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How to Get a License Reinstated After a DUI

By San Diego Attorney on December 10, 2020

Being convicted of a DUI can lead to both administrative punishments and criminal penalties, each of which will have a major impact on your life. While first-time offenders may be able to avoid criminal charges, they may still have to deal with a license suspension if they are not successful in a DMV hearing. Losing your license could impact your career, your relationships, and generally just make it extremely difficult to live in California. Reinstating it, while not impossible, also requires several key steps.

Steps to Reinstating a Driver’s License in California

After you were pulled over for a DUI, the arresting officer should have provided you with the time and date of a DMV hearing you must attend, as well as a temporary paper license. Failing to attend this hearing can result in the immediate suspension of your license. However, even if you do attend this hearing, it is still possible for the DMV to suspend your license if you had a BAC of 0.08% or higher at the time of your arrest. With the right attorney, you may be able to overturn these charges in a higher court.

If you are unable to get your license suspension overturned, then you will have to serve out the full sentence of your suspension, which can vary between six months and three years. Reinstatement is also not automatic, so you will need to perform additional administrative steps, including:

Serve the length of your license suspension: Once a license is suspended by the DMV or a higher court, then you must fulfill the full length of your suspension before it can be reinstated.

Serve the length of your prison sentence: License suspensions are typically slightly shorter than a DUI prison sentence, though they can vary for more serious charges. In any situation, you are required to complete your prison sentence before you can begin the process for reinstating your license.

Complete DUI School: DUI traffic school is a standard requirement for a DUI conviction and can range from three months, nine months, 18 months, or 30 months, and also require you to pay costly fines depending on the length of the program. DUI schools involve a diversion and alcohol treatment program. Once you have completed the program, you will receive a Certificate of Completion, which you will need to show to the DMV to reinstate your license.

Pay all fees: In addition to completing programs or prison sentences, you must finish paying all court fines, fees, bail, and punitive damages.

Show proof of insurance: Once you have fully served the requirements of your sentence, you can begin the process for reinstating your license. A key part of this, along with presenting any certificates of completions for DUI school or other programs, is filing for new auto insurance. There are specific auto insurance policies for DUI offenders, and you will need to speak to an insurance adjuster to determine which policy applies. You should also request Form SR-22, which shows the state of California that you have insurance for your vehicle.

Schedule a DMV appointment: After collecting all of your documents, you can schedule an appointment with the DMV to have your license reinstated. You may need to take a new driving test and will have to pay DMV fees, but you will likely be able to have your license reinstated at this point.

If you have been charged with a DUI in San Diego or North County, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. At jD LAW, our San Diego DUI defense lawyer specializes in defending clients against DUI convictions and can represent you in both a criminal court and DMV hearing. We may be able to help you avoid the entire complex process of getting your license reinstated altogether. To speak to an attorney today, call our office at (760) 630-2000.

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