I’ve been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. What happens to my license?

 In Laws, Resources, State Information

What happens to your license after you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol depends very much on what state you were arrested in and the charge that was placed against you.  Here are some general guidelines.

Find your state law

Every state has different charges and sanctions for those arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.  It’s best to check your state’s statutes directly to understand the law, but a good summary of state laws can be found on the National Council of State Legislator’s website.

Know if and when your license will be suspended before court

One of the most important things to know is if you state’s licensing agency takes immediate action after your arrest but before you go to court.  This is known as administrative licensing action and takes effect after arrest.  These actions impact your ability to drive legally even without a conviction of driving while impaired under the influence of alcohol.  

What is an administrative license suspension (ALS)?

Actions include suspending or revoking your license as soon as you fail or refuse to take a chemical test (Breath, blood or other bodily fluids can be tested for alcohol.  Typically this is done by a breathalyzer device at a law enforcement agency office after arrest). The procedure is known as administrative license suspension (ALS) and is imposed for the first test failure/refusal in 40 states and the District of Columbia. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety – Highway Data Loss Institute provides a clear chart of each state’s sanctions and how installing and interlock and applying for a special license can keep you on the road.

Find out if installing an ignition interlock will prevent or shorten an ALS

LifeSafer Ignition Interlock devices are installed in your vehicle and prevent the vehicle from starting if alcohol is detected.  Just like the breathalyzer tests that law enforcement uses to confirm if you are driving while impaired by alcohol, the LifeSafer handset takes a  breath sample into the fuel cell chamber. The presence of alcohol in the sensor chamber causes the fuel cell to produce an increased electrical current, which is measured and translated into an equivalent blood alcohol concentration (BAC).   If the sample measures below the pre-set limit determined by your jurisdiction’s monitoring authority, the unit will read “Pass” and you can start your vehicle and be on your way. To restore your license and keep driving, check your with your state’s licensing agency, an interlock can keep you on the road.

Ok, so an ignition interlock qualifies me to drive — now what?

When you are ready to install your interlock, call LifeSafer at 800-634-3077.  The state-specific to restoring your driving privilege with an interlock can include a mandatory period of no driving, alcohol treatment classes, fines and special forms.   We’ll set up your installation appointment at a conveniently located authorized service center when you call, and ensure that you have any needed forms.  Our interlock devices are affordable and we offer discounts and special pricing that your agent can discuss when you call.   

 

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