As a DUI defense attorney in Fresno, I get a lot of people asking me how long their driver's license will be suspended after getting a DUI in California. It depends. This seems to be the common answer by lawyers when they get asked legal questions. But in this case, it's really true.
A big determining factor is whether you refused to take a chemical test or you submitted to the test, and failed. I'd like to take a moment to review each situation and give you some idea of what driver's license suspension looks like with each possibility.
(1) How long will your driver's license suspension be if you refused to submit to a chemical test? FIrst, remember that an officer may request you to participate in one of two kinds of chemical tests: breath or blood.
Ok, back to the main issue. No matter whether you were considered to be a minor (under 21 years old) or an adult at the time of your arrest, if you refused to submit to a chemical test, the following driver's license suspension will occur:
- If this is your first offense: your license will be suspended for one year;
- If this is your second offense within 10 years, your license will be suspended for two years;
- If this is your third or subsequent offense within a 10 year period, your license will be suspended for three years.
(2) Meanwhile, if you submitted to the chemical test and failed, your license suspension will vary depending on your age. If you were 21 years of age or older when you took the test, and the results showed a .08% BAC or higher, you will receive the following driver's license suspension:
- If this is your first offense: your license will be suspended for 4 months;
- If this is your second or subsequent offense within a 10 year period, your license will be suspended for one year.
However, if you were a minor at the time the test was given, and you took either a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test or other chemical test, and the results showed a .01% BAC or greater, your license will be suspended for one year.
Remember that, in general, you are required by law to submit to a chemical test in order for an officer to determine your drug and/or alcohol content. This is true under the state's implied consent law.
Also, the chemical test should be taken at the time of your arrest and you should be given the option of whether you'd prefer to take either a blood or breath test. Further, I mentioned PAS tests earlier, these may be requested by the officer in addition to a chemical test. You are not required under the California implied consent law to take a PAS test. You may refuse this test!
Getting pulled over by the police is always an unwelcome occurrence and most drivers become anxious when approached by law enforcement. This is why it is helpful to be aware of your basic rights before something like this happens to you.