Obtaining a Restricted License After a DUI Conviction

Having your driver’s license suspended is one of the most feared penalties of a DUI. While fines, jail time, and required classes are one thing, it’s nearly impossible to get around in California without your ability to drive. How will you get to work to continue earning money and not lose your job? The answer: California law creates provisions which allow you obtain a temporary restricted license while you serve your license suspension. Read on to learn more about who qualifies for a restricted license and how you can obtain one.

Qualifying for a Restricted License

The good news: it’s pretty easy to qualify for a restricted license. Is this your first DUI charge? Odds are you qualify. In fact there are really only two ways to disqualify yourself from restricted license eligibility: being caught driving under the influence while already on a restricted or suspended license, and refusing to take the blood or breath test after your arrest. Remember: you can refuse to take a field sobriety test (such as walking in a straight line), but you cannot refuse to take a chemical test once you are arrested under our state’s “implied consent law.”

Applying For a Restricted License

So you qualify for a restricted license? How do you go about getting one? First off, you will have to wait at least 30 days, or until the “hard suspension” period of your sentence is complete. Hard suspension periods are given for repeat DUI offenders, and increase the amount of time you cannot drive to more than the regular 30 days.

Once this hard suspension period is over, you may apply for a restricted license by doing the following:

  • Enroll in a DUI school. Part of your sentence will include attending court-mandated alcohol education classes, otherwise known as a DUI school. This is one of the two locations you are allowed to drive to with your restricted license. You must bring proof of this enrollment to the DMV when applying for a restricted license. Note: if you are required by the court to enroll in other drug or alcohol programs, such as AA or a drug addiction support group, bring evidence of your enrollment in these programs as well.
  • Adjust your insurance. You are required to have a higher amount of insurance in order to drive with a restricted license. Check with your insurance company and adjust your policy to meet these new, elevated minimum standards. This probably will cost you more, so be aware of this increased expense. Once you adjust your policy, bring your new evidence of insurance (called a form SR-22) to the DMV to prove you qualify.
  • Pay the fee. The cost to apply for a restricted license is $125, or $100 if you were under 21 and received a DUI. Present all of the evidence listed above, as well as any court documents pertaining to your case to your local DMV office. So long as you meet all of the qualifications, you will be given a restricted driver’s license.

Restrictions on Your Driving

A restricted license is not a full restoration of your driving privileges, in fact, much like their name suggests, they are heavily restricted. With a restricted license, you are only allowed to drive in three scenarios: going to or coming home from work, to and from your DUI school, and during work (if driving is part of your job). Be aware with the last allowance: you cannot obtain a restricted commercial license. Those with a commercial license are only eligible to receive a personal restricted license during their sentence.

If you are facing a DUI charge, you should always fight back to preserve your privilege to drive without restrictions. Attorney Mark Girdner understands the importance of keeping your record clean, and will work with you to help you reach the best possible outcome to your case. As a former Deputy District Attorney, Mr. Girdner worked to prosecute those accused of crimes. Today, he uses that detailed knowledge of a prosecutor’s strategies to tailor his counsel to your case and effectively represent you. Don’t live with the consequences of your DUI without putting up a high-quality defense; let our represent you!

Fight back against your DUI charges! Call the Law Office of Mark Girdner today at 209.326.1533 to schedule your free consultation!
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