In 1990, a law was passed in California that made it possible for law enforcement authorities to immediately suspend the license of any person caught driving under the influence. This law, known as Administrative Per Se (APS), was implemented as a means to address and combat the state’s 1,500 annual crash-related deaths in which alcohol was a factor.
The law is only applicable to drivers 21 years and older. If you are charged with a DUI under the legal drinking age, California has a zero-tolerance policy, meaning that regardless of whether your blood alcohol level (BAC) is above the legal limit, if there is any alcohol detected in your system whatsoever, you will be guilty of underage drinking and driving. This results in a one-year license suspension—again, regardless of whether your BAC was below the legal limit. If you are found guilty of DUI as an underage drinker and have at least the legal limit of alcohol in your system (.08 percent or more), you may also be subject to:
- At least a $100 fine;
- Possible jail time;
- Three to five years of probation; and/or
- Mandatory DUI driver’s school.
The punishments are stricter because an underage person charged with DUI can actually be charged under three different laws, dependent upon the level of BAC. The greater the severity of the violation, the greater the applicable punishment.
APS Law Applied
Underage drinking aside, just what does the APS law mean? California is an implied consent law state, meaning that anyone who gets behind the wheel agrees to submit to chemical testing if asked to do so by law enforcement. Because of this, everyone must submit to a blood test if pulled over and asked to do so—unless it can be proven that the person is a hemophiliac or taking anticoagulant medication, in which case the person will be required to take a urine test. Refusing to take either test can be treated as an admission of guilt.
Whether the test is refused or failed, the next step will be the actual revocation of the license. In such an instance, officers send the actual license to the state DMV to be destroyed. At this time, the arresting officer will issue an Order of Suspension / Revocation. A person will be issued a temporary driver’s license valid for only 30 days from issue—presumably so that a person may make other arrangements for transportation to and from work, for example, once the 30-day period of the temporary license has passed. If the officer does not have a temporary license or an Order of Suspension on him 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.
If you or someone you know has been charged with DUI and has questions about your rights, the most important step is to seek legal counsel. Do not go through it alone. Contact an experienced San Jose criminal defense attorney today.