Much of what has been said about alcohol
also applies to drugs. The states drunk driving
law is also a drug driving law. It refers to driving
under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
If an officer suspects that you are under the influence
of drugs, the officer can require that you take a blood
or urine test. Persons who refuse these tests are subject
to longer license suspensions and revocations.
The use of any drug (and the law does
not distinguish between prescription, over-the-counter,
or illegal drugs) which impairs your driving is illegal.
Many medicines can affect the way one drives. Alcohol
can enhance some of the dangerous side effects of many
drugs, even those that are prescribed by your physician
or purchased over the counter. Check with your physician
or pharmacist if you are not sure you should drive after
taking any medication. Read the warning label. Here
are some facts:
- Most drugs taken for colds, hay fever, allergy,
or to calm nerves can make a person drowsy.
- Medicines taken together, or used with alcohol
can be dangerous. Many drugs have unexpected side
effects when taken with alcohol.
- Pep pills, uppers, and diet pills can
make a driver more alert for a short time. Later,
however, they can cause a person to be nervous, dizzy,
and not able to concentrate. They can also affect
- Any drug that may cause drowsiness or dizziness
is one you should not take before driving. Make sure
you read the label and know the effects of any drug
When you drive in California, you consent
to take a test of your breath, blood, or urine (under
certain circumstances) if you are arrested for driving
under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination
A Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS),
or other chemical test, is also required if you are
under 21 years of age and detained because the officer
believes you have been drinking any amount of alcohol
(see Zero Tolerance).
If you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08%
or more, or you refuse, or fail to complete a test,
the peace officer will take away your license, and at
the same time serve you with an order of suspension
or revocation. The suspension or revocation takes effect
in 30 days. You have ten days from your arrest date
to request a hearing. A stay of the action will be granted
only if the hearing is requested within 10 days after
the arrest date on the order and the department cannot
provide a hearing before the effective date of the action.
The issues at the hearing are only the facts related
to the arrest or detention and the tests, not whether
or not you need a driver license.
If you are arrested because a police
officer suspects you have alcohol in your body, you
will be required to take a breath, blood or urine test
(under certain circumstances) to see if it is true.
If you are suspected of being under the influence of
a drug or a combination of drugs and alcohol, you will
be required to take a blood or urine test (under certain
circumstances). If you are taken to a clinic or hospital
for medical reasons, you must take one of the tests
available at that facility. You do not have the right
to talk to a lawyer or to have one present before deciding
which test to take, or during the test.
The suspension or revocation is independent
of any jail, fine, or other criminal penalty imposed
in court for the driving under the influence offense.
How Long Will
I Be Suspended Or Revoked?
If you did not take, or you failed
to complete, a chemical test:
- First offenseSuspended 1 year.
- Second offense in 7 yearsRevoked 2 years.
- Three or more offenses in 7 yearsRevoked 3
If you took a chemical test and the
test results showed 0.08% or more BAC:
- First offenseSuspended for 4 months.
- One or more prior offenses in 7 yearsSuspended
for 1 year.
If the BAC is 0.01% or higher or the
person refuses to take, or fails to complete the test,
DMV will suspend the persons driving privilege
for one year on the first offense.
A restricted license (only for first
offense of 0.08% or more BAC) can be issued following
a 30-day suspension if a chemical test was taken and
you were at least 21 years of age when the offense occurred.
You may obtain a:
- Restricted license for driving to and from a state
licensed DUI program
- Five-month restricted license to operate to and
from work and driving during the course of employment
and to and from the activities of a licensed DUI program
- submit evidence of enrollment in a DUI program.
- file proof of insurance (SR 22) and maintain it
for three years.
- pay all applicable fees.
If you enroll and fail to participate
or you do not complete the licensed DUI program, DMV
will immediately revoke your restricted license and
reimpose the suspension. It will run for the remainder
of your original suspension.
An ignition interlock device (IID)
is a hand-held breath testing device which is connected
to the vehicle and requires the driver to take a breath
test for alcohol each time the vehicle is started.
- are required to order the IID restriction on any
person convicted of driving on a suspended or revoked
license based on a DUI offense.
- may order the IID restriction on any DUI offense.
Any person whose driving privilege
is revoked for multiple DUI offenses may apply for a
restricted license after serving a specified period
of the revocation and if the person complies with certain
The IID restriction will be in effect
for the rest of the original suspension or revocation
period and until all reinstatement requirements are
AND LOSS OF LICENSE FOR DRIVERS OVER 18 YEARS OF AGE
If you are stopped by a police officer
and cited for a traffic law violation, you sign a promise
to appear in traffic court. When you go to court, you
may plead guilty or not guilty, or you may forfeit (pay)
bail. Paying bail is the same as a guilty plea.
If you ignore the traffic ticket and
dont keep your promise to appear in court, the
failure to appear (FTA) goes on your driver record.
If you fail to pay a fine (FTP), the court will notify
DMV and this will also show on your driver record. Even
one FTA or FTP can cause the department to suspend your
license. Ending the suspension will cost you a reissue
fee of $55.
Each time you are convicted of a moving
traffic law violation, the court notifies the DMV. The
conviction is placed on your driver license record.
Convictions reported by other states are also added
to your driver record.
POINTS ON THE
The department keeps a public record
of all your traffic convictions and accidents. Each
occurrence stays on your record for 36 months or longer,
depending on the type of conviction.
You may be considered a negligent operator
of a motor vehicle when your driving record shows any
one of the following point count totals
regardless of your license class:
4 points in 12 months
6 points in 24 months
8 points in 36 months
Examples of one point violations:
- A traffic conviction.
- An at-fault accident.
Examples of two point violations:
- Reckless driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs
- Hit-and-run driving
- Evading a peace officer
- Driving while suspended or revoked
- Driving on the wrong side of the road.
If you get too many points,
you will lose your driver license. A violation received
in a commercial vehicle carries one and one-half times
the point count normally assessed.
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