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Driver’s License Suspension for DUI with Drugs in Los Angeles


Driver’s License Suspension for DUI with Drugs in Los Angeles

Getting arrested for DUI doesn’t always involve alcohol. Prescription medications, illegal drugs, and even some over-the-counter pills can lead to DUI charges in California. A drug-related DUI conviction results in driver’s license suspension just like an alcohol DUI.

Knowing what to expect with a drug DUI suspension in Los Angeles can help you take steps to get your license back. This article covers the suspension process, penalties, and how to legally restore your driving privileges after a drugged driving offense.

California DUI Laws for Drugs

California’s DUI laws prohibit driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. This includes illegal substances as well as prescription and over-the-counter medications if they impair your ability to drive safely.

Simply having drugs in your system is not enough for a DUI. The prosecution must prove your driving ability was impaired and that you were “under the influence.”

Penalties for Drug DUIs

A drug DUI conviction results in the same major penalties as an alcohol DUI:

  • License suspension – 4 months for 1st offense
  • Fines and fees – Around $2,000 for 1st offense
  • DUI classes – 3 month program
  • Possible jail time – Up to 6 months

The suspension period, fines, and jail time increase significantly for repeat offenses within 10 years. The court does not make exceptions for drug DUIs – the sentences are mandatory.

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The Drug DUI Suspension Process

Just like an alcohol DUI, there are two parts to a drug DUI license suspension in California – the DMV administrative action and court-ordered suspension.

DMV Administrative Suspension

The DMV will immediately suspend your license if you are arrested for drugged driving and exhibit signs of impairment during FSTs. This happens before your criminal case ends.

The officer takes your license and issues a temporary 30-day permit. The suspension takes effect after those 30 days, lasting 4 months for a first offense.

Court-Ordered Suspension

If you are convicted of the drug DUI criminal charges, the court will order its own license suspension as part of your sentence. This runs alongside the DMV suspension.

First convictions lead to a 4 month court-ordered suspension. Second or third offenses within 10 years add extra suspension time.

Suspension Periods for Drug DUIs

Here are the DMV and court-ordered license suspension periods for drug DUI convictions in California:

  • 1st Offense – 4 months
  • 2nd Offense within 10 Years – 1 year
  • 3rd Offense within 10 Years – 3 years
  • 4th Offense within 10 Years – 4 years

These suspension periods are mandatory minimums. The judge cannot make exceptions or grant restricted licenses for drug DUIs.

Getting an Early Reinstatement

Since there is a mandatory suspension period, you cannot legally drive before it ends. However, you can take steps to reinstate your license immediately when the suspension term expires:

  • Enroll in a DUI program – Have proof of enrollment/completion
  • File an SR-22 form – Obtain high-risk insurance
  • Pay reinstatement fees – $55 at the DMV
  • Resolve any DMV holds – Clear up tickets, fines, etc.
  • Request a reissue hearing – Appeal if reinstatement is denied

Completing these steps promptly helps ensure you can drive again once the suspension period officially ends.

Penalties for Driving on a Suspended License

It is illegal and risky to drive in California on a suspended license. The penalties if caught are:

  • Up to 6 months in jail
  • Fines up to $1,000
  • 1 to 2 year license suspension
  • 30 day vehicle impound

These criminal charges make regaining your license even more difficult. Never drive while suspended after a drug DUI.

Getting a Restricted License

It is generally not possible to get a restricted license or hardship permit after a drug DUI conviction. The court cannot make exceptions to the mandatory suspension terms.

In rare cases, you may qualify for a license allowing driving for work purposes only. This involves extensive proof of need and is very difficult to obtain.

Using Rideshare Apps

Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft can provide transportation without you driving. However, be cautious using these apps on a suspended license.

Merely sitting in the driver’s seat can warrant a charge for driving while suspended. Also, rideshare companies require valid licenses to use their platforms.

Traveling to Other States

Your California drug DUI suspension is valid in all other states. Getting cited for driving on a suspended license in another state leads to additional criminal charges.

That state may impose its own penalties on top of the California suspension extension. Never drive outside California until your license is fully reinstated.

Getting Legal Help

Handling a drug DUI suspension and rebuilding your driving privileges can be very complex. Having an experienced DUI attorney represent you is highly recommended.

They can help minimize penalties, guide you through the suspension requirements, and assist with promptly reinstating your license. Don’t let a drug DUI keep you off the road longer than necessary.


Drug DUIs lead to mandatory license suspensions, even for prescription medications. Know how the suspension process works and take steps to get your license back immediately when eligible.

Never drive on a suspended license or you may face additional criminal charges. Consult an attorney to help safely restore your driving privileges after a drugged driving conviction.


[1] https://www.shouselaw.com/ca/dui/laws/drugs/

[2] https://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/dui-conviction-with-drugs-only-no-measurable-alcohol

[3] https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/driver-education-and-safety/educational-materials/fast-facts/driving-under-the-influence-age-21-and-older-ffdl-35/

[4] https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?sectionNum=13353.&lawCode=VEH

[5] https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/driver-education-and-safety/dmv-safety-guidelines-actions/driving-under-the-influence/

[6] https://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/california-dui-with-drugs-what-you-need-to-know


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