Understanding The Administrative Per Se Law For DUI In California

young female driver being pulled over by cop

In 1990, California passed a law that made it possible for authorities to immediately suspend the license of any person caught driving under the influence. This law, known as Administrative Per Se (APS), was implemented to combat drunk driving. Below, our San Jose DUI lawyer explains administrative per se law in California.

Who Does the Administrative Per Se Law in California Affect?

The California APS law applies to drivers 21 years of age and older. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the APS law applies to motorists who:

  • Take a chemical test that shows a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of:
    • 0.01% while on DUI probation
    • 0.04% while driving a commercial vehicle
    • 0.08% or more while driving a noncommercial vehicle
  • Refuse to take or fail to complete a chemical test

The law does not apply to drivers under 21, because California has a zero-tolerance policy for underage DUIs. Drivers under the age of 21 who have any alcohol in their system automatically get their license suspended for one year.

What Does California’s APS Law Mean?

California’s APS law calls for the automatic suspension or revocation of an individual’s driver’s license if lawfully arrested for DUI.

California is an implied consent law state. This means that anyone who gets behind the wheel agrees to submit to chemical testing if asked by law enforcement. Chemical testing may include a breath and/or blood test. Exceptions do apply. For example, hemophiliacs or people taking anticoagulant medication do not have to take a blood test. Instead, these people may take a urine test. Refusing to take either test may be treated as an admission of guilt.

Whether you refuse the test or fail it, the next step will be the actual suspension or revocation of the license.

What Happens During and After a DUI Arrest in California?

At the time of arrest, the arresting officer may take your driver’s license. In such an instance, officers send the actual license to the California DMV to be destroyed. The arresting officer will issue an Order of Suspension/Revocation. Then, you will get a temporary license that is valid for only 30 days from the issue.

If the arresting officer does not have a temporary license or an Order of Suspension/Revocation on him or her at the time of the charge, the DMV will mail one. If you have any other outstanding DMV or court-imposed action in effect pertaining to your driving privileges at the time of the incident, you will not be eligible to receive a temporary driver’s license.

After your arrest, you have 10 days to contact the California DMV and request a hearing. If you do not request this hearing to defend your driving privileges, you will lose them. During the hearing, you may fight your license suspension.

Contact Our Experienced DUI Lawyer in San Jose About Your DUI Charge

If you have been charged with DUI in San Jose or the Bay Area, the most important step is to seek legal counsel. Do not go through it alone. You must move quickly to defend your driving privileges after a DUI arrest. It is also important to understand that California’s administrative per se law is separate from the criminal penalties of a DUI. An experienced DUI lawyer can defend you and guide you through the process. Call us today at (408) 898-9770 or contact us online and we will be in touch with you soon.

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