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Restricted Drivers License Option May Be Beneficial for Some Drivers Accused of DUI

A provision within California law allows drivers accused of DUI to receive a restricted drivers license which may offer these drivers the key to maintaining some normalcy in their lives and, perhaps more importantly, save their jobs. A DUI arrest can create massive upheaval in the lives of the arrested driver and his or her family. In addition to the stress of a possible court procedure and criminal punishment, there is also the collateral impairments that result from the DUI law’s automatic driver’s license suspension or revocation. The lack of a driver’s license may prevent that person from fully caring for a child, partner or parent and, perhaps more likely, could cost the driver their job if they cannot make other provisions to attend work.

Restricted Drivers License Eligibility

In order to be eligible for a restricted driver’s license, you must meet several criteria. First, the charge you’re facing must be your first DUI offense. The term “first offense” applies even if your current offense is not the first in your lifetime, if it is your first within the last decade. According to the state DMV, the offenses included within this “first offense” concept include, in addition to DUI, other DUI-related charges, such as vehicular manslaughter or wet reckless. In addition to being the driver’s first offense, the driver must not have refused a chemical BAC test, the driver must be at least 21, and must not have had his/her driving privileges suspended or revoked for another reason.

Once you clear the eligibility hurdles, you have several more steps to obtain your restricted license. You must enroll in an approved “DUI First Offender” program. Once you select a program, be sure to tell the provider that you’re applying for a restricted drivers license and ask them to file a “Proof of Enrollment Certificate” (form DL 107) with the DMV. Additionally, you need to submit what’s called “proof of financial responsibility.” This can take many forms, including a California Insurance Proof Certificate, a cash deposit of $35,000, a surety bond (in the same amount,) or self insurer certificate. Having submitted those, you must also pay a license reissue fee of $125 and wait 30 days, which is the mandatory suspension period. Your restricted drivers license will allow you only to drive to/from work, and to/from your DUI classes.

All of these rules apply only to non-commercial driver’s licenses. For people who hold a commercial driver’s license, the penalties are more severe. The law requires you to downgrade your license to a Class C non-commercial license, then follow the procedures for all other non-commercial restricted license applicants. If you were behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle when the police arrested you, your restricted drivers license will only allow you to drive to/from your DUI program.

While the law does afford some options to allow drivers facing a first DUI offense to keep some driving privileges, the rules are still very restrictive and harmful on one’s ability to make a living. A wise move, if you are facing a DUI charge would be to immediately consult with an attorney who understands California’s DUI laws and the local courts in Sonoma County, Mendocino County and Lake County California. Our experienced Sonoma County DUI attorneys know how to defend drivers accused of DUI, and give them the best result possible in an attempt to ensure they can maintain their economic independence.

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