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San Francisco Driver's License Suspension Hearing Lawyer

SF Bay Area Drivers License Hearing Lawyer

How Do I Keep my Driver's License after a Drunk Driving Arrest in the Bay Area?

Being arrested for drunk driving in San Francisco is an anxiety-inducing experience. The fines and penalties are significant, and even first-time offenders may have to spend some time behind bars. For many motorists, the worst consequence for a DUI arrest is the loss of their driving privileges. Without a driver's license, your transportation options are limited, and it can be difficult to travel to and from work, school, daycare, and other important commitments. For commercial vehicle operators, it can also mean the loss of their livelihood.

When you are arrested for drunk driving in San Francisco, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) acts immediately to take away your driving privileges. The length of the suspension or revocation starts at six months for first-time offenders and can go up to several years for multiple DUI offenses, depending on the circumstances of the case. If you refuse to take the mandatory chemical test after your DUI arrest, the suspension period is raised to a minimum of one year for a first offense.

The DMV Administrative Proceeding

The DMV proceeding is separate from the criminal charge you are facing for DUI, and the suspension or revocation automatically goes into effect 30 days from your arrest, regardless of the outcome of the criminal case. This gives you 30 days to get your affairs in order and prepare to be without your driver's license.

For out-of-state residents who are arrested for DUI while in San Francisco on a business or pleasure trip, the process is slightly different. While California does not have the authority to suspend your driver's license in your home state, they can and will suspend your California driving privileges after 30 days. They will also forward the information on any drunk driving conviction to the DMV in your home state, where there will likely be further action to suspend your license.

It is possible to keep your driver's license after a DUI arrest, but you must act quickly. Your best chance to retain your driving privileges is by requesting a DMV administrative hearing to challenge the suspension. You have just 10 days from the time of your arrest to request a hearing with the DMV. If you miss the 10-day window, the suspension or revocation automatically takes effect, and there is usually no further opportunity to challenge it.

Requesting an administrative hearing is almost always in your best interests because, at the very least, it allows you to keep your driving privileges for several additional weeks (or even months) while the hearing is scheduled. This buys you time to potentially get your criminal case favorably resolved, so you can keep your driver's license from being suspended or revoked.

DMV administrative hearings are similar to mini-trials, and if you want to prevail at your hearing, you need to be represented by an attorney who has specific experience successfully challenging driver's license suspensions. Many lawyers use the hearing simply as a delay tactic, but few attorneys have in-depth knowledge of this area of the law and what it takes to ensure that their clients keep their license.

Speak with an Experienced Bay Area Driver's License Reinstatement Attorney

Since 1985, Attorney Paul Burglin has helped thousands of Bay Area clients keep their driver's licenses or at the very least obtain a restricted driving permit after a DUI arrest. Paul Burglin co-authors California Drunk Driving Law, a two-volume treatise with hundreds of innovative and decision-based DUI defenses. Attorney Burglin has filed numerous writs against the DMV for improperly suspending or revoking a driver's license or for unlawfully denying a restricted license, and he has prevailed in a majority of these cases. His depth of knowledge and proven track record are major reasons DMV hearing officers frequently seek him out when someone close to them is facing a driver's license suspension or revocation following a drunk driving arrest.

For a free, confidential consultation with attorney Paul Burglin, contact us today at 415-735-3995. We serve clients throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and surrounding northern California communities.

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