What happens after a DUI arrest?

The process that takes place after a DUI arrest, the order of suspension, administrative review and license suspension, can be daunting.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, there were 141,458 arrests made for driving under the influence in a single year in the state of California. While getting arrested for a DUI may not be unheard of, many residents are unaware of what happens after the apprehension.

Order of suspension

Often, the first thing that happens after an arrest for drunk driving is an order of suspension. The form, which should be filled out by an officer, indicates that the driver was operating a vehicle illegally. The date on the form may also serve as a 30-day, temporary license for the individual to use until the suspension has been finalized. The temporary license is often needed because the arresting officer may confiscate the license of the driver who was accused of operating a vehicle under the influence.

Administrative review

After the order of suspension report is filled out, it is sent in to the department of motor vehicles. An agent at the DMV then reviews the arrest and any accompanying test results to make sure the allegations are accurate. If, for any reason, the DMV chooses to set aside the suspension, a written notice will be sent out to the involved party.

The administrative review does not have to include a hearing, but in some cases, it does. If the driver feels the suspension of his or her license is unjust, he or she may request a hearing with the DMV. It gives the driver a chance to show his or her side of the situation to the DMV. This hearing must be initiated within 10 days of the initial arrest.

License suspension

The next step after a DUI arrest may be the official license suspension done by the DMV. The amount of time for the suspension can vary based on the unique situation. For example, a driver who submitted to a chemical test may regain access to his or her license in four months for a first offense. A second offense might result in a longer suspension of 12 months.

On the other hand, if the driver refused to take the chemical test, his or her license could be suspended for a year after the first offense. The second and third subsequent DUI arrests could result in a revocation, or cancellation, of a license for two or three years. The suspension and revocation length for any drivers who are under the legal drinking age may differ even more.

A DUI arrest in California could also lead to criminal charges in a court of law, which could result in fines, community service or jail time. Working with a knowledgeable attorney after an arrest may make the entire process go a little smoother.