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Third-Offense DUI in California

Driver arrested three or more times for a DUI, Drunk Driving, or any other drinking and driving violation within 10 years face serious punishment at the California Department of Motor Vehicles. The DMV will attempt to suspend the driver's license in what is known as an Administrative Per Se (APS) Hearing. An experienced San Francisco DUI criminal defense lawyer can represent the interests of an accused drunk driver at California DMV APS hearing and fight to maintain the individual's driving privileges.

Motorists arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) have only 10 calendar days to request a DMV hearing. If the driver doesn't request an APS hearing during that time frame, the California DMV will automatically begin the process of suspending a driver's license, and no hearing will be granted.

The consequences faced by drivers with multiple DUI arrests depend on whether the motorist submitted to a chemical test. A driver arrested three times for DUI within 10 years who took a chemical test faces a two-year license suspension and the requirement to file formal proof of insurance (an SR-22) with the California DMV for the next three years. The motorist also is required to enroll in alcohol education classes. A restricted license may be available after 18 months that allows travel to work and alcohol education classes. With the help of a California criminal defense attorney with vast experience in DUI and DMV cases, consequences of these hearings may be limited.

Third-offense DUI drivers who refuse to take a chemical test face more serious repercussions. Drivers who refuse a chemical test will endure an additional license suspension of one year for a first refusal, two years for a second refusal, and three years for a third refusal. Drivers who refuse chemical tests cannot obtain a restricted license. The driver will be required to file an SR-22 form with California DMV in order to have reinstated driver's license at the end of the suspension period.

In order to suspend a driver's license after a drunk driving arrest, the California DMV hearing officer must find three facts to be true - that the arresting officer had a reasonable belief that the driver committed a crime, that the arrest was lawful, and that the driver had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or greater while driving. A skilled San Francisco criminal defense attorney from The Law Office of Robert Tayac will aggressively challenge each of these assertions.

The punishment meted out by the California Department of Motor Vehicles is separate from any consequences stemming from a criminal court conviction. The courts no longer have the authority to order driver's license suspensions, but the California DMV will suspend a driver's license for two years upon learning of a third drunk driving conviction within 10 years. This suspension is concurrent with, not in addition to, any California DMV APS hearing suspension. The driver also will be required to attend an 18- to 30 month alcohol education class and install an ignition interlock device.

Motorists with three drunk driving arrests within 10 years risk losing their licenses at the California DMV, but the action may be limited with expert legal help. An experienced California DUI attorney will plan a strategy to aggressively defend a client at both the California DMV and in criminal court, and keep consequences to a minimum.

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