Restricted Driver’s License

In most cases, you can obtain a restricted driver’s license in your DUI case.  The difficult thing is to determine when you are eligible and what steps you need to take to get your restricted license back.  If you have any questions, please call my office at (916) 939-3900 or (530) 621-1800. DMV mandatory action can also answer your questions at (916) 657-6525.

Eligibility for Restricted License

If you were on DUI probation at the time you picked up a new DUI, you are ineligible for a restricted driver’s license. 

Restricted Driver’s License – First Offense 

In first offense cases, you are eligible for a work restricted license that allows you to drive in the course and scope of employment and to and from the DUI class you will have to take.  On a first offense, you are eligible 30 days from the start of the DMV suspension date. 

Restricted Driver’s License – 2nd or 3rd Offense 

On a 2nd or 3rd offense you must conclude your criminal case before you are eligible for an early reinstatement of your driving privilege with installation of an IID.  In any case where you are required to install an ignition interlock device, your driving privilege is not just restricted to work and the DUI class but allows you to drive unrestricted with the requirement that you maintain an IID in any vehicle you are operating.     

DMV License Suspension v Court License Suspension

There are two ways your driving privilege in CA can be suspended.  If you lose or don’t set a  DMV hearing, a 4 month to 1 year suspension can occur.  If you get convicted of a DUI in court, it will trigger a 6 month to 2-year suspension and in 3rd offense cases a 3 year or more revocation. 

Didn’t Set DMV Hearing – First Offense 

If you do not request a DMV hearing within 10 days from the date of your arrest, your license will be automatically suspended 30 days from your arrest date for a period of 4 months.  After 30 days from the start of your suspension date, you can apply for a work restricted license which allows you to drive in the course and scope of employment and to and from the DUI class you will have to take. 

Didn’t Set DMV Hearing – Second/third Offense 

If you do not request a DMV hearing within 10 days from the date of your arrest, your license will be automatically suspended 30 days from your arrest date for a period of 1 year.  It is a hard suspension with no restriction eligibility.  You may still get a restricted license after 90 days on a 2nd offense or 180 days on a 3rd offense, but you must settle your court case first.    

Didn’t Set DMV Hearing – Refusal Action   

If you do not request a DMV hearing within 10 days from the date of your arrest, your license will be automatically suspended 30 days from your arrest date.  The suspension period on a refusal hearing is for 1 year.  It is a hard suspension with no restriction eligibility. 

Didn’t Set DMV Hearing – Under 21 Action    

If you do not request a DMV hearing within 10 days from the date of your arrest, your license will be automatically suspended 30 days from your arrest date.  The suspension period on a under 21 hearing is for 1 year.  It is a hard suspension but you can apply for a “critical need” to drive license 30 days after your DMV suspension start date.    

Set DMV Hearing but Lost DMV Hearing – First Offense

If you set your DMV hearing and lost the hearing, the DMV will mail you a notice of suspension indicating the start date and length of your suspension period.  30 days after the start of your suspension period you are eligible to obtain your restricted license.      

Set DMV Hearing but lost DMV Hearing – Second/third Offense 

If you set your DMV hearing and lost the hearing, the DMV will mail you a notice of suspension indicating the start date and length of your suspension period.  On a second or third offense, your license will be suspended for a period of 1 year.  It is a hard suspension with no restriction eligibility.  You may still get a restricted license after 90 days on a 2nd offense or 180 days on a 3rd offense, but you must settle your court case first.    

Restricted License, Court case pending, DMV Suspension Started– First Offense 

If you were not on DUI probation and your license was valid at the time you got arrested, you are eligible for a work restricted driver’s license 30 days from the start of your DMV suspension.  Be aware that DMV will increase the period of suspension/restriction 1 month (turning the 4-month suspension period to a 5-month period) if you choose to get a restricted license.  To obtain your work restricted DL you need to do the following 3 things.   

1. Sign Up for DUI Class

You need to sign up for first offender 3, 6, or 9 month DUI class in your county of residence.  If your BAC is less than 0.15, sign up for 3-month class.  If your BAC is over 0.15, you would sign up for the 6-month class, and if your BAC is over 0.20 you would sign up for the 9-month class.  You want to contact the DUI class about 2 weeks prior to your 30-day suspension expiring because it takes about 1 week to get enrolled in the class.  If your court case hasn’t been resolved, you will need to go to DMV and get an H6 printout from DMV.  The H6 is a printout of your driving record that you take to the DUI class when you sign up.  If your case is resolved in court, you will get a court referral to the DUI class which you take to sign up.  Sometimes the class will say you can’t sign up for class without your court case being resolved.  This is incorrect.  Under the law, you can sign up prior to court being resolved.  You just need to provide the class the proper documentation either an H6 form (prior to court resolution) or a court referral (after court resolution).        

2. Obtain SR-22

You need to obtain SR-22 from either your insurance company or from an insurance company that deals with SR-22’s.  You want to get your SR-22 the week before your 30-day suspension is up.                                 

3. Go to DMV      

After 30 days of suspension, obtaining an SR-22, and enrollment in a DUI class, you can go to the DMV and get your work restricted license.  The fee for reissue is about $125. 

Signing up for DUI classes = Case Pending, DMV Suspension Started

Once you are eligible for your restricted license you must sign up for a DUI school.  Most DMV classes require that you have either your court paperwork or a DMV H6 printout to enroll in the DUI class. In many cases, your court case will still be pending while your DMV suspension has already started.  If that is the case, you will need to get and H6 printout from DMV because you will not get court paperwork until your case is settled in court.    

SR-22 Requirement

To get your license reinstated after your DMV suspension or after your court conviction you will need to obtain an SR-22.  An SR-22 form is a certificate filed by your car insurance company with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).  To obtain an SR-22, you would contact your car insurance company to inform them of your need for an SR-22 certificate of financial responsibility. The costs of an SR22 vary by insurance company.  The costs of filing the certificate itself from your insurance company should be between $25 and $50.      

DUI school Required   

If you are convicted of a 1st offense DUI, you will be required to attend a first offense DUI program.  These range in length from 3, 6, or 9 months depending on your alcohol BAC.  Under 0.15 is the 3 month, 0.15+ is 6 month, and over 0.20+ is the 9-month class.  The costs of the classes are approximately $300 for wet reckless class, $600 for 6-month class, $1200 for 9-month class.  All programs have payment plans.  To sign up for the DUI class you will need your court paperwork or an H6 DMV printout.             

Restricted License COurt Case Over – First Offense

Once you are convicted of a first offense DUI in court, your license will be suspended for a period of 6 months if your BAC was under 0.20 or 10 months if it was over 0.20.  The entire suspension period is restriction eligible.  The DMV will send you a letter telling you the start date and length of your DMV suspension based upon the DMV finding out about your DUI court conviction. 

Restricted license court case over, driving on DMV restricted license

If at the time of your conviction you are driving on a work restricted driver’s license that you obtained during your DMV suspension, you will need to go to DMV to clear the suspension and pay a reissuance fee because your driving privilege will be re-suspended due to the court conviction.  Once the reissuance fee is paid DMV will issue you a new restricted license for the balance of the suspension period.       

Restricted license court case over, DMV Decision Pending

If at the time of your conviction your DMV suspension hasn’t occurred, all you need to do is to go down to DMV and show proof of an SR-22 and enrollment in a DUI class and DMV will issue you a restricted driver’s license for the balance of the court suspension period.  If after you receive your restricted license, your DMV suspension period is triggered, you will have your license re-suspended and you must wait 30 days from the start for the DMV suspension to reapply for another restricted license.  That is why it is important to have your DMV hearing concluded before your court suspension starts.    

Restricted License Court Case Over – 2nd/3rd Offense

If you are convicted of a 2nd or 3rd offense DUI and you were not on DUI probation when you picked up the current offense, you are eligible for reinstatement of your driving privilege with installation of an IID in your vehicle.  On a 2nd offense you must wait 90 days and on a 3rd offense you must wait 180 days from the date of conviction.  Once the 90 or 180 days have run you would go to DMV for reinstatement of your diving privilege for the remaining period of the court suspension period.  On a 2nd offense its 2 years on a 3rd offense 3 years.  You will need to show DMV your SR-22, proof of enrollment in an 18 month DUI class, and proof of installation of an IID. 

Ignition Interlock Requirement – 2nd Offense

If you are convicted of a second offense, you will be required to install an ignition interlock in your vehicle for a period of 1 year.  This device will not let you start or continue to operate your vehicle if you have alcohol in your system.  The cost of the IID varies between IID providers but it is approximately $70 to install and $60 a month.  Shop it for the best price.          

Second/third Offense DUI school

If you are convicted of a 2nd or 3rd offense DUI, you will be required to attend an 18 month DUI program which costs approximately $1800.  All programs have payment plans.  To sign up for the DUI class you will need your court paperwork or an H6 DMV printout.             

Signing up for DUI classses = Court Case Over   

Most DMV classes require either your court paperwork or a DMV H6 printout to enroll in the DUI class.  If your case is settled in court, you should have received a DUI class referral from the court.  That referral is used to sign up for the DUI class and will contain the length of the DUI class you have been ordered to take.    

We can get you a restricted license, contact our office today for a free same day consultation

Because you have so much to lose, you need the most experienced and aggressive DUI Defense attorneys on your side.  Whether it’s defending you in trial or negotiating for dismissal, you can count on us.  Call our office today at (916) 939-3900 or (530) 621-1800 to speak directly to an attorney about obtaining a restricted license.  We are open 24/7/365 to answer your questions.