Every state has different penalties, but you could lose your license if you get a DUI. You could get a license suspension for several months or a year in some states.
However, you might be able to contest your license suspension. Many states allow defendants to request a hearing and challenge the suspension. But the laws regarding DUIs and license suspension can prove complex. Therefore, you may want a lawyer on your side as you navigate the legal process after a DUI arrest.
State Law Determines if You’ll Lose Your License for a DUI
Most state laws say you could lose your driving privileges for certain DUI offenses. However, states vary on the circumstances for which you’ll lose your license and for how long you could lose those privileges.
For instance, in South Carolina, your license will automatically be suspended if:
- You refuse to take a field sobriety, breathalyzer, or blood test during a traffic stop.
- You fail a field sobriety, breathalyzer, or blood test during a traffic stop.
- You are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI).
When authorities suspend your license immediately after a traffic stop or DUI arrest, this is an administrative license suspension (ALS). After you receive notice of an ALS, you can ask for a hearing to contest this and request a temporary alcohol license (TAL). This will allow you to drive temporarily before your case goes to court or you receive a resolution to your case.
Every state has a unique iteration of these rules. For instance, many states immediately suspend a driver’s license if the person fails their DUI test at a traffic stop or refuses a test. Many states also allow drivers to request hearings, make their cases, and request reinstatements of their driving privileges. However, each state differs in the time drivers can request hearings, among other unique details of ALS law.
A DUI Conviction Can Suspend Your License for Months or More
Again, states differ on how long they’ll suspend your license after a DUI.
- First-time DUI Offense: These are typically considered misdemeanor offenses and often come with the least severe DUI penalties. Still, you could see a license suspension of anywhere from 90 days to one year after a conviction, depending on the state.
- Repeat DUI Offense: Repeat offenders will likely face longer license suspensions or revocations. Some states will revoke your license for several years for a second or subsequent DUI offense.
The courts may consider other factors when determining your license suspension and how long you’ll see the suspension in place. For instance, if you have aggravated charges, such as causing a crash leading to bodily injuries or driving with a minor in the car while under the influence, you could face more serious license suspension penalties.
Why do States Suspend or Revoke Driver’s Licenses After a DUI?
After getting a DUI, you may immediately face the tough consequences of a license suspension. As challenging as this may be, research shows that administrative license suspension can prove effective in deterring drunk drivers from committing offenses.
Alternatives to License Suspension
In some states, you could have alternatives beyond an administrative license suspension. One of the most common alternatives involves the use of an ignition interlock device (IID).
An IID refers to a court-mandated device installed in a vehicle that requires drivers to test negative for alcohol use before driving. The device requires that a driver blows into the mechanism and scores a zero blood alcohol (BAC) level before they can start the vehicle and drive. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these devices can effectively reduce the recurrence of a DUI offense.
If you could get an IID in place of an administrative license suspension, a lawyer can explain your options. However, in some states, you must install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle after authorities reinstate your driving privileges after a DUI license suspension.
Can I Fight a License Suspension After a DUI Charge?
You can fight the initial administrative license suspension if you fail your BAC test after a traffic stop or refuse to take a BAC test. The sooner you request a hearing to contest your ALS, the better.
Also, just because you received a DUI charge doesn’t mean you must accept a conviction. You can hire an attorney to help you fight your charges. They can take several possible strategies to defend you. They can review the evidence in your case, such as your breathalyzer test results or the cause for which the officer stopped you. If they find any weaknesses in the case, they can argue for a favorable outcome for you and challenge the prosecutor’s claims.
Again, the sooner you contact a lawyer, the sooner they can start investigating and building your case. If you are convicted of a DUI charge, you may be more likely to face a long-term license suspension. However, a lawyer can help you push to get your charges dropped or reduced along with the associated penalties.
Call Us Today About a DUI License Case
If you are concerned about losing your driver’s license if you get a DUI, you can consult McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. Our DUI attorney can review your legal options with you and advise you on your next steps. Call 24/7 for a free case review.