In the state of California, if you are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), there are two legal proceedings you can expect to face. One is a trial in court and the other is a hearing at the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The latter determines what happens to your driver’s license. Your Alamedia DUI lawyer can tell you what to expect during the DMV hearing and how you can prepare for it. It is helpful to know more before you attend the hearing.
What is a DMV Hearing?
The purpose of a DMV hearing after a DUI arrest is to see whether or not your license will be suspended. When a person is arrested for driving under the influence in the state of California, the police officer making the arrest confiscates their driver’s license and gives the individual a document called “Notice of Suspension.” The notice is essentially a temporary license for the next 30 days.
One of the other aspects of the notice is that it tells you that you can have a DMV hearing to prevent your license from being suspended. However, you are only entitled to the hearing if you request it within 10 days of being arrested.
You’re Rights at a DMV Hearing
Generally, DMV hearings are much more relaxed than regular trials in court. Instead of a judge, there is a DMV hearing officer presiding over the hearing. There is also the burden of proof to prove that you are guilty of driving under the influence. The hearing also takes place in an office or even on the phone, in some cases, instead of in a court.
You have certain rights at a DMV hearing. One of them is that you have a right to be represented by an attorney. However, this right is at your own expense, which means the DMV will not appoint one for you if you can’t afford one.
In addition, you are entitled to the following:
- Reviewing and challenging the evidence
• Being able to subpoena and bring forth witnesses, including the officer who arrested you
• Cross-examining witnesses
• Testifying on your own behalf
How to Win at a DMV Hearing
There are a few ways in which a DMV hearing officer may find in your favor. They include the following:
- If the arresting officer didn’t have probable cause to believe you were driving under the influence
• If the officer didn’t have legal cause to arrest you
• If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was 0.08 percent or less
If you refused to take a blood or chemical test, there are certain other questions, including the following:
- Did the officer inform you that if you refused to submit to the tests, your driver’s license would be suspended for one year or revoked for two or three?
• Did you willingly submit to a test after the officer asked you to?
Once these matters are taken into consideration, the DMV hearing officer will either suspend your license due to the DUI or reverse the suspension, which is essentially the same as getting a “not guilty” verdict.