First off, if you are stopped by law enforcement and they have probable cause to believe you are driving while under the influence of alcohol with a .08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or higher, they will give you an “Administrative Per Se Suspension/Revocation Order and Temporary Driver License” form. This document allows you to drive with all your normal privileges like your original driver’s license for thirty days after the date of your arrest. After the thirty days, your license will automatically be suspended unless you contact the DMV within ten days after the date of arrest to request a hearing to challenge the automatic suspension.
If you fail to request a hearing or you lose the hearing, the DMV will suspend your driving privileges for four months. However, after thirty days into the suspension, you can apply for a restricted driver’s license. This restricted license will allow you to drive to, from, and during the course of your employment, and to and from any DUI programs, and will last five months.
In order to get this restriction, you will need to register for a First Conviction Program (FCP), pay a $125 reissuance fee, and file proof of financial responsibility (SR-22 form).
If you plead guilty to drunk driving in court or you are convicted after a trial, the court will suspend your driving privileges for six months and order you to complete the FCP.
If your BAC was below .20%, you will be ordered to complete a three month FCP. If your BAC was .20% or greater or you refused to take a chemical test after a lawful arrest, the court will order you to complete the nine month First Conviction Program. (Note: The nine month FCP will be discussed in a later blog.)
In order to comply with the court ordered program, you must attend a court approved First Conviction Program. These can be found on the San Diego Court’s website. The three month course costs $477.00 and includes:
- Six education classes, 1 class per week, 2 hours per class;
- Twelve counseling groups, 1 session per week, 1.5 hours per session;
- Three face-to-face interviews, 1 per month, 20 minutes per interview; and,
- Three self-help meetings, 1 per month.
You can enroll using the DMV paperwork or the court referral form. However, you want to make sure you enroll in the right program.
The most confusing issues for DUI defendants revolve around the interaction between the DMV and the court consequences and the defendant’s driving privileges. For the most up to date information and to discuss your specific facts and issues, contact a criminal defense attorney in your area that exclusively deals with drunk driving matters.