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The Impact of a DUI/DWI on Your Driver's License

By
Daisy Rogozinsky
/
May 28, 2023
Last reviewed by
Joanna Smykowski, Esq.
/
May 28, 2023

Driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious offense that can have long-lasting consequences. One of the most significant consequences is the impact on your driver's license. If you are facing DUI/DWI charges, it's important to understand the immediate, criminal, and long-term consequences of a conviction on your driver's license. 

In this legal guide, we will explore the different ways in which a DUI/DWI can affect your driver's license. We will also provide information on the steps you can take to minimize the consequences and protect your driving privileges.

Immediate License Consequences

If you are arrested for DUI/DWI, you may face immediate license consequences. One of these consequences is an administrative license suspension (ALS) which occurs when you fail or refuse a blood alcohol content (BAC) test. This means your driver's license is suspended even before your criminal case goes to trial. 

You have the right to challenge an ALS, but it's important to act quickly, as there are strict time limits. In some cases, the court may require you to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle as a condition of keeping your driving privileges. 

Another option for those facing license suspension is to obtain a restricted license, which allows you to drive to and from work, school, and medical appointments. It's crucial to understand these immediate license consequences and the available options for challenging them or obtaining a restricted license.

Criminal Penalties and License Consequences

In addition to immediate license consequences, a DUI/DWI conviction can result in criminal penalties and long-term license consequences. The length of license suspension/revocation will vary depending on the state and the offense. For example, a first-time DUI conviction may result in a license suspension of 90 days to one year, while a second or subsequent conviction may result in a longer suspension or even license revocation. Repeat offenders may face permanent license revocation in some states. 

If your license is suspended or revoked, you may be eligible for a hardship or occupational license, which allows you to drive for certain purposes. It's important to understand the potential criminal penalties and license consequences of a DUI/DWI conviction and to consult with an experienced DUI/DWI defense attorney to explore your options and protect your driving privileges.

License Suspension Laws by State

Below, you’ll find a table explaining the minimum license suspension guidelines for a first DUI/DWI offense in each state in the U.S.

State Minimum License Suspension for First Offense
Alabama 90 Days or Ignition Interlock Device for 6 months
Alaska 90 days (restricted license available after 30 days)
Arizona 90 days (restricted license possible)
Arkansas 6 months
California 4 months administrative suspension

6 months criminal suspension

Colorado 90 day administrative suspension

9 month criminal suspension

Connecticut 45 days (restricted license possible)
Delaware 3 month administrative suspension

12 to 24 month criminal suspension depending on BAC

District of Columbia 6 months
Florida 180 days (restricted license possible)
Georgia 1 year (restricted license possible)
Hawaii 90 days (restricted license possible)
Idaho 90 days (restricted license possible after 30 days)
Illinois 6 month administrative suspension

1 year criminal suspension

(restricted license Possible)

Indiana 180 day administrative suspension (restricted license possible)
Iowa 180 days (restricted license possible)
Kansas 30 days + restricted license for 180 days
Kentucky 30 days (restricted license possible)
Louisiana 90 days (restricted license possible after 30 days)
Maine 150 days (restricted license possible after 30 days)
Maryland 180 days (or ignition interlock device)
Massachusetts 1 year (restricted license possible after 3 months)
Michigan 30 days + restricted license for 150 days
Minnesota 90 days (restricted license possible)
Mississippi 120 days (restricted license possible)
Missouri 30 days + restricted license for 60 days
Montana 6 months (restricted license possible)
Nebraska 6 months (restricted license possible)
Nevada 90 days (restricted license possible)
New Hampshire 6 month administrative suspension

9 months criminal suspension (restricted license possible)

New Jersey 3 months (restricted license possible)
New Mexico 6 months
New York 6 months (restricted license possible)
North Carolina 30 day administrative suspension

1 year criminal suspension (restricted license possible)

North Dakota 90 days (restricted license possible)
Ohio 90 day administrative suspension

1 year criminal suspension (restricted license possible)

Oklahoma 180 days (restricted license possible)
Oregon 90 day administrative suspension

1 year criminal suspension

Pennsylvania None
Rhode Island 30 days
South Carolina 6 months (restricted license possible)
South Dakota 30 days (restricted license possible)
Tennessee 1 year (restricted license possible)
Texas 90 days (restricted license possible)
Utah 120 days (restricted license possible)
Vermont 90 days (restricted license possible)
Virginia 7 day administrative suspension

1 year criminal revocation (restricted license possible)

Washington 90 days (restricted license possible)
West Virginia 6-month revocation or 15-day revocation +120-day restricted license
Wisconsin 6 months (restricted license possible)
Wyoming 90 days (restricted license possible)

Long-Term Consequences

The consequences of a DUI/DWI conviction can extend beyond just the criminal penalties and immediate license consequences. Some of the long-term consequences include:

  • Car insurance premiums - A DUI/DWI conviction may lead to an increase in car insurance rates, which can persist for several years after a conviction
  • Employment and housing difficulties - Some employers or landlords may view a DUI/DWI conviction as evidence of irresponsibility or a lack of good judgment and refuse employment or housing to applicants with one on their record
  • Professional consequences - Certain professions that require a driver's license or have strict ethical standards, such as healthcare or law enforcement, may have additional consequences for those with a DUI/DWI conviction

It's important to understand these potential long-term consequences and to take steps to minimize their impact, such as seeking treatment for alcohol addiction or abuse and consulting with an attorney to explore options for expungement or other legal remedies.

Steps to Minimize License Consequences

If you are facing DUI/DWI charges, there are steps you can take to minimize the impact on your driver's license. Hiring an experienced DUI/DWI defense attorney is essential to protecting your driving privileges and minimizing the consequences of a conviction. An attorney can help you challenge an administrative license suspension, negotiate plea agreements, and explore options for obtaining a restricted or hardship license. 

Seeking treatment for alcohol addiction or abuse may also be helpful in mitigating the consequences of a DUI/DWI conviction. Finally, it's important to follow all court orders and requirements to avoid further penalties or license suspension/revocation. Taking these steps can help minimize the impact of a DUI/DWI conviction on your driver's license and your life.

Conclusion

A DUI/DWI conviction can have severe consequences on your driver's license, including immediate administrative license suspension, criminal penalties, and long-term consequences such as increased car insurance premiums, employment and housing difficulties, and professional consequences. It’s essential to understand the potential consequences and take steps to minimize their impact, such as hiring an experienced DUI/DWI defense attorney, seeking treatment for alcohol addiction or abuse, and following court orders and requirements. By taking these steps, you can protect your driving privileges and minimize the impact of a DUI/DWI conviction on your life.

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