speeding ticket

DUI related license suspension

All states have a uniform maximum permissible blood alcohol concentration level of 0.08%, except for minors and commercial drivers who are either permitted no alcohol content at all (minors) or 0.04% (commercial drivers). If you are stopped for drunk driving by a police officer, you will probably first be asked to use a breathalyzer. This is a portable device and the results have no legal basis, except for determining whether you have any alcohol in your body at all.

Normally, you will be asked to take a breath or blood test for alcohol at a police station, if you are suspected of being over the limit. These tests are more definitive although they are not foolproof and are subject to error. If the tests reveal that you are over the 0.08% threshold, OR if you refuse to take a test, for some reason, then your license will be automatically suspended for a defined period. The actual length of time that suspension will be imposed depends on both the state as well as the amount of alcohol in your blood as determined by the tests. Most states have a second, higher alcohol concentration, above which extra penalties are imposed. In most states this is 0.15%, but it can vary between 0.1%, for instance in New Jersey, to 0.2 or even 0.25% in Minnesota or Washington D.C.

The period of driver license suspension will vary from a minimum period of a month to a maximum of 1 year and there may be concessions for those people who have pressing work needs. In these situations, a restricted license, sometimes called a “work license” or OLL license in some states, can be issued.

The driver license suspension may only apply to in-state drivers, so if you are charged with a DUI offense, but hold an out of state license, then the charge will be recorded on the state computer database and your own state transport department will be more than likely notified by the national drivers’ license compact, which allows an interchange of information about DUI offenses between states

License suspensions may be reduced if a driver agrees to enroll in a driver’s school and, in any case, will depend on the number of offenses they have already committed. As might be expected, a second or third offense will be followed by more stringent penalties and if you refuse to take a test, then normally the license will be automatically confiscated and suspended for a year with no restricted license made available.

Again, the precise details vary from state to state, with the penalties being readily displayed on several websites.

The driver license suspension can be challenged, but there is normally a time limit in which the driver must make an application to contest the suspension. It is strongly recommended that any driver who has been charged with DUI or DWI and has had their licenses suspended hire a DUI attorney who can immediately put in an application to contest the suspension to the relevant authority.

If the application is received within the given time limit, then a hearing will be called. If the state authorities are overworked, as they often are, then the application may need to be extended if time appears to be running out before the deadline.

It is quite possible at the hearing that a driver’s license suspension can be revoked or modified so that the period of suspension is reduced or other conditions are made more lenient. It is also possible that the suspension is retained as before.


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