IID cannot be removed before you complete your DUI program.
Option 3 – Restricted License. If you want to drive, but don’t want to install an IID, then you can get a restricted license. A restricted license will only allow you to drive for work, school**, and your DUI program. The rules are a bit complicated. For a first DUI, you can apply for a restricted license after you lose your DMV hearing, but you must serve a hard 30 day suspension before you can apply for the restricted license. After you serve the hard 30-day suspension, you will qualify for a restricted license as long as you have the SR-22 insurance, enrolled in a DUI program and paid the re-issuance fee. The restriction will last five months following the 30-day suspension. If you are convicted in court, however, your restriction will last one year. Also, if the court orders you to install an IID, then you no longer have the restricted license option.
For a multiple DUI, a restricted license is only available after serving a one-year suspension. If you lose your DMV hearing, you either get an IID or serve a one-year suspension. There is no option for a restricted license. However, if you are convicted in court, you can apply for a one-year restricted license after serving a one-year hard suspension.
Other factors may also affect the length of the restricted license. For example, the restriction will not be removed until you complete your DUI program.
If you are convicted in court after you lose your DMV hearing, your license may be suspended again. If that happens, you will have to go back to the DMV to re-obtain your unrestricted or restricted license. The rules are different if you are under 21, were on probation for a DUI at the time of a new DUI, refused a chemical test or someone was injured in a DUI-related accident.
*If the court orders you to install in an IID following a DUI conviction, you will not get any credit for having the IID device installed in your vehicle prior to the conviction. So if you get an IID following your DMV hearing, it will not count towards the length of time the court will require for the IID.
**School, for a restricted license, means only your school. You are not allowed to drive your children or other dependents to their school while on a restricted license.
The rules regarding licensing options are very complex. It’s important to have an attorney that understands all the rules in order to best represent their clients.
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