In the state of California, you commit the crime of driving under the influence if you operate your vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of more than 0.08%. You may also face DUI charges if you operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs. After arresting you, the law enforcement officers may follow two steps, depending on where you live. If you live in California, the law enforcement officer may confiscate your California Driver's license and replace it with a temporary driver's license. The temporary license issued by the officer will be valid for thirty days. At the end of thirty days, the temporary license will expire, and your license suspension will take effect.  If you hold an out-of-state driver's license, the law enforcement officer will give you a notice informing you of the suspension of your privilege to operate a vehicle in California within thirty days.  The DUI Defense Attorney can help you seek reinstatement of your driver's license.

Understanding an Out-of-State License

You may be wondering whether it is possible to operate your vehicle with an out-of-state license in California. Yes, you can legally operate a car in California even if you are from out of state, and you do not hold California driver's license.  However, to enjoy this privilege, you have to meet some conditions. You must have a current valid driver's license from the state in which you reside. The license must be valid for the type of vehicle you are driving in California. For instance, you can only operate a truck in California if your out-of-state driver's license qualifies you to do that.

Is there an age restriction on out-of-state licenses? If you are above the age of 18 years, there will be no restriction regarding using an out-of-state driver's license in California. You are free to continue to drive as you wish as long as you are not a California resident and your license remains valid/viable in your state of residence.  If you are below the age of 18 years, say 16 or 17 years, you may only operate a vehicle for a maximum of ten days following your entry into the state of California. 

In some instances, these restrictions may not apply if you are minor, but you hold a valid driver's license issued by your state of residence. Restrictions may not apply if you are minor, but you have in your immediate possession a nonresident minor's certificate given by the California Department of Motor Vehicle. If in connection with the resident's minor's certificate, you have filed a proof of financial responsibility, the driving restrictions may not hold.

If you have moved to California, and you intend to stay in California and become a resident, you have to apply for a license from the California Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV). You have to make the application within ten days after becoming a California resident.  At times, you may need to apply for a license immediately after entering California if driving will be part of your employment. For instance, if you get a job as an Uber driver or a delivery person, you may have to seek a license from the California DMV. You should note that operating your vehicle to and from work do not qualify as driving as part of the employment. 

If you move to the state of California intending to be a resident, but you fail to apply for a license within ten days, you may face charges under Vehicle Code 12500VC for driving without a license.  You may get a consideration to get a license if you move to California with the intention of staying. However, to get a definite consideration as a resident of California, you have to register to vote. You also have to pay resident tuition and file for a homeowner's property tax exemption. To prove residency, you may obtain any other privilege not accorded to nonresidents.

What Happens After a License Suspension

The California Department of Motor Vehicles may allow persons convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol to continue operating their vehicles if they agree to install an IID (Ignition interlock device).  Non-California residents may seek a 1650 waiver. The waiver allows them to attend any court-ordered/imposed DUI School in the home states instead of attending driving school in California. 

Upon seizing your driver's license or after notifying you of the suspension of your driving privileges, the arresting officer notifies the California Department of Motor Vehicle. The defendant normally has up to ten days to challenge the license suspension from the time of the DUI arrest. For you to challenge a license suspension, your attorney has to request a DMV hearing. A DMV hearing is your right and is accessible by you irrespective of your place of residence. Therefore, with the help of a DUI attorney, both non-California drivers, and drivers based in California have the same DMV hearing rights. After requesting a DMV hearing, the license suspension is paused, awaiting the outcome of the DMV hearing. The outcome of the DMV hearing may take months to conclude. Therefore, you will enjoy using your driver's license for an extended period. 

DMV Hearing 

A DMV hearing is an administrative hearing, which takes place in the DMV office and not in a criminal court. The focus of a DMV hearing is to determine whether to suspend your driver's license or not after a DUI arrest.  Upon facing an arrest for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, the arresting officer confiscates your license. The arresting officer also provides you with a notice of suspension. The notice acts as a temporary permit to operate your vehicle for thirty days. The suspension notice also informs you that you are entitled to a DMV hearing to challenge and prevent the suspension of your license. However, you can only secure a DMV hearing if you request it within ten Days after DUI arrest and license confiscation. 

What happens if you do not request a DMV hearing? If you fail to request a hearing, the Department of Motor Vehicle automatically suspends your driver's license after thirty days.  However, you may be able to reinstate your license at some point if you enroll in a California driving school. Other ways of reinstating your driver's license after suspension include installing an ignition interlock device. At times, you may also have to pay a license reinstatement fee. 

Most people fail to request a DMV hearing due to a lack of knowledge that you have to request a hearing within ten days after an arrest. It is therefore important to seek the counsel of an attorney immediately after a DUI arrest. An attorney guides you through the entire process of license reinstatement and ensures that you request for a DMV hearing on time.  DMV hearings in California are much more relaxed than court settings. A DMV hearing officer presides over the hearing, unlike in a court setting where a judge presides over the hearing. In a DMV hearing, the amount of evidence needed to prove guilt is more easily satisfied than in a court setting. Usually, a DMV hearing takes place in an office and not in a courtroom. At times, the DMV hearing may even take place over the phone. 

Despite the relaxed and easy nature of a DMV hearing, it is essential to understand your rights and to be able to follow them. For instance, both California residents and out-of-state drivers have a right to be represented by an attorney in a DMV hearing. However, it is essential to note that you are entitled to an attorney at your own expense.  Unlike in a California criminal court proceeding, if you are unable to afford an attorney on your own, the DMV will not appoint an attorney on your behalf.  At the DMV hearing, you have a right to challenge and review the evidence against you. You also have a right to cross-examine the witnesses, including the arresting officer. You have a right to testify on your own behalf.

Out-of-State Drivers and California DMV

If an out-of-state driver fails to request a DMV hearing ten days after an arrest, he/she forfeits the legal right to request for the hearing. The license suspension takes effect thirty days after the license suspension. If the driver requests for a DMV hearing ten days after an arrest, this suspends the license suspension. The license suspension will only take effect if the driver does not win at the DMV hearing. You do not have to attend the DMV hearing in person. Your DUI attorney can attend the DMV hearing for you, and the DMV hearing may take place over the phone. 

What will the Arresting Officer have to Prove?

To have the DMV suspend/revoke your driving privilege in California, the police officer will have to prove several facts. First, the arresting officer has to prove that he/she had a reasonable belief that you were driving under the influence. The officer also has to prove that your arrest for DUI was lawful. The officer must also prove that when he/she arrested you, your blood alcohol concentration was more than .08%.  You should not attempt to attend the DMV hearing alone even if the hearing is not as official/formal as a court hearing. You should seek representation by a DUI attorney to avoid suspension of your license.

What happens if you do not win at the DMV hearing? If you lose at the DMV hearing, the Department of Motor Vehicle automatically suspends your California driver's license. The period of the license suspension will vary depending on several factors. The length of license suspension may depend on prior DUI convictions. For a first DUI offense in California, the DMV may suspend your driver's license for up to four months. The DMV may convert the suspension to a restricted driver's license when the first 30 days pass and allow you to operate your vehicle work, school, or DUI School. The DMV may allow you to continue driving if you agree to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.

Interstate Drivers License Compact (IDLC)

If the suspension of your driver's license takes effect in California, it will most probably have an effect on your privilege to operate a vehicle in your state of residence/ home state.  Most states in the U.S are members of the IDLC. The only states that are not part of the IDLC include Michigan, Massachusetts, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Tennessee. The concept of IDLC is that all drivers in the United States have a single/one driver's license and a single/one driving record.  Therefore, all states that belong to IDLC often communicate driving violations and arrests, arrests included, for driving under the influence on each other.  Therefore, if you suffer a DUI arrest in California, your own state is likely to take action against your license. 

The nature and the severity/nature of the action after a California DUI suspension will vary depending on several factors.  Different states have different ways of handling DUI offenses. Therefore, your state of origin/residence will determine the action against you. For instance, some states will automatically take action when the California Department of Motor Vehicle suspends your driver's license. Other states will only act if you have a conviction for criminal activity.  Some states will only penalize you if they have the same or similar DUI laws/statutes as the state of California. In some states, you will encounter DMV consequences at home, as if you have received a DUI conviction in the home state. 

Out-of-State Driver and California Courts

It is important to note that even though you attend a California DMV hearing, you will still face a criminal court procedure. You will face the court proceedings irrespective of the ruling/outcome of the DMV hearing. You will also face the DUI court proceedings even though you fail to request a DMV hearing.  It is important to note that the California courts are distinct from the DMV and will take a separate action from that taken by the DMV.

Unlike in the case of a Department of Motor Vehicles hearing, courtroom procedures cannot occur over the phone.  Your California DUI attorney may appear in court for you, depending on the circumstances of your case.  For a misdemeanor DUI offense in California, you may waive your need to appear in court. Your DUI defense attorney will be responsible for obtaining evidence and negotiating for you. 

If your DUI court proceeds to trial, it is the responsibility of the judge to decide whether you have to be present at the hearing or not. However, if your case proceeds to trial, it is advisable that you attend trial instead of having your attorney entirely represent you.  If you have not met and made eye contact with the jury, he/she is more likely to judge/convict you. It is easier to negotiate with the jury while in person with the assistance of an attorney. 

If you have an aggressive attorney and the court reduces o dismisses your charges, you may not face any consequences in your home state. However, if the court convicts you of DUI in California, you will face a sentence. You will no longer have a privilege/right to drive in California. Your home state will also impose some restrictions on your driver's license when you go home at a future date. 

What happens when your home state takes action against your license? The action will hold, and there will be no remedy until you comply and fulfill your DUI requirements/obligations in California. For instance, if the California court imposes probation, you have to complete the probation and abide by all the conditions of probation. For example, if the California court requires you to complete California DUI School and pay fines, you have to comply with the requirements. 

Upon carrying out all your duties and after the end of your license suspension period, you should contact the sentencing California court and the DMV. Your DUI attorney may contact the court and the Department of Motor Vehicle on your behalf.  The court may reinstate your privilege to operate a vehicle in California. After the reinstatement of your driving privileges in California, your home state is also likely to remove all restrictions on your license. 

Driving on a Suspended License

What will happen if you continue to drive in California even after the suspension of your driver's license? If you choose to continue operating your vehicle in California on a suspended license, you will face additional charges. You will face charges under California Vehicle Code 14601 for driving on a suspended license.  In California, DUI and traffic violations qualify as priorable offenses. Therefore, you will face enhanced charges every time you make a subsequent violation.  All your convictions and violations will be communicated to your home state through the DLC.

Replacement of DLC by DLA (Driver's License Agreement)

Drivers License Agreement (DLA) will soon replace DLC. Once the replacement takes effect, DLA member states will face stringent regulations. This will mean that out-of-state offenders will also face harsher penalties. The DLA seeks to eliminate statewide differences between violations. Under DLC, a state is under no regulation to enforce license suspensions from other states if the state does not have that statute. However, under DLA, the state would have to implement out-of-state license suspension even if the state has not similar laws as the imposing state.  

Contact a DUI Defense Attorney Near Me

If you commit a DUI offense and you hold an out-of-state driver's, you need an attorney to help you fight the charges. The DUI Defense Attorney can represent you in court and during the DMV hearing. Contact us at 818-253-1913 and speak to one of our Van Nuys DUI lawyer.