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Being charged with drunk driving may feel like the end point of a situation, but it is actually the beginning of a much longer process. Following a DUI arrest, a defendant may be faced with any number of situations in which he or she may have to make important decisions. It is very helpful for defendants to understand the nature of the process before making any of those decisions.
In California, a police officer will send a copy of a notice of revocation or suspension to the Department of Motor Vehicles — the DMV — after making a DUI arrest. The driver’s confiscated license will also be sent. At that point, the DMV will conduct an administrative review to decide whether the revocation or suspension should be upheld. If it is upheld the driver will receive a notice. He or she then has 10 days to request an administrative review that could possibly return the suspended or revoked driving privileges.
If convicted, drivers will usually lose driving privileges for a specified period of time. A first-time offender who was 21 or older at the time of his or her arrest and who submitted to chemical testing can lose those privileges for four months. A defendant of the same age who refused chemical testing at the time of his or her arrest will lose driving privileges for at least one year following a first-time offense.
Even decisions made during a traffic stop — such as submitting to or refusing chemical testing — can affect the outcome of a person’s DUI case. Because of this, it is important that a defendant familiarize him or herself with the criminal process regarding drunk driving in California. Since DUI charges typically proceed much quicker than other criminal charges, a knowledgeable attorney can help explain any areas of confusion or concern.