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What you need to know about a DMV hearing in California?

By James

When someone is stopped and arrested for a DUI charge, their driver’s license will be suspended. Once the driver’s license is revoked or suspended, the driver may have to attend a DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) hearing. The arresting officer will inform the driver that their driving privileges have been suspended. After that, you just have 10 days to request a hearing and have it reinstated; otherwise you will face an automatic driver's license suspension. At the DMV hearing, the license suspension will be reviewed to determine whether it was justified or not.

A DUI defense lawyer can help with license suspensions and have your license reinstated. The lawyer will go over all the evidence and details thoroughly and investigate them. Witnesses will be interviewed and data will be cross examined. DMV knows how to handle these cases as they do it on a daily basis. You will need help from an experienced and qualified DUI defense attorney to review your case and present it. The lawyer will review whether the officer had probable cause for arrest, whether the arrest was lawful, and if your BAC level was within the legal limit allowed, or if it was over the legal limit. In case you refused a chemical test, you may have to face additional consequences.

All facts and details will be presented in the hearing and you will also be given an opportunity to provide a testimony and present any witnesses to support you. However, the key thing to keep in mind is that a DMV hearing is not the place to prove your innocence. The hearing provides an opportunity to review the license suspension and the reasons which lead to the suspension. You will later have to appear in criminal court to make an argument to prove your innocence.

What happens immediately after a DUI arrest?

After your arrest, the arresting officer is required to immediately forward a copy of the notice of suspension or revocation form by law, along with any driver’s license which was taken into possession, to the DMV. Once that is done, the DMV will conduct an administrative review of the case, including an examination of the officer’s report, as well as the suspension or revocation order, and result of any tests that you took.

What if the officer confiscated your driver’s license at the time of arrest?

After a DUI arrest, the police give the driver a pink notice of suspension along with a temporary driver’s license. This usually happens at the time of release from jail for a DUI. The driver’s license may be suspended for up to 3 years if the driver refused to take a chemical test for a third offense DUI arrest. In order to get your license back, you will have to pay a mandatory fee of $125 to the DMV to reissue your driver’s license. DMV cannot hold on to your license unless there is reason to keep it.

What if you refused to take a chemical test?

In California, you are required by law to submit to a chemical test in order to determine if you were driving while under the influence of a drug or alcohol. The officer may request you to submit to a blood test or a urine test. Refusing to provide a chemical test may lead to additional enhancements to your DUI charge.

What actually is a DMV suspension or revocation?

A DMV suspension or revocation is an administrative action taken against a person’s driving privileges only. If the DUI charge becomes a DUI conviction, then any license suspension as a result of the conviction is mandatory, along with additional penalties such as fines and jail time.

What happens if you win the DMV hearing?

There is a misconception that if you win the DMV hearing and get your license back, it means you are innocent. However, that is not the case. Even if you win the DMV hearing, you can end up getting convicted for a DUI. You may get your license back, but that is not proof to show in criminal court that you were driving sober and were not under the influence of an intoxicant.

If winning the DMV hearing does not prove your innocence, this does not in any case imply that you can afford to lose the DMV hearing. If you lose at the hearing, it reduces your chances of winning the criminal case related to your DUI in court. If the license suspension is justified, it will be used as evidence against you in the DUI case. This is why it is advised to get in touch with a qualified and experienced DUI defense attorney in California.

When should you contact the DMV?

In order to protect your driving privileges after a DUI arrest, you must contact the DMV within 10 days of the arrest. The temporary license which is given after the arrest only lasts 30 days. By contacting the DMV in time, you make sure that your driving privileges will not be suspended, unless a decision is made at the hearing.

The DMV “APS Hearing”

A drunken driving arrest also triggers a DMV administrative action to suspend your driving privilege. The DMV “Administrative Per Se (APS) Hearing” gives you an opportunity to challenge the DMV’s attempt to restrict or suspend your driver’s license.

Can you drive while waiting for your DMV Hearing?

In order for you to be able to drive before the DMV Hearing, you or your lawyer will have to obtain a “stay” or postponement of your driver’s license suspension pending the result of the DMV hearing. In order to petition the DMV for such a stay, you must contact the DMV within 10 days of your arrest.

What happens at the DMV hearing?

The DMV hearing is conducted by a hearing officer where the officer makes the final decision based on the presented evidence. It is similar to the hearing in a criminal case. In order to be able to win at the hearing, it is advised to hire an experienced DUI defense attorney.

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