Driving is not a right but a privilege, and the laws of California allow the Department of Motor Vehicles to take away your license as punishment for certain offenses, some of which relate to drunk driving.
The state can take away your driving privileges through either a suspension or revocation of your license. There are ways that you may be able to protect your driver’s license, but you have to act within a certain time frame.
What is the difference between license suspension and revocation?
Both license suspension and revocation take away your driving privileges. According to I Drive Safely, a revocation is more serious because it is permanent. With a driver’s license suspension, there is an expectation that you will get your license back eventually and be able to drive again. This may not be until after you have completed a certain action that the court has ordered you to do, or it may be after a certain amount of time has elapsed.
When can the state of California suspend your driver’s license for drunk driving?
Under state law, you can have your driver’s license suspended if you fail a breath test to measure your blood alcohol level. You can also face license suspension if you refuse to take the breath test at all. Implied consent means that, by applying for and earning a driver’s license, you have tacitly agreed to any reasonable measures required to make sure that you are able to operate a motor vehicle safely. License suspension is also a likely penalty if you receive a drunk driving conviction.
If arrested for DUI with a blood alcohol level above 0.08%, you have 10 days in which to contact the DMV to arrange a hearing. Otherwise, the DMV can suspend your license automatically.