At the beginning of 2022, the law regarding DUI diversion changed. DUIs are no longer eligible for diversion in California. Please contact our office with any questions. Email us at OR Call us at: (415) 523-7878

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What Happens If The Officer Confiscates Your Driver’s License?

In California, which includes the San Francisco Bay Area, your driver’s license is taken away immediately, and you will be given a pink sheet of paper, which is your new license and is good for 30 days. Once a hearing has been requested with the DMV, which needs to be within 10 days of arrest, the DMV will send you a white piece of paper, which is a temporary license that replaces the pink one. This should be good until the DMV hearing, and only if you lose your hearing will it be suspended. When you get that white piece of paper after your attorney has requested the DMV hearing, you will get a new temporary license, which you should be able to take to the DMV.

For whatever reason, the San Francisco DMV will not do this for you, but most other DMVs will, which will give you the ability to apply for a new hard copy license. This is what it says on the bottom of the white temporary license that you receive once a hearing has been requested. You don’t have to go walking around for months with just a pink or white piece of paper. You can also go into the DMV and request an identification card anytime you want; obviously, you can’t drive with it, but it does work when it comes to purchases, travel and employment.

Can Someone Actually Win At A DMV Hearing?

Yes. It is not uncommon to win a DMV hearing, especially if DUIs are 100% of your attorney’s caseload. Another factor is to request a hearing, even if it’s beyond the 10-day period, because sometimes they are allowable and are so worth it. Remember that in the DMV hearing, if they can’t conclusively prove their case against you, then you may be able to win the hearing.

If you can win the hearing and have success in court as well, you may not lose your license. This could save you many thousands of dollars. If you can win a DMV hearing and then save your license, you may not need to get additional insurance, which gets very expensive. It is always best to request a DMV hearing, which is called an admin per se hearing. There are some cases where the hearing is requested by your lawyer, and you’re allowed to keep driving. There may be a continuation of the hearing a number of times while the court case is going on. This means, instead of losing your license right away, you may be able to keep driving to work or whatever you need to do in the next five or six months, which is a big deal for some people.

If you drive for Lyft or Uber and if you will lose your license down the road, you’ve got several months’ reprieve where you can still work while finding time to look for a new type of job before your license is suspended. This is one of the reasons why getting a DUI is life-changing since when you work for one of these companies, once you get convicted and suspended and they find out about it, you’re out of a job.

Does The Outcome Of A DMV Hearing Have Any Bearing Upon The Criminal Aspect Of A DUI Case?

The answer is typically no, but it can modify negotiations in a criminal case. Every criminal case is different; but if you win a DMV hearing, “wet” (alcohol-related) reckless driving may be a lot more valuable than it would be if you lost the DMV hearing because, if you can get a wet reckless driving in court after winning the DMV hearing, then you do not need the extra insurance or the SR-22 policy rider. You can take the 12-hour DUI School instead of the 32-hour course. This makes a wet reckless a lot more cost-effective.

Otherwise, a wet reckless is not as effective if you don’t win the DMV hearing because you will need to do the 32-hour school for DMV purposes, if you want to get a restricted license, since the DMV is going to suspend you for four months and there will be an administrative hearing, which is just not helpful, to say the least.

What Are The Penalties For A Refusal Of Chemical Testing In A DUI Case?

On a first-offense DUI, the penalty for refusing a chemical test is one year of no driving. This is after you’ve been arrested, which doesn’t include the preliminary blow into the handheld machine before they’ve arrested you; rather, this is once the officer tells you’re under arrest and you’re given the choice of a breath or a blood test. If you refuse to do both of those, then you’re looking at one year of no driving; in most cases, after you’ve refused, they may give you a couple of more chances and try to explain why you shouldn’t refuse, but one refusal is all it takes.

After you have refused and they have said this is a refusal, then they can still do a forced blood draw; they will get a warrant from a judge, and the refusal will give you a full year of no driving instead of potentially one month followed by a restricted license for a number of months.

For more information on Confiscation Of Driver’s License, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (415) 523-7878 today.

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Aaron Bortel
With 30 years of specialized experience in DUI defense, Attorney Aaron Bortel is a dedicated advocate for those facing DUI charges in the Bay Area. Committed to helping clients avoid jail, save their driver’s licenses and jobs, and prevent permanent criminal records, he combines deep legal expertise with genuine care for his client's welfare. Trust in a lawyer who not only defends but truly supports you through challenging times.

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