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DUI Temporary Suspension of License

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What Happens to My License If I Am Stopped for Drunk Driving?

A driver can temporarily lose his license even before he is convicted of drunk driving.  Administrative License Revocation or Suspension (ALR/ALS) laws passed in most of the states permit an arresting officer to seize the license of drivers who fail or refuse to take a breath test.  Under these laws the license is automatically revoked or suspended.  This penalty is completely separate from any criminal penalties against the driver.

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

The period of suspension or revocation will vary from state to state:

California

  • Refused to take a blood or urine test:
    * First offense: Suspended for 1 year
    * Two or more offenses: Suspended for 2 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: 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 6 months
    * Subsequent offenses: Suspended for 12 months
  • Failed blood or urine test (blood alcohol level of 0.08% or greater):
    * First offense: Suspended for 3 months
    * Subsequent offenses: 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 6 months
    * Second offense: Revoked for minimum 1 year

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 criminal defense lawyer immediately to learn more about your rights, your defenses and the complicated legal system. 

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 12-31-2014 10:15 AM PST

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