How do I get my license back after a DUI arrest?

Justipedia Staff
Profile Picture of Justipedia Staff

Whether you're facing a legal issue or just seeking information, Justipedia aims to be your most trusted resource for legal information on the Web. With the help of legal professionals across the country, we put the law in plain language to help answer your top legal questions.

Justipedia was founded by Internet veterans Cory Janssen and Mitchell Allen. Janssen founded and grew it one of the largest investing sites on the Web. Allen is an author, speaker and the founder of LeadRival, the leading provider of pay-per-action advertising in consumer legal services. Full Bio


How do I get my license back after a DUI arrest?


When you have been arrested for a DUI, some states automatically suspend your license, even if you have not been convicted of the crime. In these states, you have to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles and arrange for a hearing within 10 days of the arrest to apply for a hardship license.

In states or jurisdictions that do not automatically suspend your license, your license may be restricted until you appear in court for the charges. At that time, if convicted, your license will be suspended or revoked.

Other areas do not impose any restrictions on your license until there has been a conviction.

What To Do If You Have Lost Your License
If your license has been suspended due to a DUI arrest or conviction, the first thing that you should do is seek the services of a DUI defense attorney. The attorney can aggressively represent you before the DMV board to obtain a restricted license.

A restricted license gives the person who has been arrested or convicted of a DUI the ability to drive themselves to work, to the grocery store or to medical appointments. The times that the driver can be behind the wheel and the distance from home may be restricted by the DMV or court system.

If the accused or convicted person is not eligible for a restricted license, they will have to wait the entire length of their suspension before they can get their license back. At that time, the person will most likely have to show that they have completed all of their court imposed penalties, paid all their fines and completed a DUI driving course.

Many states will also require that the driver carry additional car insurance, a special coverage that applies in the event of a DUI-related accident or incident that could happen if the driver gets behind the wheel under the influence again.

The length of suspension can run from six months to five years depending on the charges and penalties imposed by the court.

When you hire a DUI defense attorney, they can work toward preventing a license suspension or greatly reducing the time that the license is suspended in the circumstances where a conviction is eminent. Your attorney can also help defend you in court.

A DUI conviction has many other issues other than the loss of driving privileges. If convicted, there is a chance that the person will have to go to jail, pay large fines, complete community service, and attend drug and alcohol classes to regain their driving privileges.

There are also personal consequences associated with a conviction that most people do not realize until it is too late. Hiring a DUI defense attorney helps the accused avoid or lessen these consequences.

It is possible to keep your driving privileges after you have been arrested or convicted of a DUI. Your attorney may be able to convince the court to allow you to install an ignition interlock device. Many courts are imposing this penalty instead of suspending licenses because of the financial hardships the suspension brings to the individual and their family.

You may be very distraught after a potential loss of driving privileges after a DUI, but all is not lost. An expert lawyer who practices in the area of DUI can keep you informed about all the aspects of your case including the likelihood that you could lose your license for a time period, and also offer options that can help in efforts to preserve it.

Have a question? Ask Justipedia here.

View all questions from Justipedia.

Connect with us

Justipedia on Linkedin
Justipedia on Linkedin
"Justipedia" on Twitter

Sign up for Justipedia's Free Newsletter!


  • A jury is composed of twelve men of average ignorance.

    - Herbert Spencer