Do you know what to expect after a first DUI in California? For most DUI convictions in Los Angeles, Alameda, Tulare and Sacramento Counties, you’ll have to install an Ignition Interlock Device or car breathalyzer into your vehicle. DUI cases elsewhere in California could mandate an Ignition Interlock, but each case is at the judge’s discretion. In January 2019, California will expand its Ignition Interlock law state-wide.
In any case, a lot is going on right now and you may be feeling overwhelmed, but if you have the right people behind you, such as Smart Start Ignition Interlocks, you’ll be back on the road in no time. Let’s go over what occurs after a first DUI in California, and when you need to install the Ignition Interlock.
A First DUI in California Timeline
Arrest and Bonding Out
First, a DUI arrest in California means an automatic suspension of your driver’s license. The arresting officer forwards your information to the DMV. After your arrest, you need to bond out of jail. If you cannot bond out, your hearing with a judge will occur normally within 72 hours.
After you are out of jail, you can request an administrative hearing with the DMV to contest your automatic license suspension within 10 days from your arrest date.
If you do not schedule your hearing, your driver’s license revocation period begins on the 11th day from your arrest date. You may want to hire a DUI attorney at this point, whether you request a hearing or not, because they can advise you on next steps such as when to install an Ignition Interlock if eligible or when to file for an SR-22 in California.
The hearing itself will usually occur within 60 days from your request date. You can drive up until your hearing date because of the Order of Suspension and Temporary License that the arresting officer provided you.
The Administrative Hearing
If you lose your hearing, your DUI license suspension will go into effect. Your suspension period will last four months if you took the chemical test under a first DUI. However, if you refused your chemical test, your license suspension will last a year. Keep in mind that the DMV and your court are two separate entities involved in your DUI case. The DMV is taking administrative action against your driving privileges, and your court is imposing sanctions against the DUI conviction.
A court hearing for your DUI case will also happen within 60 to 90 days from your arrest, although attorneys can push cases out for up to a year. A probation sentence under a first DUI normally means the following:
- Court costs
- A three-month DUI Education Program consisting of 30 hours. You may also need to attend a MADD Victim Impact Panel
- Possible jail sentencing for conviction
- Install an Ignition Interlock
- File for an SR-22
Ignition Interlock in California
For any DUI conviction, felony DUI with injury, or vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento or Tulare County, you’ll need to install an Ignition Interlock in any vehicle that you own or operate. The Ignition Interlock restriction period depends on the circumstances around your DUI case, but in general, the average period is between five to 12 months. Keep in mind that an Ignition Interlock can be ordered by the California DMV, your judge or probation. Your attorney, court and/or the DMV can advise you on when to install an Ignition Interlock to comply with your requirements.
Have any questions about the Ignition Interlock program in California? Feel free to call our Customer Care Center at (800) 831-3299 and our service agents will help you.
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