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Sonoma County Driver's License Reinstatement Attorney

Santa Rosa Driver's License Suspension Lawyer

How to Keep Your Driver's License after a Drunk Driving Arrest in Santa Rosa

After a DUI arrest in Sonoma County, the officer confiscates your California driver's license (if you have one) and gives you a notice stating that your license will be suspended by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in 30 days. The DMV administrative per se (APS) suspension process occurs independent of your criminal case. If you are an out-of-state resident, the DMV suspends your California driving privileges after 30 days and notifies the DMV in your home state, which could lead to further legal ramifications at home.

For motorists arrested for drunk driving, losing their driving privileges can be far more than just a minor inconvenience. Many people depend on their driver's license to get to and from work or school, take their children to daycare, and keep other important commitments. For those who drive a commercial vehicle, a driver's license suspension or revocation can mean the loss of their livelihood.

It is possible to keep your driver's license after a drunk driving arrest in Sonoma County, but it is not easy. The first step is to request an administrative DMV hearing to challenge your suspension. You have just 10 days from the date on the notice to request a hearing, and this is usually your only opportunity to prevent a driver's license suspension from taking effect. You also need to work with a DUI attorney who has a successful track record at DMV administrative hearings. This is a highly nuanced area of the law that very few lawyers get into.

The Santa Rosa DMV Administrative Proceeding

The administrative per se (APS) suspension of your driving privileges through the California DMV is a separate proceeding from the criminal case in Sonoma County Superior Court. Thirty (30) days after the notice is given, the suspension goes into effect. The length of your driver's license suspension varies depending on the circumstances of the case.

For first-time offenders, the suspension period is usually four months. If you have multiple DUI offenses, the suspension/revocation period can be up to three years. Under California's "Implied Consent" law, refusal to take the mandatory chemical test at the time of your arrest can trigger an automatic suspension for one year for a first offense, two years for a second offense, and three years for a third offense.

Requesting an administrative hearing at the DMV in Santa Rosa can delay your suspension until your hearing date, giving you time to potentially resolve your criminal case in your favor. At your DMV hearing, you need to be prepared to show the hearing officer that there were insufficient legal grounds to detain or arrest you for DUI. Some possible reasons for being unlawfully arrested or detained include:

  • You were not actually driving the vehicle;
  • The officer lacked probable cause to pull you over;
  • You were not lawfully arrested; or
  • Your blood alcohol content (BAC) level was below .08 or below .01 if you are under age 21.

Speak with an Experienced Santa Rosa Driver's License Reinstatement Lawyer

For over 30 years, attorney Paul Burglin has helped clients in Sonoma County and throughout the Bay Area who have faced driver's license suspensions and other legal consequences for DUI. Attorney Burglin is one of only five lawyers in the state who are Board-Certified by the National College of DUI Defense as approved by the American Bar Association, and he has extensive experience successfully challenging DMV suspensions. His in-depth knowledge of this area of the law and successful track record are major reasons he is frequently sought out by DMV hearing officers when one of their own family members or friends is in legal trouble for DUI.

If you need help keeping your driver's license after a drunk driving arrest, contact our office today at 707-320-4007 for a discreet and confidential consultation with attorney Paul Burglin. We serve clients arrested in Santa Rosa, as well as the cities, towns, and unincorporated areas of Sonoma County.

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