When you are stopped for driving under the influence, the arresting officer in most circumstances is permitted to seize the license of drivers who fail or refuse to take a breath test. This constitutes an automatic suspension of the driver’s license. The driver will then be issued a notice of driver license suspension and the DMV will conduct an administrative review of the suspension order, examining the officer’s report and any available test results.

If the suspension is upheld by the DMV, you may request a hearing to contest the suspension within 10 days of receiving the suspension order. Any suspension handed down by the DMV is separate from any criminal penalties against the driver.

How Long Will My License Be Suspended or Revoked under the ALR/ALS Laws?

Generally, your driver’s license will be returned to you at the end of the suspension period provided you pay a reissuance fee and file proof of financial responsibility. The period of suspension or revocation will vary from state to state but a few examples include:

California

  • Refused to take a blood or urine test:
    • First offense: Suspended for 1 year.
    • Second offense: Suspended for 2 years.
    • Third offense or more within 10 years: Suspended for 3 years.
  • Failed blood or urine test (blood alcohol level of 0.08% or greater):
    • First offense: Suspended for 4 months, eligible for a restricted license after 1 month.
    • Two or more offenses within a 10 year period: Suspended for 1 year.

Florida

  • Refused to take a blood or urine test:
    • First offense: Suspended for 1 year, eligible for a hardship license after 90 days.
    • Two or more offenses: Suspended for 18 months, eligible for a hardship license after 90 days if only second offense.
  • Failed the blood or urine test (blood alcohol level of 0.08% or greater):
    • First offense: Suspended for 6 months.
    • Two or more offenses: Suspended for 1 year.

Illinois

  • Refused to take a blood or urine test:
    • First offense: Suspended for 12 months (eligible for a monitoring device driving permit).
    • Subsequent offenses within 5 years: Suspended for 3 years.
  • Failed blood or urine test (blood alcohol level of 0.08% or greater):
    • First offense: Suspended for 6 months (eligible for a monitoring device driving permit).
    • Subsequent offenses within 5 years: Suspended for 12 months.

New York

  • Refused to take a blood or urine test or failed the test (0.08% or greater):
    • First offense: Revoked for minimum 1 year
    • Second offense: Revoked for minimum 1 year
  • Failed blood or urine test (blood alcohol level of 0.08% or greater):
    • First offense: Suspended for 6 months
    • Subsequent offenses within 10 years: 1 year revocation

Texas

  • Refused to take a blood or urine test:
    • First offense: Suspended for 180 days
    • Two or more offenses within 10 years: Suspended for 2 years
  • Failed blood or urine test (blood alcohol level of 0.08% or greater):
    • First offense: Suspended for 90 days
    • Two or more offenses: Suspended for 1 year

Does the Administrative Suspension on My License Start Immediately?

Most states will issue you a temporary driver’s permit so that you can continue to drive before the suspension period begins:

  • California: 30 days
  • Florida: 30 days
  • Illinois: 45 days
  • New York: Immediately revoked
  • Texas: 40 days

Can I Fight the Administrative Suspension or Revocation?

Some states will allow you a very limited time within which you can request a hearing to stop the automatic license suspension, but others will not:

  • California: 10 days to request a hearing to stop the automatic license suspension
  • Florida: 10 days to request a hearing to stop the automatic license suspension
  • Illinois: First time offenders have 45 days to request a restricted driving permit (Judicial Driving Permit) to allow you to drive during the period suspension
  • New York: License automatically revoked until the prosecution of criminal DUI / DWI case is completed
  • Texas: 15 days to request a hearing to stop the automatic suspension

What Should I Do If I'm Arrested for Drunk Driving?

If you are arrested for Drunk Driving DUI /DWI, you should speak to a local criminal lawyer immediately to learn more about your rights, possible defenses, and the dui court procedure. A criminal lawyer can file pretrial motions to exclude evidence, depose the arresting officer, negotiate with the prosecutor, and represent your interests in court.