DMV hearings and arrest for a DUI under California Vehicle Code 23152 VC are closely related. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) controls someone's driver's license, meaning they enforce the laws related to the suspension of a license.
Whenever someone is arrested for a DUI, and their license is taken away, one of the aspects of the DUI case is dealing with the DMV. Unfortunately, they have a lot of power in these cases because they can suspend your driver's license.
Part of getting a driver's license in California is subjecting yourself to being tested by the police if they believe you are driving under the influence of alcohol or some other substance affecting your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. That's called the implied consent law.
When our law firm is retained, we will call the Department of Motor Vehicles using the attorney line to let them know we are on the DUI case and then ask them for an administrative hearing date.
We will also request a stay on any suspension that the DMV might be considering until we can get a hearing. If we do this within ten days of the arrest, they will give us a hearing date, and you can continue driving for the moment.
On the date of the hearing, we will call the DMV, or you have the option of appearing in person. Once the hearing officer is on the call, they will present their evidence, such as the police report. Next, we will give an opening statement and present our evidence.
Still, you need to keep in mind that the administrative hearing is essentially a kangaroo court because the hearing officer presenting evidence against you is also the same person who will rule over objections and the same person who will ultimately decide whether or not the driver's license is suspended. Let's take a closer look at this topic below.
Why Should I Hire a Defense Lawyer?
Some ideas, first and foremost, would be to hire an attorney. If you've got a DUI, take it seriously. Your attorney will call the DMV on your behalf within ten days of your arrest and set up a hearing on your behalf to protect your driver's license. When we're looking at the hearing and some ideas, we want to be looking and focusing on:
- did the police pull you over lawfully? That's one thing that the DMV must prove in a DUI case.
- was your blood alcohol level a .08 greater?
- did you refuse to take the chemical test?
- did the police lawfully arrest you?
In other words, did they arrest you for no reason, or did they have good reason to arrest you because they were suspicious that you were under the influence of alcohol or some other stimulants?
So, that's number one. Get an attorney. Let the attorney set the hearing for you. Let the attorney get a game plan together for you so that you can figure out how to protect your rights best as they relate to your driving record and your ability to drive a motor vehicle.
How Can You Challenge the DMV Hearing Officer?
Another idea is to look at all of the angles available to you to attack the DMV hearing officer at the hearing. They can take your license away for two reasons.
First, you violated a law because they had an administrative hearing, and they decided that you were driving under the influence of alcohol at the administrative hearing.
In this case, you'll lose your driver's license for 30 days on a first offense. You'll then get it back on a restricted basis if you jump through some hoops so that you can drive to and from work, to and from any alcohol program, and sometimes even to and from school.
If the DMV hearing officer believes it's a close call and the police report doesn't cover everything, they will call the police officer as a witness, either in person or over the phone. They will ask the officer questions about the police report, and your lawyer will get the opportunity to ask them questions.
The defense can also call witnesses. The defense can contact their client. Often, the hearing officers will ask at the beginning of the hearing if counsel will call their client a witness.
We could also call on other witnesses or even an expert. Perhaps you blew close to the .08; you can ask an expert to show that they didn't think you were a .08 or greater, and thus, your license shouldn't be suspended.
Contact a DUI Defense Professional
If you or a family member was charged with a DUI in Los Angeles and worried about the DMV hearing, then you want to ensure you get someone who knows what they're doing to obtain the best possible outcome.
You want to have the attorney guiding you. You want to make sure that you cover every angle as it relates to defending yourself from the DUI:
- Look to see if the police properly stopped you,
- Look to see if the police violated any of your constitutional rights,
- Is the test that they ran on you valid?
- Is your blood alcohol level over .08?
There are a whole bunch of different angles and ideas that can be utilized to try to help you with the DMV. Your best bet is to hire an attorney to champion your rights in that regard.
If you need the best, pick up the phone and ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. Let my 30 years of experience go to work for you. I've worked for the district attorney's office. We'll talk about everything related to your DUI.
I've worked for a superior court judge, and I've worked for people just like you since the early 1990s. The Hedding Law Firm is based in Los Angeles, California. We provide a free case consultation via phone or the contact form.