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Christoph Law Offices, DUI & Criminal Defense
Christoph Law Offices, DUI & Criminal Defense


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Attorneys William R. Christoph & Nicholas W. Christoph

California Admin Per Se DUI License Suspension: The “PINK SHEET” Suspension

by | Jun 4, 2023

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense that poses a significant risk to public safety. In an effort to deter drunk driving and protect the community, the state of California has implemented strict laws and penalties for individuals caught driving under the influence. One such penalty is the administrative per se (APS) license suspension, which is imposed independently of any criminal charges.   This is the “pink sheet” Notice of Suspension and Temporary License you are given when arrested for DUI in most cases.

Understanding Admin Per Se (APS) DUI License Suspension

Admin per se, derived from Latin, means “by itself” or “inherently.” In the context of DUI offenses, admin per se refers to the automatic suspension of a driver’s license based on their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) alone, without needing a criminal conviction. This administrative action is distinct from the criminal proceedings that follow a DUI arrest and may result in additional penalties.

California’s admin per se law, also known as the “DUI DMV Hearing,” grants the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) the authority to suspend the driving privileges of individuals who exceed the legal BAC limit or refuse to submit to a chemical test when arrested for DUI.

BAC Limits and License Suspension Periods

In California, the legal BAC limits are as follows:

  1. 0.08% or higher for drivers aged 21 and older.
  2. 0.04% or higher for drivers operating commercial vehicles.
  3. 0.01% or higher for drivers under the age of 21 (Zero Tolerance law).

The length of the admin per se license suspension depends on various factors, including prior DUI offenses within the past 10 years. The suspension periods are as follows:

  1. First offense: 4-month suspension.
  2. Second offense within 10 years: 1-year suspension.
  3. Third offense within 10 years: 3-year suspension.
  4. Refusal to submit to a chemical test 1st offense: 1-year suspension (No restriction available).

Note that these suspension periods are subject to change and may vary based on individual circumstances.

The Admin Per Se Process

Once arrested for DUI in California, two separate actions are triggered: the criminal court case and the admin per se license suspension.

  1. The DMV Hearing: Within ten days of the DUI arrest, the driver must request a DMV hearing to challenge the admin per se license suspension.  Failure to request a hearing within this period will result in an automatic suspension 30 days from the day of arrest. The hearing provides an opportunity to present evidence and contest the suspension and also allows any proposed suspension to be held off pending the DMV Hearing.  Hearings are telephonic at this time.
  2. Hearing Outcome: If the hearing officer determines that the suspension is justified, the license will be suspended accordingly. However, if the driver wins the hearing, their license will not be suspended.
  3. Restricted License:   Individuals may be eligible for a restricted driver’s license during the suspension period if certain requirements are met, like enrolled in the DMV approved DUI program, SR 22 Proof of insurance and payment of a reissue fee. This restricted license allows the person to drive under specific conditions, such as driving to and from work or even drive anywhere anytime with an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on your vehicle.

Consequences and Options

The admin per se license suspension can have significant consequences for individuals convicted of DUI. Apart from the loss of driving privileges, the following implications should be considered:

  1. Criminal Penalties: Admin per se license suspension is separate from the criminal penalties imposed by the court. These penalties may include fines, probation, mandatory DUI education programs, community service, or even jail time.
  2. Insurance Implications: A DUI conviction and the resulting license suspension may lead to increased insurance premiums or even policy cancellation. Reinstating insurance coverage after a DUI conviction can be challenging and expensive.
  3. Ignition Interlock Device (IID): In some cases, individuals may be required to install an IID in their vehicle upon license reinstatement. This device measures BAC before allowing the ignition to start.

It is essential to consult with an experienced DUI attorney if you face an admin per se license suspension. They can guide you through the legal process, represent your interests, and explore possible options for reducing or mitigating the consequences.

California’s admin per se DUI license suspension designed to deter drunk driving and ensure public safety. It is crucial for individuals to understand the consequences of exceeding the legal BAC limit or refusing a chemical test.  By adhering to responsible driving practices and making informed decisions, we can avoid these suspensions and have safer roads and communities, minimizing the risk of DUI-related incidents.



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