DUI and DWI laws and penalties vary from state to state, but one common consequence of being convicted is having the driver’s license suspended. Such penalties can last as little as 45 days in some areas, but in certain states, they may lead to permanent license revocations depending on the severity of the offense in question. While most states enact automatic suspensions for felony offenses, the way that different jurisdictions classify crimes is not uniform.
DUI license suspension periods often depend on the driver’s BAC levels and criminal history. Currently, the majority of states permit officers to enact suspensions following arrest before the motorist even goes to court. Although these individuals may be granted temporary driving privileges, if they fail to argue their cases successfully at a formal DMV hearing prior to the expiry date printed on the temporary license, they will suffer a suspension period commensurate with the laws of their state.
Motorists in some states may also find that refusing to provide alcohol test samples to arresting officers results in automatic arrest and suspension. These administrative suspensions usually persist for the full duration of the legally stipulated period regardless whether the motorist is actually convicted.
Suspensions can also last longer than the predetermined period demanded by law. For instance, states like Colorado, California, Georgia and others have all instituted mandatory penalties including alcohol education and treatment. Drivers who fail to pass such courses could effectively drag their suspensions out until they complete all requirements satisfactorily. On the other hand, completing courses voluntarily might reduce jail times and fine amounts. Most states enact graded suspension periods that increase with the number of previous offenses. A West Virginia motorist convicted of a third DWI, for example, will usually be given a minimum two-year suspension instead of the six months that would be received for a first DWI. An attorney with experience in DUI/DWI defense can provide a more detailed analysis of a particular client’s situation in this regard.