DUIs and the DMV Process
After a DUI arrest in California, you only have 10 days to request a DMV hearing in order to keep your license to drive. If you do not request the DMV hearing on time, your license will automatically be suspended after 30 days.
After your arrest, the police will confiscate your driver’s license and give you a DMV paper that will act as your temporary license. It may take you a couple of times reading through that paper to understand what it really says, what the consequences are, and how you can fight your license suspension. Unfortunately, the DMV does not make it all that easy to request a DMV hearing.
Fortunately, a DUI defense attorney with experience filing for DMV hearings and representing clients before DMV hearings will be able to quickly make sure your DMV hearing request gets scheduled in a timely manner, so you can keep your license to drive.
DMV License Suspension Hearing After a DUI
A DMV administrative hearing is different from the criminal court hearing. You have to formally request a DMV hearing within ten days of your arrest in order to prevent your license from being suspended. The process and procedure involved in a DMV hearing is different than the criminal court, and an attorney without a record of successfully handling license suspension hearings may be unfamiliar with the DMV process. This is why it is important to consider the level of experience your attorney has in dealing specifically with DUI cases, including the criminal and administrative process.
If you do not request a hearing, your license will be administratively suspended after 30 days. If you request a hearing, your temporary license to drive may be extended past 30 days. If you win your DMV hearing, you can keep your license from automatically being suspended. If you lose, your license was scheduled to be suspended already. There is really nothing to lose by requesting a DMV hearing.
What a DMV Hearing is NOT
Many people who decide to file a DMV hearing request on their own may find that the process is not what they expected. Some people go into the hearing to tell the DMV hearing officer why they need to keep their license, how it will be a hardship if their license is suspended, and they plan to plead to keep their license to drive. This is not the intention of a DMV hearing. The DMV hearing officer will not let you keep your license just because you need to drive for school, work, or to take care of your kids. If you do not go into the hearing fully prepared, your license will be suspended and you will have lost your chance to fight to keep your license.
DMV Hearing Process
The DMV hearing officer can only consider a limited number of issues to determine whether the circumstances surrounding your arrest justify a license suspension. This includes whether you took a blood, breath, or urine test, whether the police officer had reasonable cause for the arrest, whether your blood alcohol content (BAC) was over the per se limit of 0.08% for most drivers, and/or whether you refused a chemical blood or breath test. The earlier you contact your DUI defense lawyer, the more time they will have to investigate your case. Your lawyer will look for facts and circumstances that will help your case before the DMV hearing officer so that you can keep your driver’s license.
Your DMV Hearing Attorney
Remember to contact your DUI defense lawyer within 10 days to allow them time to file your DMV hearing request. Your attorney will fight to not only keep you from being convicted of criminal DUI charges, but also represent you at the DMV hearing so that you can keep your license to drive.