Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1. Will a DUI arrest cause me to lose my California drivers license? Answer: Not necessarily. As an expert, Fullerton DUI attorney Randall Longwith realize how devastating the loss of your driving privileges can be. Most people arrested for DUI in Fullerton or Orange County need to drive in order to work and sustain a living. Relying on public transportation is difficult, if not impossible. There are two ways a DUI arrest can result in the suspension of your California driver's license. The first is losing your DMV hearing . The second is being convicted of DUI in court. Either of these events triggers a California driver's license suspension. The length of the California drivers license suspension (and the availability of a restricted license) depends on whether you have prior DUI or wet reckless convictions, and whether you refused to take a DUI blood test or breath test . However, a good California DUI attorney can often prevent a license suspension altogether. But to do this the California DUI attorney must accomplish two things. First, he must win your DMV hearing . Second, he must get the California DUI court case dismissed, won at trial, or at least get the charges reduced to something less than a DUI. If the DUI attorney can do these two things, he has saved your drivers license.
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  • 2. What does a free consultation entail? Answer: Our Fullerton DUI attorney will set a personal appointment to go over the specific details of your case, providing a overview of what to expect and how an experienced DUI attorney can help.
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  • 3. Does the DMV know I was arrested for a DUI? Answer: Yes. The police officer who arrested you will contact the Department of Motor Vehicles – DMV- and send the DMV a copy of the notice of suspension, your California driver's license he took from you at the scene as well as a sworn report relating to the arrest. The DMV automatically conducts an administrative review that includes an examination of the officer's report, the suspension or revocation order, and any test results.
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  • 4. Is it true that the DMV must be contacted within ten (10) days of my DUI arrest? Answer: Yes, you or your Fullerton DUI lawyer must contact the DMV within 10 days of your DUI arrest in order to demand what’s called an “Administrative Per Se” or APS hearing . This hearing is your chance to challenge and fight to keep your California driver's license.
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  • 5. What if I didn’t contact the DMV within 10 days of my DUI arrest? Answer: If you fail to contact the DMV within the 10 days of your California DUI arrest, then you forfeit the right to a hearing. Your California driver license will go into suspension 30 days from the date of the DUI arrest. Note: The pink form that the police officer gave you at the scene or station is your temporary California driver's license. It allows you to validly drive for a period of 30 days after your DUI arrest. After the 30 days, if you have not had a DMV hearing , the suspension automatically takes effect.
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  • 6. What If I did contact the DMV within the 10 days after my DUI arrest? Answer:

    If you do contact the DMV within 10 days of the DUI arrest, then you preserve your right to the APS administrative per se hearing. In that case, your California drivers license remains valid until the outcome of the hearing is determined. The drivers license only goes into suspension if you ultimately lose your hearing. Even though the pink temporary license says “30 days,” the temporary license will extend until the administrative per se hearing takes place and a decision is reached --even if this process takes several months. If you hire an Orange County DUI defense attorney, he should represents you at both the DUI court proceedings and the administrative per se hearing. If you hire the California DUI attorney within 10 days of being arrested, the DUI attorney should take responsibility for contacting the DMV and arranging the APS hearing on your behalf. If you have not hired an attorney within 10 days of the arrest, then you must contact the DMV to request the administrative per se hearing. You can call the DMV, or fax in the request, or mail a certified letter. Whichever method you select, there are several key things to mention in the request:

    • Your name and California drivers license number.
    • The date, time and place of the DUI arrest, and the police agency that made the arrest.
    • That you want a live APS hearing, rather than a phone-in hearing, and that you request copies of all “discovery” (police reports, lab reports and BAC results).
    • That you intend to hire a DUI attorney, and that you will have the attorney contact the DMV to schedule the hearing.

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  • 7. After my DUI, the officer took my California driver's license. What do I do for identification? Answer: If you get arrested on DUI charges in Fullerton or Orange County, the officer takes away your California driver's license and mails it to the DMV for suspension consideration. In place of your physical drivers license, the DUI officer gives you a pink paper that functions as a temporary license. If you should get pulled over during the weeks following the DUI arrest, the pink paper serves as your California drivers license. But what can you do in terms of having an official photo identification? You have two options for obtaining a photo ID: (1) Obtain a United States Passport , or (2) obtain a California Identification Card . You can apply for a passport at any of the 8000 passport acceptance facilities , But for a rush passport, you will have to go to the Los Angeles Passport Agency . To obtain a California Identification Card, you will need to visit a local DMV office (these cannot be obtained online). You must pay the $22 application fee, fill out a form called a DL 44, give a thumb print, have your picture taken, provide your social security number, and provide proof of your birth date and legal presence in the United States.
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  • 8. After the DUI arrest, when will my California Driver's License be returned to me? Answer: Your California Driver's License will be returned when either (1) you serve out and complete the period of suspension, or (2) the suspension is “set aside.” The suspension gets set aside if either (1) the breath or blood test results come back less than .08, (2) your DUI attorney wins the APS hearing at the DMV, or (3) you are acquitted in court of the Vehicle Code 23152(b) charge.
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  • 9. Do I Need To Notify My Auto Insurance Company That I Got Arrested for DUI? Answer: There is no need immediately to notify your car insurance company of the DUI arrest. Wait to see what happens with the case. If you can get the DUI charges dismissed (or reduced), and win the DMV hearing , which many of our clients do, you most likely will avoid hikes in your auto insurance premiums or cancellation of the policy.
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  • 10. If I don’t Tell Them, Will My Insurance Company Still Find Out I got an DUI? Answer: In general, nobody automatically notifies your auto insurance company of the DUI arrest. But if you are convicted, the insurer will almost certainly find out, and will do so one of two ways. The first is periodic review. Most car insurance companies check DMV records every few years, or when you apply for (or seek renewal of) a policy. When they do a periodic check, they will see a DUI conviction or DMV license suspension (if they don’t know already), and take action. The second way the car insurance company will discover a DUI conviction is if you have to ask them for an SR22. If your California driver's license is suspended (either because of a DUI conviction in court, or because of losing your DMV hearing), the DMV will require you to provide an SR22 before reinstatement of your license. Moreover, you will have to keep a valid SR22 on file with the DMV for 3 years as a condition of maintaining your California drivers license. Where do you get an SR22? You get one from your car insurance company. When you go to the insurance company asking for an SR22, they will demand to know why you need it. Moreover, this will trigger them to do a DMV records check. They will discover that you suffered a license suspension because of a DUI, and take whatever action they deem appropriate.
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  • 11. What is an SR-22? Answer: An SR-22 is essentially a document, provided by your auto insurance company, verifying that you carry car insurance with at least the California state minimum liability coverage . The SR-22 indicates the expiration date of the policy, and a pledge by the insurance company to notify the DMV immediately if the policy gets cancelled before the expiration date.
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  • 12. The officer said I refused to take a chemical test. What does this mean? Answer:

    You are required by law to submit to a chemical test to determine the alcohol and/or drug content of your blood. If you did not agree to take a blood test or breath test after being requested to do so by a peace officer, you may have to take urine test if:

    • 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 are a hemophiliac, or
    • You are taking anticoagulant medication in conjunction with a heart condition.

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  • 13. What happens at the DMV hearing? Answer:

    A hearing officer will conduct the hearing just like a prosecutor would in a criminal case, but the officer also makes the final decision based on the evidence presented. It will not matter that you need to drive for work or because of a medical or educational need (unless you are under age 21). You may represent yourself or hire an attorney to represent you, just as in a criminal case. The only issues that will be discussed, by law, at the hearing are:

    • Did the officer have reasonable cause to believe you were driving a motor vehicle in violation of Vehicle Code 23140, 23152 or 23153?
    • Were you placed under lawful arrest?
    • 3)Were you driving a motor vehicle when you had a 0.08% or more by weight of alcohol in your blood or 0.05% or more if under age 21?

    If you refused or failed to complete a blood, breath or urine test the issues are:

    • Did the officer have reasonable cause to believe you driving a motor vehicle in violation of Vehicle Code 23140, 23152 or 23153?
    • Were you told that if you refused to submit to or fail to complete a blood, breath or urine test after being requested to do so by a peace officer, that 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, breath or urine test after being requested to do so by an officer?

    You or your attorney must request documents or police reports in the DMV’s possession in writing before the hearing in order to see the DMV’s evidence. You or your Fullerton DUI lawyer may present oral testimony and other evidence, or file the information in written form. Although the arresting officer does not have to testify, the DMV may call the officer if it is later determined that his or her testimony is needed. You or your attorney may subpoena the officer or any other witness you feel may help your case. If you decide to represent yourself, you are responsible for payment of any required fees and for making sure your witness receives the subpoena. If, after hearing the argument of an attorney regarding your license, 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. If you lose at the hearing, you may request a departmental review in writing within 15 days for an additional fee ($150). Or, you may request a court review by filing a writ with the Superior Court within the number of days shown on the bottom of the notice that was mailed to you telling you the results of your hearing.

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  • 14. Can I win a DMV hearing? Answer:

    It is possible to win a DMV hearing. In many cases, there are legal questions concerning the procedure of the arrest that can be challenged, to which the DMV must prove was carried out legally in order to suspend a driver’s license. In addition, DMV statistics for 2001 show that 17% of ALL persons who were suspended for DUI kept their driver's license simply by requesting a hearing to fight the suspension. In a license suspension hearing, the DMV has to show that the suspension of your license is justified. Contrary to what the DMV may tell you, it is not your burden to show that the suspension was unjustified -- the DMV has the burden of proof to justify the suspension. The DMV may do this by showing that any person arrested for driving under the influence:

    • Takes a breath test which shows a Blood Alcohol Concentrate (BAC) of 0.08% or more, 0.05% or more if under age 21, or
    • Takes a blood or urine test and the officer believes that the driver is at or above the 0.08% BAC, 0.05% if under age 21, or Refuses to take or fails to complete a blood, breath or urine test of his or her BAC.

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  • 15. What “penalties” can the DMV impose based on my Orange County DUI? Answer: The DMV has power to revoke, suspend or restrict a person’s California driver license because of an arrest for a California DUI. This procedure is separate and apart from the court proceedings in the case, and any “penalty” imposed is in addition to any court penalties. If a licensee has no prior convictions for DUI and no prior suspensions for a DUI arrest , the period of suspension will usually be four months. However, it is possible to petition the DMV for a restricted license , enabling a licensee to drive to and from work, during the scope of work, and to and from the alcohol program. A Fullerton DUI attorney properly experienced in DMV procedures will advise you how best to secure just such a restricted license. If the licensee has one or more prior convictions for DUI, or “Wet Reckless,” within ten years of the present offense, the DMV will suspend driving privileges for at least one year. If a licensee is under the age of 21, or has refused to submit to a chemical test, there is a mandatory period of suspension for at least one year.
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  • 16. How do I get a restricted license so that I can go to work? Answer: A restricted driver’s license allows you to drive to and from work, during the course and scope of your employment, and to and from an alcohol rehabilitation program. The DMV hearing will not resolve this issue. You can apply for a restricted license only after your license has been suspended at a DMV branch office, not where license hearings are held.
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Fullerton DUI Defense Attorney
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Fullerton, CA 92832
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