In order to try and avoid a suspension of driving privileges following a DUI arrest, it is necessary to contact the Driver Safety Office of the DMV within ten days to request a DMV Hearing. The hearing provides an opportunity to convince a DMV Hearing Officer to set aside the suspension and return the drivers license to the Licensee. However, if the hearing is lost and a suspension is ordered, this is not necessarily the end of the road.
Following a license suspension by the DMV for a DUI, the Licensee has appeal rights. A request for an administrative review can be submitted to the Driver Safety Office within fourteen days of the decision to suspend. The Driver Safety Office must then forward the evidence including the recording of the hearing to the head office of the DMV in Sacramento for review. There is a $120 fee for this review. The review process takes about six weeks, but the suspension is not stayed pending review.
In addition, a Writ of Mandate challenging the decision can be filed with the Superior Court. This is a complex legal appeal process requiring a lot of paperwork and patience. The benefit is that a Judge, not the DMV, will make the decision and the Judge has discretion to stay the imposition of the suspension pending the outcome of the appeal process. However, the process can take months, and can be very expensive. This appeal process does not give an opportunity for a new and fresh hearing on the facts, but is a review of the evidence and arguments presented at the original DMV hearing. A judge cannot set aside the suspension unless evidence is presented that the DMV exceeded their discretion or made the wrong decision in law. This can be difficult to show, particularly if the decision was a judgement call based on credibility of witness testimony.
A suspension of driving privileges can be devastating in Los Angeles due to the lack of public transport and the need to drive for work. If you have been arrested for DUI, please call Los Angeles and Orange County DMV lawyers Gold & Witham for a free consultation.