Category Archives: Driver’s License Suspension/Revocation

Everything You Need to Know About Renewing Your California Drivers’ License

California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is notorious for long lines and slow service. In recent years, the state has taken steps to speed up and improve the processes for obtaining a drivers’ license, registering a vehicle, and other DMV-related tasks.

Renewing your California drivers’ license is getting easier, and in many cases can now be done online.

Online Renewal

Although first-time California drivers’ license holders will need to have an in-person appointment at a DMV office, renewals can usually be done online. The state’s new DMV website has a list of eligibility requirements for online renewal.

If you meet the requirements, you will be prompted to create an online account to continue your renewal. You should be prepared to pay your renewal fee as listed on your renewal notice. Follow the on-screen prompts to renew your California drivers’ license.

In-Person Appointments

If you are a first-time drivers’ license holder or you are new to the state of California, you will probably need to visit the DMV. You could go to your closest location without an appointment and wait in line all day, but a better option is to make an appointment online.

For drivers coming from other states, no driving test will be required. You will only need to provide your old license and proof of residency.

Driving With an Expired License

Driving with an expired license is chargeable as a misdemeanor offense in California. The good news is that it’s not nearly as serious of an offense as driving with a suspended, revoked or cancelled license.

When you are caught driving with an expired license, prosecutors will often reduce the charge from a misdemeanor to a simple infraction. This is provided you renew your license in a timely manner.

New to California?

For those who move to California from another state where they still have an active drivers’ license, the same offense could be charged. Driving with a license from a previous state, even if it’s still valid, is considered the same as driving with an expired license in California.

Legally, the state of California requires newcomers to obtain a California drivers’ license within 10 days of becoming a resident. But most of the time, when you are caught with an expired or out-of-state drivers’ license, you are offered some leeway if you obtain a new, valid license within 20 days of the infraction.

Got a Ticket for an Expired License? Call Mr. Ticket!

If you’ve been issued a traffic violation because you delayed renewing your California drivers’ license, your best option is to seek legal representation. Mr. Ticket has ample experience reducing charges in traffic violations and he can help reduce your misdemeanor to an infraction or even get the charge removed altogether. Call Mr. Ticket today!

DUI vs DWI – What’s the Difference?

DUI vs. DWI – What’s the Difference?

You’ve likely heard both the terms “DUI” and “DWI” when it comes to drunk driving arrests, but what is the difference between the two?

  • DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence
  • DWI means Driving While Intoxicated
  • Both refer to driving while impaired by some substance, whether alcohol or drugs.

In some states, the terms DUI and DWI refer to two different infractions. A DUI indicates that a person has alcohol in their system. This infraction is easier to prove since a simple breathalyzer test can show the presence of alcohol. A DWI, however, is a little more complicated to prove since it requires significant evidence that the driver is absolutely impaired. Of the two, DWI’s tend to have more severe consequences and be a more serious charge.

Recently, most states have stopped separating DUI and DWI infractions. In these states, including California, the two terms are used interchangeably. The state of California exclusively uses DUI, though you may still see DWI used in some cases since it’s such a familiar term. Whether convicted of a DUI due to drugs or alcohol, in California the charges and penalties are the same.

DUI in California

A first time DUI offense in California is classified as a misdemeanor and the penalty typically involves 3-5 years of probation as well as hundreds or even thousands of dollars in fines. Additionally, an ignition interlock device is installed in the vehicle of the offender, requiring the driver to pass a breathalyzer test before operating the vehicle. Other penalties of a DUI conviction include required DUI school, a 6-month driver’s license suspension, and even up to six months in jail.

In the cases where a DUI is not the first offense, the consequences are far more severe. Longer jail time and more expensive fines are just the start. The requirements for DUI school are extended, and driver’s license suspensions may last longer.

Mr. Ticket Can Help With Your Drunk Driving Arrest

If you’ve been arrested for drunk driving in California, it’s important to seek legal representation right away. Mr. Ticket is practiced in representing clients in traffic violations and will protect your rights while helping to minimize consequences. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with a licensed attorney.

Misdemeanor vs. Felony Traffic Violations

Not all traffic violations are created equal, and the type of violation you face can have different consequences for your record, insurance, and drivers license. Today we’ll explain the differences and help you understand your options for each. 

Misdemeanor Traffic Violations

The usual and more common traffic violations are called “infractions” and would include speeding, improper stop at a stop sign, failure to signal, and even minor collisions. These are not classified as misdemeanor offenses, and as such are usually more minor in consequence (points on your license, fines). The following will often bump your violation into the class of misdemeanor: 

  • Someone is injured by the traffic violation
  • Property is damaged by the traffic violation, such as another’s car or mailbox
  • Driving without a license or insurance
  • Reckless driving
  • Disorderly conduct 

Misdemeanor traffic violations will go on your criminal record and can include court and legal fees. 

Felony Traffic Violations

If you’re guilty of committing a more serious traffic offense, you may be charged with a felony traffic violation. While these charges can depend on the severity of the incident and the local traffic laws, a felony traffic violation is usually associated with a DUI but can also include: 

  • Hit-and-run
  • Vehicular homicide or manslaughter
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI)
  • Racing
  • Fleeing law enforcement
  • Repeated offenses of driving without license or insurance

Felony traffic violations incur much more serious consequences, such as permanent felony marking on your record, a breathalyzer for DUIs, suspension or revocation of a drivers license, criminal court proceedings, and legal fees. 

If you’re facing a traffic violation, whether misdemeanor or felony charges, it’s in your best interest to seek legal representation to protect your rights and minimize any consequences. We’re practiced and ready to help you.

What Happens When I Get a Ticket?

No one likes that sinking feeling when you see flashing lights in your rearview mirror. You pull over and try to wait patiently as the police officer runs your information and writes you a ticket. There are so many negative consequences to being pulled over, but drivers often forget about the far-reaching effects of a potential moving violation. 

Consequences of a Ticket

  1. Late. Getting pulled over stops you on your journey and usually upsets the flow of your day. We can’t do much about the initial consequence of making you late and ruining your day, but it is important to note this unpleasant effect. 
  2. Additional Infractions. Unfortunately many who are pulled over discover additional infractions related to insurance, registration, and outstanding warrants when their personal and vehicle information is run. What starts as a pricey speeding ticket can turn into an expensive surprise. 
  3. Ticket Expense. Speeding tickets usually range in the hundreds of dollars, depending on how fast you were going, the speed limit in the area, and other factors such as construction and school zones. It’s pricey and usually must be paid within a time frame of 60 or 90 days. Sometimes tickets need to be paid in person, taking time as well as money. 
  4. Record Points. For each violation your license will accrue “points.” If a significant number of points are collected you can have your license suspended. It’s important to monitor these points and when they’ll fall off your record. 
  5. Insurance Spikes. Tickets, even small ones, can cause your insurance rates to rise. This is especially true if you’re in a high-risk group or already have tickets and accidents on your record. 

As you can see, the cost of a ticket is far greater than the listed dollar amount. The implications can be more serious than you expected. That’s why Mr. Ticket is here to help you avoid most of these negative consequences.

5 things you may need to do to get your license back

You cannot drive on a suspended license. Not having a valid driver’s license really impacts your life, making it harder to go to work and cutting into your freedom and social activities. If you lose your license, you need to know what steps to take to get it back.

Exactly what you’ll need to do depends on the specific reason that you lost the license to begin with. However, here are five common steps to help you understand the likely process:

  1. Wait until the suspension period has ended. Do not drive at all during this time. Getting caught doing so can lead to more charges and increase the length of the suspension.
  2. Pay any fines and the reissue fee. This is mandatory if you want to drive legally again.
  3. If you lost your license due to drunk driving, you may need to complete a DUI treatment program as ordered by the court.
  4. If you had a mental or physical disorder, you may need to get a Driver Medical Evaluation that clears you to drive again.
  5. If you lost your license and got a prison sentence for the incident — multiple drunk driving charges, for example — then you have to serve that sentence first.

As you can see, the specifics change significantly depending on your situation, but the key is to understand exactly what is required of you so that you can take the necessary steps. Don’t rush it. Never do anything that is going to potentially make the situation worse, no matter how important it is to get behind the wheel. Look into all of your legal options and move forward.

How to apply for license reinstatement in California

Having your driver’s license suspended in Encino takes away a lot of your freedom. It can also negatively impact your education and your career. You will need to find alternative ways to get to school or work until you can have your license reinstated. You can apply to have your license reinstated in the state of California and we will discuss that in today’s post.

To reinstate your license after a negligent operator charge, you must do the following:

  • Pay the reissue fee to the DMV
  • Pay court fees
  • Provide proof of auto insurance
  • Complete a probationary period where you have zero tickets or accidents

To reinstate your license after a DUI charge, you must do the following:

  • Serve applicable jail time
  • Serve suspension period
  • Pay the reissue fee and court fees
  • Complete a program for DUI offenders
  • Submit proof of auto insurance along with a $35,000 cash deposit

To reinstate a driver’s license after an accident without auto insurance, you must do the following:

  • Completing a mandatory suspension of one year
  • Pay the reissue fee to the DMV
  • Submit proof of auto insurance to the DMV

To reinstate a license after suffering from a mental or physical disorder, you must do the following:

  • Complete a Driver Medical Evaluation form
  • Provide the DMV with any other medical documents that show your condition is no longer present

To have your driver’s license reinstated in California, you simply need to follow the tips outlined in this post. Be sure you never drive when your license is suspended because it can lead to more fines and penalties.

Source: DMV.org, “Suspended License,” accessed June 14, 2018

New California law prevents driver’s license suspensions

On June 27, 2017, Governor Jerry Brown of California signed a bill that will provide protection from driver’s license suspensions for individuals with unpaid fines, according to the Associated Press. Under the new law, the courts will not be able to suspend a person’s driver’s license for unpaid fines incurred through certain traffic infractions. The provisions will not apply to persons whose licenses are already suspended. Proponents of the new law reason that the suspension of a driver’s license for unpaid fines is an inefficient means of obtaining payment for fees because it undermines an individual’s ability to drive to work without breaking the law. Put simply, according to supporters, the new law is designed to avoid punishing people for being poor. Nonetheless, failure to appear in court may still cause a person to incur additional fines and be subject to license suspension.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Californians have faced an increase in overall penalties through additional fees, assessments and surcharges imposed by the legislature: “A $35 ticket for failing to signal a lane change actually costs $238. This goes a long way toward explaining why, as of March, 488,000 Californians had suspended licenses.” The hope for some is that the recently passed bill will help to alleviate some of that burden.

Traffic law is a subset of criminal law in California. As such, a person charged with a traffic infraction should be aware that he or she can plead not guilty and request a jury trial in writing, by mail. Doing so may help a person avoid being subject to suspension for failure to appear in court, as well as additional fines.

Filing for a restricted license

As has been detailed on this blog before, refusing to take a chemical sobriety test or registering a blood alcohol concentration reading of greater than the legal limit for your current situation will likely result in your license being suspended or revoked. Yet like many of those in Encino that we at [nap_names id=”FIRM-NAME-3″] – The Law Offices of Amir Soleimanian and Associates, Inc. have worked with in the past, you still may need to travel to work as well as other places. If your public transportation options are limited, is there a way to regain your driving privileges, even if only on a conditional basis?

California law does allow you to apply for a restricted driver’s license, yet only if you meet certain qualifications. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, these include:

  •          This current offense being your first.
  •          Your having completed a chemical test
  •          The results of that test showing a BAC level of 0.08 or more if you were driving a noncommercial vehicle (0.04 if you were operating a commercial vehicle)
  •          You being over the age of 21
  •          You not having had your license revoked for any other reason

You must first wait 30 days to apply for a restricted license. The court will also likely require you to enroll in a DUI prevention course or some other form of treatment course in order to qualify. You must also obtain a form SR-22 from your insurance company in order to prove you meet minimum state coverage standards. Once you have completed these steps, you apply for your restricted license through the DMV.

A restricted license allows you to travel to and from your treatment courses as well as your work. You can discover more information about reclaiming your driving privileges by continuing to explore our site.  

Can minors have their licenses suspended?

When it comes to teenage traffic laws, strict guidelines are in place to prevent accidents and encourage your teen’s obedience. These rules are necessary, as evidenced by the studies reported by the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles which claims that the highest rates of injury, collision and traffic conviction belong to drivers between the ages of 15 and 19. Even though these drivers only travel half as many miles as adults, they are twice as likely to end up in a collision.

Injury risks are three times higher for those under 18 and fatal crash rates are two and a half times higher than the average. Citations during the first year of driving for this group also sit at just under 50 percent. With all these factors indicating the danger that teen drivers pose on the roads, you may wonder what is being done to prevent accidents to young drivers as well as all motorists on the road.

State laws warn that if your teenage driver has two “at fault” collisions or convictions in 12 months, his or her license could be suspended for 30 days. A third incident within the 12-month period will lead to a six-month suspension and one year probation. If your teen receives a traffic citation and does not pay the fine or show up in court, his or her license may be suspended until those steps are completed.

There are also several actions unrelated to driving that can result in a license suspension. If you have a teen between the ages of 13 and 21 years old who is convicted of using controlled substances or alcohol, his or her license suspended or delayed for one year. Being labeled a habitual truant can also mean a one year delay, revocation, restriction or suspension of his or her license. This information should not be taken as legal advice.

What to do when your driver’s license is suspended

There are certain situations where you may have your driver’s license revoked or suspended under California law. This can make it nearly impossible to travel to work, school or anywhere else that you need to go. At the Law Offices of Amir Soleimanian & Associates, we know that having your driver’s license taken away can be a major inconvenience. It is crucial that you understand why your license was revoked, as well as what you can do in order to retain possession of your driver’s license.

According to the Superior Court of California, you may have your driver’s license suspended for a number of reasons, which include the following:

  •          Excessive points on your record.
  •          Failure to appear in court for a ticket.
  •          Convicted of a DUI.
  •          Refused to take a breath, blood or urine test if suspected of a DUI.
  •          Failure to pay child support.
  •          No insurance coverage.

In order to have your driver’s license reinstated, you must meet certain requirements. These requirements can differ depending on why your license was suspended in the first place. For example, if your license was taken away because of a DUI conviction, you will most likely have to wait for a period of time, pay a fine and complete a DUI treatment program. In some cases, you may be eligible for a restricted license, which entitles you to limited driving privileges while your driver’s license is under suspension.

To learn more about driver’s license suspension and reinstatement, visit our page on infraction driving violations.