How "departmental" is the Department of Motor Vehicles?
Although the "mission statement" of the California DMV professes an aspiration to do "justice" to the needs of, and administrative actions against, California's licensed drivers, in fact, the Department is above all a political organization. Apparently governed by the lobby Mothers against Drunk Driving in spirit, the DMV seems devoted to suspending, not protecting, the license of the casual drinking driver. Unlike the judicial/court system, where the Judge is (officially and ostensibly) independent of the prosecutor and defense attorney, in a DMV DUI hearing the "judge" (the administrative hearing officer) is the "prosecutor" (the same hearing officer): the person bringing the claim against you is the same person deciding whether you are liable of the violation! There is no independent "magistrate," as in administrative hearings in other states.
I know of no hearing officers trained or licensed as attorneys, criminalists or criminal justice theorists. I know of few hearing officers that have college, university or graduate degrees. I do know of one hearing officer promoted from receptionist to hearing officer, entrusted to decide abstruse issues of law and science that can be challenging to dui lawyers with years of trained experience!
A few years back, an interdepartmental memo from DMV to its administrative staff was intercepted astonishingly instructing its hearing officers to aim for finding suspensions; ie, if there's a doubt, "suspend"! The Department is "depart-mental" (ie, say "goodbye" to your licence) when it comes to giving a "fair" hearing.
Your California DMV defense attorney, graduate and college-educated, uniquely trained in the law and diplomacy of DMV administrative actions, is the only force between your license and the order-takers (and it's obviously not your order) at the local DMV. Representation by yourself, by "cheap" and untrained lawyers, by Big Bazooka DUI blather-brokers ("we'll take your case up on a writ, dammit!") will all but assure you the eventual "Notice of Findings and Decision," suspending your licence.
Gold & Witham, DMV Hearing Defense Attorneys. Justice is not a "department" -- it's what you're owed.