If you are convicted of DUI, you’re going to lose your license. In fact, the officer will probably confiscate it when you are arrested. When do you get it back?

First of all, you may not be guilty of DUI. That’s why it’s a bit problematic that they can take your license during an arrest. If you never get convicted, you still go through the inconvenience of not having a license for at least a short time. Law enforcement will return it to you once your case is finished and they find that there’s no reason to issue an official suspension.

How long it takes if you do are convicted on DUI charges depends on the specifics of the case. Here in California, if you are at least 21 years old, the legal drinking age, you lose your license of four months for a first offense. If it’s a second or subsequent offense within 10 years after the first offense, then it jumps up to a suspension for a full year.

If you’re under the legal drinking age, almost any reading — a blood alcohol concentration of 0.01% of more — can result in a one-year suspension. The idea here is that you could not legally drink at all, so this isn’t a case where you accidentally had too much. You knowingly broke the law by drinking in the first place and then broke it again when you drove. California has very strict laws for that type of violation, and it’s crucial for you to know what legal rights you have.