The right to drive is a privilege that should be respected and valued. Sometimes, however, we can have a lapse in judgment, especially when under the influence of alcohol. Losing your license due to a DUI charge can be frustrating and disruptive to your life, but it’s far less troubling than losing your life or killing someone else. No matter how inconvenient it is, it’s important to understand that driving while under the influence is reckless and dangerous.
Still, circumstances are often more complex than they appear, and people deserve second chances. Depending on the severity of your offense and whether you are a first-time or multiple offender, there might be a way for you to reinstate your driver’s license.
Steps for reinstating your license in California
Immediately upon your arrest for DUI, the DMV will suspend your license. The length of suspension varies depending on your age (minor or over 21 years old) and criminal history, and there is no leeway in this. You must wait this time out. Even after your suspension period is over, you will need to apply for reinstatement and take specific steps to get your driving privileges restored. This includes:
- Paying all fines and fees
- Serving all jail time or completing a negotiated work release program
- Completing all required education courses, perhaps including AA meetings, traffic school or drug/substance abuse classes
- Providing proof of valid car insurance, perhaps including Proof of Financial Responsibility (Form SR-22)
- Providing proof of resolution of all criminal charges if applicable
Keep in mind that following these steps does not guarantee you will get your license back. The laws are specific and their purpose is to discourage individuals from making potentially life-altering decisions to begin with. You may want to seek legal guidance to discuss your case and ensure your best chance of getting back behind the wheel.