Los Angeles DMV Hearing Attorney
If you have been arrested for DUI, you should have received a notice of your arrest as well as a notice to request an administrative hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Each DUI offense has two components: the criminal and the administrative. The DMV hearing is purely administrative and deals with a person's right to drive rather than criminal conviction.
Our Los Angeles DUI attorneys can help schedule this hearing and also represent you before the administrative officer. If you fail to request a DMV hearing within 10 days of your arrest, your driver's license will be automatically suspended after 30 days. The DMV hearing is your one opportunity to restore your driving privileges after a DUI arrest—so utilize this right.
DUI Defense for DMV Hearings
The administrative hearing will only evaluate your driving privileges, so if you were arrested for some type of DUI, your attorney will be there to prove that the arrest / charge was not valid.
Gold & Witham is prepared to do this by:
- Challenging the results of your chemical test
- Challenging the method used to administer the test
- Challenging the lawfulness of your DUI stop
Before the DMV hearing, you are entitled to discovery. Discovery means you can have access to the documents that the DMV will use. In most cases, discovery will include the following:
- Police Report
- Copies of Any Witness Statements
- Your DMV Record
- Your Arresting Officer's Sworn Statement
In some cases, you may have to submit a formal written request to receive these documents.
Understanding the DMV Process
A DMV hearing can be held in person at the DMV or even over the phone. We suggest that the hearing is done in person, as this is often more effective in our experience. Be sure to note in your request for the administrative hearing that you would like an in-person hearing. The documents that you can request in the discovery are the same documents that the administrative hearing officer will be using in your case. If you choose to have a DUI attorney present, then they will be given an opportunity to contest the evidence in the hopes of getting your driver's license suspension withdrawn. In most cases, the administrative officer will not make a decision then-and-there, but will wait to make a decision and then inform the defendant by mail.
Issues Addressed at the DMV Hearing
Listed below are potential points of argument at the DMV hearing:
- Was there "reasonable suspicion" for the law enforcement official to pull you over? Many people are pulled over under suspicion of drunk driving for "weaving" even if within the confines of a single lane. Per California case law, weaving can be a legitimate reason to pull a person over, but only if it was prominent and occurred for a substantial distance.
- Did the arresting officer actually witness you driving the vehicle? The DMV must establish that you were driving the vehicle within three hours before the chemical test, which takes place after an arrest. If the DMV cannot factually establish that you were driving the vehicle within this time frame, then you may be able to get your suspension withdrawn.
- Is the chemical test accurate? It is important to remember that when you go into a DMV hearing, the DMV is presuming that the chemical test is accurate. Your DUI attorney must prove the contrary. Some of the things that we can analyze are the prior experience of your arresting officer with the breath testing machine, your arresting officer's actual qualifications, the track record and margin of error of the type of chemical test used in your case, and more. We can even petition that your blood sample be re-tested for accuracy.
- Is the chemical test accurate in relation to the actual time you were driving? The DMV must establish that your BAC was 0.08 percent or higher at the time you were driving. This is important because people who consume alcohol very close to their time of driving may not have had enough time to fully absorb the alcohol, which can give a higher BAC reading.
- Was there a chemical test refusal? Per implied consent laws, everyone who is lawfully arrested for drunk driving must submit to a chemical test. Refusal to submit to a chemical test can result in automatic suspension of your driver's license for a longer period than a simple DUI would have called for. Some people do not actually know that they are required to submit to a chemical test, either because they are not informed or they are confused.
- Does your arresting officer have all the necessary paperwork? Something as seemingly small as a discrepancy in the paperwork can result in a withdrawal of your suspension. We can evaluate the arresting officer's paperwork to determine if everything was filled out.
The DMV can impose administrative penalties on those who either forego the DMV hearing or who are not successful at this hearing. Your driving privileges can be suspended for up to four months for a first DUI. After fulfilling 30 days of your suspension, you may be able to petition for a hardship license, which allows you to drive to certain locations if you can prove that a total suspension would result in unnecessary hardship. If this is your second or subsequent DUI arrest, then the DMV could impose a one-year suspension on your driver's license. For failure to submit to a chemical test, the DMV has the right to suspend your license for a period of one to three years. The length of suspension for chemical test refusal depends heavily upon prior convictions.
At Gold & Witham, we are skilled in the discovery of those possibilities and aggressively defend you. Don't take chances with any drunk driving charges. Enlist the assistance of Gold & Witham.