There are three different instances where your driving privileges may be revoked during the DWI process. Two of those times do not even involve a conviction for the crime! The second you have been arrested for DWI, you need to take a defensive stance to ensure that you do not lose these important driving privileges.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding the DWI, you may find your licenses suspended:
- If you refuse to take a legally required breath or blood test
- 15 days after the arrest by failing to appeal to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
- As part of criminal sentencing once you have been found guilty of DWI
The only time that your license suspension is directly connected to an actual conviction of DWI is when the court issues their sentencing. That means the other two occasions happen prior to you even being convicted! This is why you need to hire an attorney as soon as you find yourself facing charges. With so many chances to lose your freedoms, you need to act fast.
Why Can My License Be Revoked Prior to a DUI Conviction?
Under implied consent laws, when you get your driver's license, you agree to be tested if you are arrested on the suspicion of driving while intoxicated. You do not legally have to consent to any testing requested by law enforcement prior to an arrest-so long as you are of legal drinking age and have no previous offenses. However, once you have been arrested, you must submit to a BAC test. Refusal to do so results in an automatic license suspension, lasting anywhere from 180 days to 2 years, depending on how many other times you have refused this test in the past.
Even if you abide by law enforcement's orders, you may still have your license suspended before going to court. If your BAC is over 0.08%, the legal limit to drive, a Notice of Suspension will be issued and the DMV will be notified. You have 15 days to challenge this suspension and request a hearing to fight this license suspension. If this is not completed, your license will be suspended 40 days after the DWI arrest.
Remember, as part of the criminal sentencing for DWI, your license can be suspended. A first offense can carry as little as a 90-day license revocation while being convicted of a second DWI can carry up to 2 years without driving privileges. Depending on a number of factors, the court will make a judgment to determine what fits your case, which can be more or less time than you think is fair.