DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES (DMV)
Most people think that so long as their blood alcohol level is below .08 they can avoid the consequences of an Administrative Per Se DUI suspension with the DMV. A majority of people are correct in this assumption. The .08 blood alcohol standard generally applies to individuals who are 21 years old and above. So long as people are in this age group they generally will not suffer an Administrative Per Se suspension for a DUI arrest from the DMV.
EXCEPTIONS TO RULE
However, there are always exceptions to a general rule. For instance, if a person is over the age of 21 and has a blood alcohol level below .08 and is on probation for a prior DUI, that person could receive a 1-year license suspension from the DMV. The standard is .01, zero tolerance. The person is not eligible for a restricted license and must complete the entire 1-year suspension before a license will be reissued to that person. If that person was not on DUI probation and it was a first DUI, at most they would have a 4-month license suspension.
FORCED BLOOD TEST
Also, if a person over 21 years old has a “forced blood test” of which the results are below .08, that person is subject to a 1-year license suspension. A forced blood test usually occurs when a person refuses to willfully submit to a breath or blood test which causes the officer to get a warrant for that person’s blood. Even though the results show less than .08, that person could lose their license for 1-year because of a refusal to submit to a chemical test. The suspension can be much longer if the person had suffered prior DUI’s
As a blanket rule the .08 standard applies to individuals under the age of 21 when arrested for a DUI. The zero tolerance rules apply to individuals under that age of 21 because these individuals are generally not allowed to legally consume alcohol. So, when a person under the age of 21 is arrested or merely detained for a DUI, that person could lose their license for at least 1-year. The person is only eligible for a restricted license if he/she voluntarily submitted to all requested chemical tests; this is a first DUI and can demonstrate a critical need to drive. If unable to demonstrate the above requirements to the DMV then the person will suffer from at least a 1-year license suspension.
In conclusion, the zero tolerance standards provide strict rules and consequences for those alleged to have violated it. The standard is low and the penalty is high. Stay tuned for our next edition.