In most cases, the person arrested for drunk driving will have his driver's license confiscated by the officer if he (1) takes a breath test showing .08% blood-alcohol or higher, (2) gives a blood or urine sample which will be analyzed later, or (3) refuses to be tested. He will also be given a pink sheet of paper which serves as both a notice of suspension and a 30-day temporary license. (For out-of-state drivers, the license will not be seized and the suspension will only be of the privilege to drive within California.)
It is critically important to CALL THE California DMV WITHIN 10 DAYS OF THE ARREST to request a hearing to contest the suspension; failure to do so will result in the suspension taking effect 30 days after the arrest. Requesting a hearing will also result in an extension of the 30-day temporary license, usually for another month or two depending upon when the hearing is held. Nothing is lost by requesting a hearing and a good DUI attorney has a fair chance of getting the suspension thrown out.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles is a huge bureaucracy with all of the inefficiency and incompetence that one has come to expect. The division of the DMV responsible for the "APS" suspension of licenses is the Drivers Safety Office (DSO), with branch offices located around the state. It is at these offices that the hearings will take place, presided over by a "hearing officer" — a DMV employee without legal training who will serve as both prosecutor and judge. Without an attorney experienced in such hearings, the chances of obtaining a "set-aside" of the suspension are not good.
The following resources will provide information about the California Department of Motor Vehicles and the laws that largely govern their responsibilities: the California Vehicle Code.
Home page of the Department of Motor Vehicles.
The Driver's License
General information about about driver's licenses.
Guide to the DMV
Unofficial website providing plain-English information about the DMV and its services.
DUI Suspensions Over/Under 21
DMV's overview of license suspensions for drunk driving for adults and drivers under 21.
The DMV's summary of provisions for administrative ("APS") suspensions and restrictions of licenses for drunk driving; also included is information about "negligent operator" point-count suspensions
The DMV's simplistic chart of impairment based only upon weight and consumption.
The Southern California Auto Club's guide to the DMV.
California DUI Guides: The DMV
Links to various resources concerning the Department of Motor Vehicles.
DMV Office Locations
Address, telephones and maps for DMV field offices statewide.
Download Department of Motor Vehicle forms online, including Driver Safety forms.
The DMV's online access to the entire Vehicle Code.
Download such DMV publications as the "California Driver Handbook" online.
Information from the Department of Motor Vehicles about challenging the officer's confiscation and suspension of your license.
The Department of Motor Vehicle's answers to frequently-asked questions about DUI license suspensions.
Get a Copy of Your California DMV Record
The Department of Motor Vehicles (California DMV) keeps your driving record for about ten years. You can obtain a copy of your California driving record by following the instructions on this site.
California Vehicle Code
A guide to further links to websites relating to the California Vehicle Code.