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DUI & Suspension & IID

When a driver is arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) she will usually be given a notice of suspension and temporary license by the arresting officer. This notice informs the driver that she has only thirty (30) days of temporary driving before her license will be suspended. The notice is pink in color and should be kept on the driver whenever she drives during the 30 days temporary license period. The notice also informs the driver that she might object to the suspension of her driver’s license by contacting the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within ten (10) days of her arrest to schedule a hearing where she may defend against the suspension of her driver’s license. The DMV hearing for DUI related suspensions is called an Administrative Per Se Hearing, or APS.

If the driver fails to contact the DMV within the ten (10) days of her DUI arrest the DMV will hold the hearing in her absence; thereafter, if the DMV determines that the driver was either driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08% of more by body weight, or the driver refused to submit to a chemical test, then the driver will have her license suspended. If the DMV determines that the driver’s BAC was not at least 0.08% or more by body weight then the DMV will dismiss its petition against the driver and reinstate the driver’s privilege to drive.

Note: The BAC limit is 0.04% or more for commercial drivers driving a commercial vehicle and 0.005% or more for underage drivers and drivers who are on probation for a prior DUI conviction.

If the driver timely contacts the DMV to schedule a hearing within ten (10) days of her DUI arrest then the DMV will allow the driver to present evidence, usually through her DUI attorney, that demonstrate she was either not driving, not lawfully arrested, or not driving with a BAC of 0.08% of more by body weight. The driver will accomplish this by presenting evidence that contradicts or impeaches the arresting officer’s findings as to the Field Sobriety Test (FST), the Chemical Tests (Breathalyzer, blood, or urine test), and the DMV's witnesses. The driver may bring her own witnesses to the DMV hearing. Typically, the argument at the DMV surrounds the evidence related to police reports, dash-cam video evidence, FST, chemical tests, and witness testimony. A DUI and DMV lawyer should be retained to defend against the DMV’s purported evidence.

Criminal Court: The criminal court can also suspend the driver’s license for DUI (in addition to other punishments, including jail and fines). The criminal court suspension period can run concurrent to the DMV’s suspension so that the a driver does not have her driver’s license suspended beyond ten (10) months for a first-time DUI without injury and where the driver did not refuse a chemical test. For example, if the DMV hearing dismisses a petition against the driver because the DMV determines that the driver was not driving a motor vehicle with a BAC equal to or above the legal limit the criminal court can still issue a suspension on for a DUI conviction where the defendant’s BAC did not reach the legal limit. See DUI Crimes for more information on legal limit DUIs and exceptions.

New Law: Historically, a driver who suffered a DUI conviction suffered a suspended license from both the DMV and the DUI criminal court (assuming the driver lost the DMV hearing and was convicted at the DUI criminal court). That suspension was unavoidable for at least thirty (30) days depending on the number of prior DUI convictions the driver suffered within the preceding ten (10) years; thereafter, the driver could be issued a restricted license that allowed the driver to drive to and from work, DUI classes, and in some cases of underage drivers, to school and other critical needs appointments. Today, a driver can have her suspension averted completely in some DUI cases by installing an interlock ignition device in her vehicle after a DUI arrest or conviction.

IID: An interlock ignition device (IID) is a small breathalyzer attached to the vehicle’s steering column. The IID is electronically connected to the vehicle’s ignition. The breathalyzer is used by the driver to blow breath into the device. If the device registers alcohol on the driver’s breath the vehicle will not start. For more information on IID, see Interlock Ignition Device & Tampering with an IID.

Note: If the driver installs an interlock ignition device in her vehicle so as to avoid the DMV suspension then her driving privileges will not be restricted.

The length of a suspension associated with a DUI crime depends on how many prior DUI convictions, if any, the driver has suffered within the preceding ten (10) years of the current offense and the status of the driver (commercial driver, underage driver, driving while on DUI probation, etc.). In the alternative, a driver may avoid a driver’s license suspension if she is willing to install an IID in her vehicle. The amount of time that the driver must have an IID installed in her vehicle can be anywhere from six (6) months to three (3) years depending on the number of prior DUI convictions, the presence of injury related to a DUI, the status of the driver (underage, commercial driver, on DUI probation, etc.), and whether or not the driver refused a chemical test.

Note: An IID option is not available for commercial drivers who lost the APS hearing, drivers who refused to take a chemical test as proven at the APS hearing, underage drivers who suffer a misdemeanor or felony DUI related suspension after the APS hearing, and DUI suspensions related to drugs only.

Driving Company Vehicle: If the driver suffered a non-commercial DUI suspension the driver may continue to drive a company vehicle even if the company vehicle is not equipped with an interlock ignition device. However, before the driver can drive the company vehicle without an IID after a DUI related driver’s license suspension, the company must acknowledge the driver’s DUI suspension and nevertheless allow the driver to drive the company vehicle. This waiver does not relieve the driver from her duty to install an IID on her personal vehicle.

SR-22 & DUI Classes: The driver may have her suspension avoided by installing an IID in her vehicle; however, other terms of the DMV and/or criminal court must also be fulfilled in order to benefit from the IID program. These include: acquire SR-22 insurance, which is a surety bond that is delivered to the DMV that shows the driver has insurance, and enroll in a DUI program (DUI program length varies by county and is determined by the driver’s BAC, the number of prior DUI convictions the driver has suffered within the preceding ten (10) years of the present DUI case, and whether or not the DUI was reduced to a wet-reckless conviction.

To learn more about license suspension, the DMV APS hearing, and interlock ignition device (IID) options after a DUI arrest or conviction, contact our DMV and DUI lawyers for a free consultation. Our DMV and DUI lawyers have successfully handled hundreds of felony and misdemeanor DUI charges, including commercial driver DUI charges, and our team is available to assist you every day of the week. Call today!

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