DUI Attorney in Sacramento Explains the DMV License Hearing Process
At the time of a DUI arrest in California, the arresting officer will confiscate the driver’s license and provide the charged individual with a notice of suspension. This pink slip acts as a temporary license for 30 days as legal proceedings take place. It also serves as a notice to the driver of his or her right to request a DMV DUI hearing. A DMV license hearing must be requested by the arrested individual within 10 days of the arrest. During this hearing, an individual may prevent the suspension of his or her license during court proceedings. If an individual does not request the hearing within 10 days, they lose the right to a hearing and their license will automatically be suspended after 30 days. If you have been arrested for a DUI, make sure to contact a DUI attorney in Sacramento.
Once eligible, the charged individual must complete the following to reinstate a suspended license:
- California DUI school
- Submit an SR-22 insurance form
- Pay a fee of $125
- Install an ignition interlock device – dependent on details of the case
DMV License Hearing
A DMV license hearing is a more relaxed legal proceeding than typical court trials for several reasons:
- It is held at a DMV safety office, not in court. Courts have many traditions that lead to confusion and intimidation.
- The presiding individual is a DMV hearing officer, not an officiant of the court. This person does not have any formal legal training and therefore is not such an imposing figure as a judge.
- DMV DUI hearings have a much lower threshold for the burden of proof. This means the amount of evidence required is much less than during court proceedings.
- A DMV DUI hearing can even take place over the phone.
Though the setting may be less formal and intimidating, DMV DUI hearings do affect whether you can drive while your DUI case is being heard. The DMV hearing won’t affect fines, jail time, or anything like that, but it can affect your driving privileges. Not being able to drive throughout the court hearing can be very disruptive, so it’s important to take advantage of your right to request a hearing and to take the hearing seriously. A DUI attorney in Sacramento can explain in more details as it pertains to your case.
Scheduling the Hearing
To schedule your hearing, which must be done within ten days of the arrest, you must contact your local DMV driver safety branch office. This is where the hearing will take place and is a different location than where driver’s licenses are distributed and vehicles are registered.
If you choose to have a DUI attorney in Sacramento, they may request and schedule your hearing for you, so long as the request is made within ten days. Your attorney may also appear on your behalf, allowing you to stay home if you don’t need to testify. In fact, many times the hearing is conducted over the phone.
During a DUI DMV hearing, all individuals have the right to:
- Be represented by an attorney, but you will be financially responsible – Unlike court hearings, an attorney will not be provided if you cannot afford one.
- Review and challenge evidence
- Call upon witnesses – This includes the arresting officer
- Cross-examine witnesses
- Testify on your own behalf
Winning the Hearing
There are several issues that may be considered during a DUI DMV hearing, such as:
- Was there probable cause to believe you were driving under the influence?
- Was there lawful cause to place you under arrest?
- Was your blood alcohol content (BAC) 0.08% or greater? – This is a separate offense from generally driving under the influence.
If you refused to submit to a chemical breath or blood test to determine BAC, the last question does not matter and instead the DMV hearing officer will be interested in the following:
- Did the officer inform you that refusing to submit to a blood or breath test would result in a suspension of driving privileges for one year or a revocation of such privileges for up to three years?
- Did you willfully refuse to take a chemical blood or breath test after being asked to provide a sample?
After hearing all circumstances surrounding the case, the DMV hearing officer will either suspend your driver’s license or reverse the suspension of your driver’s license. If at least one of these issues can be refuted, the hearing officer should reverse the suspension. A DUI attorney in Sacramento can help you refute the case. Some examples include:
- You were not driving
- You were arrested at an illegal DUI checkpoint – There are strict regulations regarding these checkpoints and if they are not all met, the checkpoint may be considered illegal.
- There was no probable cause – For example, due to racial profiling
- The officer did not conduct a proper 15 minute observation period – The officer must observe a suspect for at least 15 minutes before conducting a breath test in order to ensure no eating, drinking, vomiting, smoking, etc. is done immediately before the test. These actions can affect the accuracy of the test.
- There was a problem with the testing instrument – Breathalyzers must undergo accuracy checks every ten days or every 150 blows. If a test was done on a breathalyzer that was not recently calibrated, the test results may be inaccurate. Breathalyzers also sometimes just break. Over 100 breathalyzers were found to be broken in Ventura County and had to be thrown away. Hundreds of arrests had to be re-investigated to determine if they should be overturned.
There are several other reasons for which a license suspension may be overturned. The best way to win your case and keep your license is to contact a DUI attorney in Sacramento as soon as possible. Don’t forget there’s only a ten day window to request the DMV license hearing!
Call a DUI Attorney in Sacramento To Schedule a DMV License Hearing
Getting arrested for a DUI can alter your life in many different ways. From the long term consequences to the immediate aftermath, the best thing you can do is contact a DUI attorney in Sacramento for legal advice. The Law Offices of Wing & Parisi has the tools, resources and experiences to ensure you get your life on track after a DUI arrest. Give us a call at (916) 441-4888.