DMV Hearing Issues
The Department of Motor Vehicles hearing is generally more favorable to the prosecution. At the DMV hearing, the prosecution is the judge. The judge and prosecution will have the results of chemical tests as well as the police reports in front of them. The DUI / DWI defense attorney will be prepared with any possible objections to the police reports and other evidence being taken into consideration at the hearing. For the most part, the evidence will be objected to for being hearsay.
Other than objections to evidence, the California criminal defense lawyer will try to convince the judge that there was no reasonable cause to believe that the driver was driving a vehicle while under the influence or that there was no lawful reason to stop the driver in the first place. The attorney will seek to argue that the arrest was unlawful. If the arrest was unlawful, any chemical tests taken after the arrest will be inadmissible. Further, the attorney will seek to argue that the driver’s blood alcohol content levels were not .08 percent or higher at the time of driving.
To recap, the three major issues are:
- That police had reasonable cause to believe the driver of the vehicle was under the influence of alcohol.
- That the arrest was lawful.
- That at the time of driving the driver’s blood alcohol content was above the legal limit.
The drunk driving defense attorney, no matter how skilled and experienced, will be up against the low standard of proof required at a DMV hearing. Department of Motor Vehicles hearings are not criminal hearings and cannot result in criminal sanctions or punishments. In criminal courts a driver must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In the DMV hearing, a civil hearing concerning driving privileges, the standard for guilt is significantly lower than the reasonable doubt standard. In DMV hearings the standard is a preponderance of the evidence.
The preponderance of evidence standard simply requires the judge to find based on the information before them that something probably happened. In terms of DUI / DWI, the judge will look at police reports and other evidence and decide whether a driver was probably driving under the influence. If the judge finds that the driver probably was above the legal limit or otherwise under the influence of alcohol, then the driver’s license will be subject to suspension.
In a Department of Motor Vehicles hearing, a driver’s best chance at maintaining some driving privileges is to hire a California criminal defense attorney with vast experience in DUI / DWI cases. It is not easy to defend a case against the low standard of preponderance of evidence. Therefore, it is best for your case to be handled by those who know the process inside and out and can use technical knowledge to have evidence thrown out when necessary. For a free evaluation, contact The Kavinoky Law Firm.