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Ways to Win DMV Hearings

field sobriety test

If you have just been arrested for drunk driving in the Los Angeles area, you only have ten days to request a hearing at the Department of Motor Vehicles. This DMV hearing is not your criminal hearing, and it is completely optional, but it is your only chance to fight driver's license suspension (Administrative Per Se “APS” suspension).

It is possible to win this hearing if you have an experienced drunk driving attorney on your side. Gold & Witham often employs the following strategies for winning DMV hearings for clients.

Was the police stop lawful?

If the police stop wasn't lawful, then all subsequent evidence obtained could be thrown out. In order to stop your vehicle, police must have set up a lawful sobriety checkpoint OR they must have had reasonable suspicion that you committed a crime or traffic violation. An officer may have observed you swerving, driving at night with your headlights off, or speeding. All are legitimate reasons for a police stop. One way we can win a DMV hearing is by successfully proving that the police stop was not lawful.

Was there probable cause for your arrest?

The police must have reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle, and they must also have probable cause to arrest you. Police can get probable cause by way of a field sobriety test such as a walk and turn test, horizontal gaze nystagmus, one leg stand, or preliminary alcohol screening “PAS” test. They may also use other cues such as observing bloodshot eyes or smelling alcohol on a driver's breath to justify an arrest for DUI.

Did the police use proper procedure when administering the field sobriety tests?

All police in the United States must use the same procedures for standardized field sobriety testing (SFST). If your arresting officer administered one or more of these tests in a way that did not adhere to the guidelines, you could win your DMV hearing.

Did your arresting officer explain your rights to you?

Upon arrest, the officer must explain your rights to you. This includes your Miranda Rights (your right to remain silent and retain an attorney), your right to an independent chemical test if you so choose, and the consequence of automatic license suspension for refusing to take a chemical test. If your arresting officer did not explain your rights to you, this could be grounds for winning a DMV hearing.

Was the chemical test accurate?

Chemical tests are the cornerstone of evidence used to prosecute DUI cases. Without an accurate chemical test, a judge will not have enough evidence to convict and the DMV will not have enough evidence to take your driver's license away. Our attorneys and the experts we work with could make a case for improper chemical test calibration, defective breathalyzer or blood testing machines, or other factors that could have altered your BAC reading (such as food, drink, or certain medical conditions).

Were you driving/did the officer see you operating your vehicle?

Did your arresting officer actually observe you driving your vehicle? Under California law, a police officer must observe you in actual, physical control of a vehicle to arrest you for driving under the influence. If evidence shows that you were not operating your vehicle at the time of the arrest, you may win your DMV hearing.

Contact a Los Angeles DUI attorney at Gold & Witham today to discuss defense representation at your DMV hearing!