Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

Will a DUI cause my California license to be suspended? Can I represent myself in Court or in front of the DMV in a license suspension hearing?

Posted on: June 16, 2007 at 9:57 p.m.

One of the consequences of a DUI arrest is a possible suspended license. Possible does not mean definite, and there are numerous ways to get your driving privilege back sooner than later. Many people ask, "Can I just represent myself on a DUI and with the DMV?" While the Law Blog has a definite bias since it is administered by Los Angeles Criminal Attorneys, the Law Blog retorts "would you perform surgery on yourself?" The U.S. Constitution has been interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court as giving everyone to right to act "pro-per," in other words to represent yourself without an attorney. The Law Blogger was a District Attorney for 10 years, is a law professor, and has been in criminal defense for years. The Law Blog is convinced that pro-pers cannot do nearly as good a job (even if the litigant is a civil attorney who does not have a criminal defense or prosecution background). As a District Attorney, the Law Blog dealt with many pro-pers and saw numerous errors committed by litigants representing themselves. Getting back to license suspension - on a first time DUI, a license is suspended for 120 days. A win at the DMV hearing would prevent a suspension. However, if you are convicted of a first-time DUI in court, the DMV could still pull your privilege to drive. In court, then, the only way to keep your license is to have the DUI charge dismissed all together. If this is not possible, there is a way to get the suspension reduced. You must file an SR-22 with the DMV (ie proof of insurance) and proof of registration in a first-time alcohol program, known as the AB-541. In turn, the DMV will reduce the suspension to 30 days, and return you the privilege to drive with restrictions for 90 days. All this is quite technical and time consuming, especially when you include the continuous legal updates that are taking place in this area of law.

Tagged as: dui drunk driving defense vc 23152, faq


Law Blog on June 19, 2007 at 12:06 a.m. wrote:

A second time DUI conviction carried a 96-hour jail minimum, and a possible license suspension for two years, which could be reduced to one year with appropriate paperwork being submitted to the DMV. A third time DUI carries a 120-day jail minimum, and a possible three-year suspension. Many of the collateral consequences to DUI arrests and related laws are frequently being modified by the California legislature.

Brittany Gibson on June 17, 2007 at 9:59 a.m. wrote:

I think that you lose credibility representing yourself even if you do a great job. When you have somebody else representing you the message seems to be that you have a third party on your side and that you are not the only one that believes in your inocence. Representing yourself to me, is like writing your own letter of recommendation. It makes no sense.

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