Dmv restricted license
How to Get Your License Back After a DUI in California

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As an Orange County DUI Attorney, I get many questions about people getting a California Restricted License (CA Restricted License). For a first time California DUI your driving privilege/license will face automatic suspension within 30 days after your dui arrest unless you request an administrative hearing or limited driving privileges.

There are a few exceptions but as long as you meet these qualifications you should be abck on the road.

People who lose have their license suspension due to a DUI will need a supplemental form of insurance for the purpose of getting a restricted license and reinstating their driving privileges.

There are several paths you can go. This page will go over the instructions (does not apply to a people with commercial driving privileges) needed for a driver license on a first DUI. There are documents you will need for the application process.

Table of Contents

California Restricted License –
On First DUI with No Refusal

Option 1 (No need to wait out the suspension period)

  • Immediately Get an IID Device
  • Get an SR 22 ( proof of financial responsibility) to be sent in electroniclly to the department of motor vehicles
  • Be enrolled in a DUI Class (This is like traffic school for DUI). You can also use your enrollment in class for your criminal charges as well. Some driving schools will want your driving record printout. This is called an H6. You can get this at the DMV online.
  • Pay a License Fee of $125.00

Option 2 (Waiting and given a limited driving priviliges. Conditions include only going to work and treatment program.

  • Wait out your first 30 days of suspension (hard suspension period)
  • Use a Date Calculator like the one below to easily calculate your eligibility date.
  • Be enrolled in a DUI Class for your alcohol related offense
  • Pay a Restrcited License fee of $125.00
restricted license arreted clear

How to Obtain a Restricted License in California

3 Things You Need to Know.

California Restricted License for a 1st are not hard to get.  Teh qualifications are not hard to get, but they are time consuming and there a few limitations. Generally if this is yoru first DUI with no refusal then you should be able to get one. If you had prior convictions or refused to complete a blood test, urine, or breath test, you will hav to jump thru additional hoops. 

If you have a a CA commercial driver’s license then it is a more difficult scenario. You cannot apply for a restricted license with the commercial driver’s license and should consult an attorney.

In addition, if you were under age of 21 at the time of offense, then you may not apply for a California Restricted License, unless you need the license for a critical reason. 

Know Whther you Want an IID Device in Your Car.  

Knowing if you want one or Dictate if You go Option 1 or Option 2. 

Not everyone will want to go the restricted license route because they do not want to put up with the troubles. There are many people who will want to sit out the suspensions.

Also, applying for a restricted license is not required, this is optional. For the first DUI offense, if you choose not to go to DMV hearing or lose a hearing, your driver’s license will be suspended for 120 days.

 However, there are more people who willing to get it then not. For people who want to get one for their first DUI, you need to know whethe you want to go with the IID route of Non IID Route.  

This is assuming you did not do the DMV admin hearing and had your driving privilege suspended. Sometimes people do the administrative hearing and the hearing officer suspends the license because the chemical test is over .08. Thus they still lose the DMV hearing and end up with documents saying you are suspended for 6 month, but you can shorten it if you want. 

When this happens, a person must serve the 30 days hard suspension or get an iid restricted license before he or she can get back on the road.

Be Familiar with the Advantages and Disvantages of Restricted License 

There are some pros and cons to this method. The pros are that a person will be able to drive to and from work and to alcohol classes with the California Restricted License. The cons are that a person will have to register with an alcohol school (Dui offender program)and get an SR 22 form. There are many providers for SR-22 out there.

Be Aware of Shady Insurance Agents

As a DUI Attorney, in regards to a California Restricted License, it is advisable to go to one who knows what they are doing. The good ones regularly deal with people who have DUI and they are able to get really good rates for people. The other con for this is that a person has to register for the AB 541 class.

8 stages DUI Journey scaled 1

For a non refusal 1st time DUI, a person can get their license by enrolling a 3 month (AB541) class.

Book a Free Consultation For Your Case with a DUI Attorney in Orange County Now!

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How to Receive a Restricted Driver’s License After a DUI w IID Route Option 1

In a first time California DUI conviction for the purpose of a California Restricted License there are a few things you need before you get back on the road. Below is the IID Route which lets you drive everywhere you want. 

Proof of insurance or SR22

This is proof of insurance.  You can get this from your own insurance or go with a vendor who deals with SR-22. However,  it is advisable to not get it too early as youwould be needing it. The best time to get it is a few weeks before your DMV hearing. Otherwise you will be paying for nothing.  

Proof of enrollment in DUI program

Depending on your sitaution, you can enroll right away or wait until you need the license. The one thing to be aware of is that  it does take a few days to enroll and a afew more days for the class to send the proof of enrollment to California DMV. With that in mind it is advisable to go a few weeks early. 

Go to DMV and apply for a restricted license, pay the restricted license fee which costs $125

This step is sel explanatory. Just don’t do anything silly or drive unlicensed to the DMV and get caught. 

Ignition Interlocking Device 

What is an IID and How does it Relate to My DUI 

Ignition Interlocking Device (IID) is a system that can be installed in your car in when you want a California Restricted License. Ignition Interlocking Device acts as mini breathalyzer that’s installed on the drivers side in the steering column. If the judge told you to get an IID then it must be professionally installed in every vehicle you own or drive.You may be subject to installing one of these devices in your car if you were involved with your first DUI situation or if you refused to give a breath or blood test.

How does an IID Work When I Drive? 

How the device works is that to start the car, you must not have any alcohol in your system. After you star the car, the system will periodically ask you for breath test samples. The first time will be after 15 minutes after you start driving, then ever 45 minutes after. You have a period of 6 minutes to deliver a sample. If you fail to do so, or you did not pass, the car will not stop.  The system cannot distinguish from different types of alcohols. If you used mouthwash then it will read it as alcohol. However you can re-test and try to fix it since alcohol like those disappears quickly. The Ignition Interlocking Device takes records of tampering, engine start ups and stops, and breath test logs. 

Stays on Your Car for Several Months

First time DUI offenses can make you keep the IID for 5 months for DMV. However, this can be longer if the court case resolves later and triggers another suspension.  If there were any injuries then you may have to keep it for a year. Installation of ignition interlocking device can range from around $75 to $100, but some people will say it’s worth it because it gets them the California Restricted License. Maintenance and calibration may also be needed for the IID. If you are not able to afford it then you may only need to pay a portion of it.

How to Receive a Restricted Driver’s License After a DUI w NO IID Route Option 2

After the 30 days of suspension, you can apply for a California Restricted License with No IID. A California Restricted License allows you to drive from home to work, DUI program, or school and vice versa. In order to get a California Restricted License, you need to provide the following.

Same Requirements as Option 1 but No IID

Everything is the same as teh steps above. 

Wait 30 days of No Driving.  

This is the only thing different from this route from teh IID one. 

Caveat About this Route

There is one con to this. If you get suspened in court late then the DMV will only count the one month as a suspension. They will not count the 5 months of restricted license. This is something to seriously consider when dealing with your case. I often see people who have their DMV resolved quickly but they had to wait for the court because the court was slow. As a result of this, they have to continue doing their suspension over again.

Restrict License Limitations 

If you chose to get a restricted license with no IID then there are limitations that you have put up with. You are only limited to driving to and from work and your DUI Classes and back. Below is deeper explanation as to what you can and can’t do. 

Classes Means DUI School Only  

The only school you are allowed to go is the DUI school.

Most Common way People Get in Trouble 

The most common way people get in trouble and get a California Restricted License Violation is when they are going to regular school. IE College. They misunderstand the the school and tell the police officer that they are you going to OCC or Cypress.

Be Creative and Get a Job On Campus to Get Around the Restricted License Limiations. 

DUI school means DUI school and not college. However this does not mean that you can’t be creative with your restrictive license. I have many students who have taken jobs on campus. 

If you have a job on campus at work then you are technically at work while you are going to school and you are in compliance with the terms of your restricted license. Thus if you are pulled over when leaving campus at night then you can avoid a California Restricted License Violation by saying that you are coming back from work.

A Restricted License Does Not Give you the Privilege to Drive To Court. 

Orange County Courts have been known to have sting operations for people who are not driving with a valid license. They place officers outside to look for people who should not be driving. When you are at court, an officer observes that you are not allowed to be at court and follows you out. If he stops you, then you will be subjected to a charge of driving outside of your license. 

What happens if I’m caught driving in violation of a restricted license?

If Caught Driving During the 30 Day Suspension or Outside the Scope of Your Restricted License You May Be Subjected to Jailtime.If you are caught driving outside the scope of your license then you are facing a misdeameanor charge. This new misdeameanor charge will be a 14601.2 which is a driving on a suspended license while on a DUI.  A driving on a suspneded on a DUI in Califonia carries with it a 10 day minimum in Jail, but jail time can be done with Caltrans. There are ways around this if you are caught driving. It’s important you consult with an attorney immediately if caught driving to control the damage and fight the charge. 

Enforcement is stricter around Night Areas with Clubs

Another thing to keep in mind is that the enforcement and motivation by law enforcement to tag people for a Restricted License Violation are not as high as a DUI. An officer may choose not to pursue an investigation if it appears you are on your way to or from work. This is why lots of officers will ask where you are going immediately after pulling you over. However, the chances of a California Restricted License Violation is much higher if you are pulled over by the beach with a surfboard on your roof and a car full of friends. Some things are too hard to explain away.

It doesn’t happen very much, but it does happen. A person needs to be smart about a California Restricted License Violation and know where they are going. It’s important that you know what to say to a police officer when you get pulled over, especially when you have a restricted license.

If Caught Driving During the 30 Day Suspension or Outside the Scope of Your Restricted License You May Be Subjected to Jailtime.

Book a Free Consultation For Your Case with a DUI Attorney in Orange County Now!

The case case continues on despite the DMV ending. Fight your Case in Court 

Law Office of Hieu Vu

About Me

“To the client, every angle is important, there’s a number of questions, and each person also have their own worries. Some will need a person to listen to them. At the end of the day, it’s more than just delivering legal results. I put a 110% into every person I work. I strive to make sure everyone knows what is going on and is kept in the loop as the case goes on. The practice of law is more than just getting the results in court.” -Hieu Vu