Santa Barbara DUI Arrest FAQ 

Being charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Santa Barbara may be a distressing event. If you are convicted of DUI, the personal and legal implications may become severe. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding a Santa Barbara DUI arrest that may help should you face charges.

If you have further questions not answered below, we encourage you to schedule a confidential consultation with an experienced DUI attorney by completing a contact form or calling (805) 500-7745.

I’ve just been arrested for DUI in Santa Barbara. What happens now?

By law, the officer is required to immediately forward a copy of your completed notice of license suspension or driver license revocation form along with a sworn report to the Santa Barbara County DMV. Once the DMV receives the documents, they will automatically conduct an administrative review, which includes:

  • An exam of the police officer’s report
  • The revocation or suspension order
  • Any test results that you may have completed

You may request a hearing to contest the suspension or revocation if it is upheld during the administrative review. You have the right to request a hearing from the DMV within ten days of receipt of the suspension or revocation order.

If the administrative review determines there is no basis for the suspension or revocation, the action will be set aside, and the DMV will notify you of this change in writing.

The officer confiscated my driver’s license when I was arrested. How do I get it back?

Your driver’s license will be returned to you at the end of the suspension or revocation, provided you pay a $125 reissue fee to the DMV and you file proof of financial responsibility. 

The reissue fee remains at $100 if you were under age 21 and were suspended under the Zero Tolerance Law under Vehicle Code §§ 23136, 13353.1, 13388, and 13392. If it is determined that there is no basis for the suspension or revocation, your driver’s license will be returned.

The officer gave me an order of suspension and temporary license after my arrest. What should I do with this document?

This notice functions as a temporary license and allows you to drive for 30 days from the date of your driver’s license suspension or revocation, provided that:

  • You possess a California driver license
  • Your driver’s license is not expired
  • Your driving privilege is not suspended for another reason

What is an administrative hearing for a DUI? 

In California, an administrative hearing for a DUI is held at the DMV office rather than a criminal court. This hearing’s objective is to show that the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license as a consequence of your DUI arrest is unwarranted.

How long will my driver’s license be suspended if I submit to a breathalyzer or chemical test?

If you are 21 or older and took a breathalyzer or chemical test and the results showed 0.08% BAC or more, you may encounter the following consequences regarding your driving privileges:

  • 4-month suspension, if it is your first offense
  • 1-year suspension, if it is your second or subsequent offense within ten years

If you are under 21 and took a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test or other chemical tests that showed 0.01% BAC or more, your driver’s license will be suspended for one year.

Do I need a hearing to get a restricted license to commute to and from work?

No. A DMV administrative hearing will not consider requests for a restricted license. However, you may apply for a restricted license to drive in limited situations, such as to and from work or to DUI school, at any DMV field office. Note that not everyone is eligible for a restricted license. Generally, you are disqualified if:

  • You were driving on a suspended license when arrested for DUI
  • You refused to take a breathalyzer or blood test after being arrested for DUI

What happens if I refuse to take a chemical test?

In California, you are legally required to submit to a chemical test to determine the level of drugs or alcohol in your system. If the police officer states that you refused to take a chemical test, that means you did not complete a blood or breath test after being requested to do so.

Formerly, urine tests were used to measure BAC after a suspected DUI. However, as of January 1999, a urine test is no longer available unless:

  • You’re suspected of drugged driving or a combination of drugs and alcohol
  • Both the blood or breath tests are unavailable
  • You are a hemophiliac or suffer a severe blood disorder
  • You are taking anticoagulant medication together with a heart condition

Drivers who refuse to take a chemical test may face severe consequences that are often more severe than those required after taking a breath or blood test.

How long will my driver’s license be suspended for not taking the chemical test?

If you refused or failed to take a blood or breath test or (if applicable) a urine test, you may face the following driver’s license sanctions in California:

  • A first offense will result in a one-year suspension
  • A second offense within ten years will result in a two-year revocation
  • A third or subsequent offense within ten years will result in a three-year revocation

How is the DMV suspension or revocation for the DUI arrest different from the suspension following my criminal court conviction?

The DMV suspension or revocation is an administrative action taken solely against your driving privileges. That is called administrative per se (APS). Any penalties imposed by DMV under APS are independent of any court-imposed jail sentence, fine, or other criminal sentence imposed when a person is convicted for driving under the influence (DUI).

That means California drivers can be penalized twice for the same DUI charge. Once by the DMV through an administrative suspension or revocation jail sentence, fine, or other imposed criminal penalty.