Minnesota Versus California: Are the DWI Laws the Same?


For example, in Minnesota, what a suspension really means is that it’s an immediate suspension of somebody’s driver’s license, right away, after they’ve been arrested for DUI. It focuses in on the issues of driving under the influence of alcohol and driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.

For example, in Minnesota, it was when I was practicing there, a 90-day suspension of your driver’s license for a first time DUI. Interestingly enough, on your first DUI, it went into effect 30 days after the notice of suspension was served.

Interestingly enough, you are eligible as a first time offender for a limited or restricted license to drive to or from work or from a program on the first day the suspension went into effect. What that means is, essentially, you never lost your license for a day. Minnesota recognized that it was important

You Will Not be Eligible for a Restricted License in California for Thirty Days

Here in California, they do lose their license, that’s the point of comparing Minnesota to California. The point is that they will lose their license. They have to serve the first 30 days of the suspension. What that means is the person will lose their license for 30 days without the ability to get a restricted or limited license to drive to work.

As you can see, if you ask the question, are the penalties harsher here? The short answer is yes. It’s harsher here. Here, somebody can lose their job because they can’t get to work for the first 30 days. That is, providing there is no public transportation going to their jobs.

Second, the system in California is designed really in favor of the government and is against the individual driver. However, you’re entitled to a hearing here in California.

One of the most important requirements in California is that once you were served with the notice of suspension, which is a pink piece of paper that will be with his or her paperwork when they are released from custody.

Requesting a DMV Hearing to Restore Driving Privileges

That pink piece of paper is the administrative first, a notice and order of suspension. They have to call the DMV within 10 days in order to request a hearing in front of the DMV to determine whether the suspension of the driver’s license is justified or not.

Should You Retain an Attorney for the DMV Hearing?

If somebody hires my office, the glory of hiring an office is that once the person comes in and retains me as the attorney, that person literally should walk out of here within a matter of hours because we do everything. We do everything for the client.

We’ll call the DMV within the 10 days. We’ll request a hearing. If they don’t do that, then what ends up happening is the suspension goes into effect right after the 30 days and they’ll lose the license, but if you request a hearing within the 10 days, they’ll stay that license suspension for the adjudication of the DMV to find or determine whether this suspension was justified or not.

Interviewer: To recap, regardless of whether it’s a first, second, third, five millionth DUI in California you’ll lose your license right away. You get a pink piece of paper and if you don’t apply for a hearing at the DMV in the first 10 days then you’ll lose your license way beyond the 30 days, right?

Steve: You’ll lose your license on the 30th day. Also, the suspension will go into effect after the first 30 days because you’re given a temporary license to drive for 30 days. Then they let the suspension go through. Yes, the answer is it will immediately go into effect on the 31st day of the hearing.

Now, if you retain an attorney, we request a hearing, we request the discovery and then again, it’s important to compare and contrast because people should know that these DMV hearings are difficult. They’re difficult hearings. The reason why they are difficult hearings is because in Minnesota when you go to a DMV hearing you actually have to.

By Steven Taxman

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