How to Schedule a DMV Hearing After DUI Arrest
Scheduling Your DMV Hearing
California has a law requiring the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to immediately suspend the driver’s license of persons arrested for driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more, or who refuse a chemical test upon arrest.
This DMV administrative action against your driver’s license is independent of any criminal penalties imposed in court for conviction of the driving-under-the-influence (DUI) offense. If you are under age 21 and are caught driving with any a BAC of .01% or more as measured by a preliminary alcohol screening test, or if you refuse or fail to complete the test.
Your DMV hearing must be scheduled within 10 calendar days of your arrest. You may schedule the DMV hearing yourself, or you can have your attorney set it for you. In order to schedule the hearing, you will need to provide your statistical information including your driver’s license number, the agency that arrested you, and the type of chemical test you provided, i.e. blood or breath. Refer to the pink paper you were provided as your temporary license, as that will contain all of the information necessary to schedule the hearing. The benefit of having your attorney schedule the hearing is they will likely set the hearing at a date later than will be offered to you.
The purpose for the hearing is to preserve you driver’s license.
The 3 primary issues presented at the hearing include:
- Whether the officer has probable cause to stop you, (speeding, swerving, busted taillight, expired registration, etc.)
- Was your blood alcohol level at 0.08% or above
- Was it a reasonable arrest.
For example, if you were clocked by radar at 10 miles over the speed limit, and provided a breath test that listed a 0.12% BAC, there will be an uphill battle attempting to prevent the license suspension. The fact that the DMV hearing officer simultaneously sits as judge, jury, and prosecutor at the hearing complicates matters even further. The DMV hearing officer is empowered with the ability to suspend your license. They will do so unless sufficient evidence is given to show you were not driving under the influence, or that there was some clear violation of your rights during the arrest. It is not an “innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt” standard that is applied in the criminal case. If an attorney tells to you they have a high DMV hearing success rate, request to see proof of the successful DMV hearing findings. The overall success rate in DMV hearings is relatively low.
However, while it is the primary goal to prevent a license suspension, all is not lost if your license is suspended. The most important utility of the DMV hearing is that your attorney gets the opportunity to cross examine the arresting officer, and call into question the police reports before the criminal case is underway. The officer will not have reviewed the police reports for many weeks and will not have met with a prosecuting attorney to review the reports for inconsistencies at the time of the hearing. In the criminal case, a prosecutor will review all of the evidence prior to the contested hearing. If there are flaws or inconsistencies with the reports, they will sit down with the officer prior to the hearing to coach them on how to testify. That is not the case in the DMV hearing.
At the DMV hearing, the officer is a sitting duck for your attorney on cross examination. The DMV hearing transcript can then be used in the criminal case as leverage to beat the case or have the charges reduced.
For all of the above-referenced reasons, it is imperative that you ensure you are properly represented at the DMV hearing. An aggressive approach to the DMV hearing can posture the criminal case in a very favorable position even before your first court appearance.
Contact attorney Peter Blair for representation at your DMV hearing, he will fight to keep your driving privileges.
If you have recently been arrested and cited for driving under the influence (DUI), or operating under the influence or any other drinking and operating a vehicle violation, attorney Peter Blair is your best choice, contact us now for a free consultation.