Skip to Content
Free Criminal Consultation! 805-467-6060

How to Get a Restricted License in California


After being arrested for a DUI in California, whether the results of the chemical test show a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least .08 percent or you refuse to take a chemical test, your driver’s license will be suspended by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). A first offense leads to license suspension for four (4) months. 

Your Legal Options Following a DUI Arrest 

Upon arrest, the arresting officer will confiscate your license and issue you an “order of suspension,” along with a temporary license, which allows you to drive for 30 days until the four-month suspension period takes effect. Not only do you have a right to request an administrative hearing from the DMV within 10 days following your arrest, but you can also obtain a “restricted driver’s license” that allows you to keep your driving privileges under certain conditions. 

What is a Restricted License? 

If you win your DMV hearing, your driver’s license will not be suspended. On the other hand, if you lose your hearing, you can still obtain a restricted license, which allows DUI offenders to maintain their driving privileges while their criminal case is pending. 

However, drivers who refused to take a post-arrest chemical test, drove with a suspended or revoked license at the time of their DUI arrest, or were sentenced to a “hard suspension" are ineligible for a restricted license. Hard suspension periods prohibit drivers from operating a vehicle whatsoever. 

There are two restricted license options: install an ignition interlock device (IID) or enter a DUI program. If you install an IID, the restricted license enables you to drive to any place at any time for up to four months. 

In order to apply for the IID-restricted license, you must do all the following: 

  • Visit a DMV office 

  • Pay a $125 APS fee 

  • Provide proof of insurance (SR 22) 

  • Provide proof of IID installation (DL 92) 

  • Provide proof of DUI program enrollment 

If you do not want to have an IID installed in your vehicle(s), you may apply for a restricted license that allows you to drive to and from the workplace and while you’re working, as well as to and from your DUI program for a maximum five-month period. 

To apply for this type of restricted license, you must do all the following: 

  • Serve 30 days of your four-month suspension period 

  • Visit a DMV office 

  • Pay a $125 APS fee 

  • Provide proof of insurance (SR 22) 

  • Provide proof of DUI program enrollment 

After you serve maintain your restricted license for a specific amount of time—or serve the four-month suspension period—you may request to have your driver’s license reinstated without any restrictions. 

What Happens If I’m Convicted of DUI? 

Remember, the driver’s license suspension after an arrest is separate from license suspension after conviction since the latter suspension period is imposed by the criminal court, rather than the DMV. If you are convicted of a DUI in California, a first offense carries license suspension between six (6) and ten (10) months, depending on your BAC level at the time of your arrest. 

If the court orders IID installation, you will be eligible for a restricted license. The DMV will mark your driver’s license and place a restriction on your driving record, so police officers will have knowledgeable of the IID requirement if you are stopped. 

If the court did not order IID installation, you are still eligible for the two restricted license options mentioned above. But rather than paying the $125 APS fee, you will pay a $55 reissue fee, a $15 restriction fee, and an IID restriction fee (if you apply for a restricted license with an IID). 

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Santa Barbara, call Appel & Morse at (805) 467-6060 or complete our online contact form today for a free criminal consultation! Get a team of former prosecutors on your side. 

Share To: