There is a strange phase we all go through where we choose the hardest roads possible and refuse to listen to anyone. We decide that our favorite ways to learn are the hard ways. This phase is commonly called our “teenage years” and, for most of us, we wish we could do them all over again…especially when alcohol or drugs are involved.
As a teenager’s favorite way to learn is the hard way, run-ins with the law are not uncommon. Most of the time, minor offenses are chalked up to “teenage angst.” Sometimes, however, the court takes these seemingly minor offenses and makes a huge deal out of them, resulting in severe punishments and loss of privileges. This is especially true when it comes to alcohol and drugs.
When adults get a DUI, the court and the DMV will suspend their license, usually for a few months. This all changes when the person is under 21.
You see, if you are under 21 and get busted for an offense involving alcohol or drugs, the court suspends your license, at the very least, for one year. If you do not yet have a license, the court orders the DMV to delay the issuance of your license for a year. For each successive offense, the court suspends your license, or delays the issuance of your license, for an additional year. This statute can be found in the California Vehicle Code section 13202.5 or here: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d06/vc13202_5.htm
So what violations trigger this one year suspension? There are several violations which will trigger this one year suspension: a person under 21 attempting to purchase alcohol, using a fake ID to attempt to purchase alcohol, having alcohol in your possession on the street, highway, public place, or place open to the public, vehicular manslaughter, and being under the influence of alcohol or drugs in a public place. All these same violations apply to being under the influence of drugs as well.
So, basically, if you get busted for anything having to do with drugs or alcohol, and you are under 21, expect that your license will be suspended for at least a year.
So is there anything you can do about it? The answer is “YES!”
First, if you find yourself, or a loved one (or, I guess, someone you don’t love too), has committed one of these “teenage angst” violations, call an experienced attorney. We can help.
Once your license has been suspended, you or your attorney can file an application showing a “critical need to drive.” The application is called a DS694 and is filed with the DMV. You can find the form here: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/forms/ds/ds694.pdf. The application shows the DMV that your driving privileges shouldn’t be suspended because it is 100% necessary for you to drive. Once filed, the DMV will make a ruling based on your application and might allow you a restricted license.
So what needs to be included in the application? One thing you must remember is that the application calls for you to show a “critical need” to drive. The restricted license will not be granted if it’s simply inconvenient for you license to be suspended. That being said, there are a few things that need to be included in the application if you feel that you really do have a “critical need” to drive.
For one, they will ask why nobody else in your family can drive you places. They want driver’s license numbers, dates of births, and detailed explanations as to why each driver in your family cannot take you where you need to go.
They will then ask why taxis, vanpools, carpools, bicycles, and walking are not sufficient options. They want to know what bus routes are close to you, what times they leave, and why taking the bus is not a sufficient option. Miles and minutes are the details that please the DMV the most.
Once you do all the bus research, if you are asking for the restricted license because of school or work, you need to have your boss and or a school official vouch that you do, in fact, need to drive to school or work. You need your boss to say that they need you at work at certain times and that he cannot have you come in at any other time. Your school official needs to say that you have to be at class by a certain time. After that, it needs to be proven that you have no other way to get to work or school by these times, except for driving yourself there.
Finally, you need to prove that working or going to school is critical. You need to prove that quitting your job is not an option for you or your family. As with your job, you need to prove that going to school is also necessary.
Even after doing everything you can to show the DMV that driving is “critical” to your livelihood, they still might say that there are other ways for you to get places. Just because driving yourself is more convenient does not mean that there is a “critical need.”
Again, if you find yourself, or know of an “angst ridden teenager” in this situation, call an experienced attorney. We can help at 800-797-8406. We will help with the forms and handle the case in such a way that you don’t regret your decision to “learn things the hard way” too much.