DUI Information Sheet

A first-time DUI in California can result in consequences ranging from misdemeanor probation to time in jail.
Defendants may be able to continue driving if they are granted an "IID restricted license," which requires them to keep an
ignition interlock device (IID) in their car for four months.
But first-time DUI defendants who do not get an IID restricted license may endure up to a 6-month's
driver's license suspension unless; the driver requests a California DMV hearing and wins, or if the driver is not convicted of a DUI in court.

All in all, consequences of a first-time DUI conviction in California can include:

  • 3 to 5 years of informal probation (typically 3 years)
  • DUI school ranging from 3 to 9 months
  • Fines and penalty assessments totaling between $1,500 and $2,000 (depending on the county)
  • A 6-month driver's license suspension (though people may be able to get a restricted license or drive immediately with an IID restricted license)
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for six months (unless the defendant chooses not to drive);
  • Up to 6 months in jail (depending on the county)
  • In some counties, work release
  • Indirect consequences (such as increased car insurance premiums and harsher penalties if the defendant gets convicted of a subsequent DUI).


A DUI arrest triggers two types of legal proceedings

Being arrested for driving under the influence subjects the driver to two sets of proceedings:

  1. A jury trial or a bench trial in a California criminal court, and
  2. A California DMV license suspension hearing.

The California DMV cannot find a defendant or put him or her in jail. It can only suspend the defendant's license. It will suspend a license automatically unless the defendant timely requests – and then prevails at a hearing but getting a DMV hearing is not automatic. The defendant must request one within 10 days of being arrested.

However if  you hire an attorney, it's typically to represent you in the DMV proceedings and criminal court. Having the same attorney work on both aspects of your case can lead to better outcomes, including a shorter license-suspension period.


Suspended License in California

Any driver that drives with a suspended license is committing a crime according to the laws in the state of California. Some drivers are aware of the fact that their license has been suspended and some are not aware. In any case, the laws are written for immediate enforcement and a license suspension notice from the DMV is a serious matter that should be immediately addressed.
There are four common types of license suspensions in California. They are negligent operation, failure to appear, DUI and reexamination suspension. Each of these types of suspensions will eliminate your ability to drive for a predetermined amount of time.


Under negligent operation suspension, any driver that accumulates excessive points in the time period permitted under law will receive a license suspension. Points that are added to a license by the DMV will remain until cleared or dismissed. The addition of four points within 12 months, six points in 24 months, or eight points in a 36 month period will cause your license to be suspended.

A failure to appear suspension, known as an FTA, can be due to a missed court date, unpaid tickets or child support arrears. This information is immediately reported to the DMV by the court and a hold is placed on your license. This hold is a form of a suspension and will take away your privilege to drive.

An arrest for suspicion of a DUI requires an immediate suspension of your drivers license. After the arrest is made, the arresting officer will confiscate your license and submit it to the DMV for a notice of suspension.

A suspension by reexamination can be enforced by your lack of knowledge of driving laws, prior convictions for DUI or traffic violations or your inability to operate a vehicle safety in the opinion of a police officer.
You have the legal right to request a DMV hearing for review and determination of your ability to legally drive. Knowing the law is not enough to make a defense on your own behalf. The information, facts and opinions that will be presented at a DMV hearing require the experience of a legal professional to understand.