As a result of national campaigns by advocacy groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD, drunk driving laws across the country are much tougher now than they were a couple of decades ago. The city of San Diego in California is no exception to this general rule. Just as the laws are tougher, so are the penalties if you are convicted of driving under the influence, or DUI. For many people, the worst part about being convicted of a DUI is the license suspension that comes along with the conviction. If you have recently been arrested for DUI in San Diego you are likely wondering “How long will my license be suspended for a DUI conviction in San Diego?”
The length of your license suspension if you have a DUI conviction in San Diego depends on a number of factors such as:
- Whether you have been convicted of a previous DUI
- Your age at the time of arrest
- Whether you refused the chemical test
If this is your first DUI conviction, you are over the age of 21, and you submitted to the chemical test (typically a breathalyzer), your license will be suspended for four months upon conviction. If the other facts remain the same but you have a previous DUI conviction within the last ten years, your license will be suspended for one year for a DUI conviction.
Like many states, California has a “zero tolerance” law that applies to underage drivers who are caught with alcohol in their system. While the legal breath alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for a motorist who is over the legal drinking age of 21 is 0.08, a driver under the age of 21 can be arrested and convicted of DUI with a BAC of just 0.01. As an underage driver, your driving privileges will be suspended for one year for a first time DUI conviction.
A separate license suspension may also apply if you refused to submit to a chemical test when you were arrested. California’s implied consent law essentially says that you agree to submit to a breathalyzer, or other chemical test, if you are arrested for DUI. You can, however, refuse the test but there are consequences to refusing. If you are over the age of 21, your license will be suspended for one year the first time you refuse a test. For a second refusal within ten years your license will be suspended for two years and a third refusal within ten years will result in a three year license suspension. Although the license suspension periods are the same for an underage driver, it is important to note that those penalties can be imposed for refusing a preliminary alcohol screening, or PAS, test as well.
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