If you’ve recently been arrested on a first offense DUI in California, a question you may have is: can I drive? The short answer is yes. The police will take away your physical driver’s license and give you a pink piece of paper called a temporary driver’s license. That pink piece of paper will serve as your temporary driver’s license for 30 days from the date of your arrest. For example, if you were arrested on January 15th, the driver’s license is good for 30 days after that date.

The temporary driver’s license is very thin, and some people would say hard to read. Some people don’t even read it at all. In the fine print of that document, there are instructions for you to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles, to request a DUI hearing. What most people miss is that you have 10 calendar days to request that hearing. Going back to the example of getting arrested on January 15th, that means that you have 10 days until January 25th, to request that hearing. Now be careful if your 10th day falls on a weekend or a Monday, one of the busiest days for the DMV, it’s best practice to request your hearing as early as possible so that you don’t miss that 10-day deadline. If you hire a DUI lawyer, we can call the DMV on your behalf.

Once you’ve requested that DMV DUI hearing, that pink piece of paper, your temporary driver’s license gets extended past the original 30 days to the hearing date that the DMV will give you. Going back to the example earlier, if you were arrested on January 15th, your driver’s license, your temporary driver’s license is valid until February 15th, but if you request a timely DMV DUI hearing, and your hearing is scheduled in March, that means your temporary driving privileges are now extended until March.

I know that’s a lot of math, but the bottom line is this: request your DMV DUI hearing within 10 days, or your temporary driver’s license will automatically expire after 30 days. By requesting this timely hearing, you extend your driving privileges, giving you time to get a copy of your police report and get your ducks in order.

Another common question that we get from first offense DUI clients in California: is do I have to carry this pink piece of paper with me every time I drive? The short answer is yes, but if for some reason you lose it, you can always request it and get another copy mailed to you. In the meantime, memorize your driver’s license, or have it saved on your phone. If you get pulled over, you can provide your driver’s license number to the police, and they can look you up and confirm that you do in fact, have a temporary driver’s license status.

One more thing… don’t make the mistake of requesting your DMV DUI hearing in person at a local DMV office. There’s a phone number listed on that pink piece of paper for the DMV Driver’s Safety Office. This is a separate office that handles DUI arrests. If you can’t read the phone number on that pink piece of paper, Google DMV Driver’s Safety Offices in your area to get the local phone number. Generally, Oakland Drivers Safety handles Costa County and Alameda Counties while San Francisco Drivers Safety handles counties on that side of the bridge. If you have any questions about this, please don’t hesitate to give our office a call. Lamano Law is here to help.