DMV HEARING FOLLOWING DUI ARREST
Legal Counsel for Your Administrative Hearing
At Manshoory Law Group, we have handled countless DUI cases and can represent you at a hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to ensure that your driving privileges are protected!
What is a DMV hearing?
In California, any licensed driver arrested for a DUI offense (Vehicle Code section 23152) has the right to an administrative hearing to determine whether the DMV will suspend or revoke their driving privileges. Administrative hearings are non-criminal, meaning the outcome of the hearing will only affect your driver’s license and DMV point totals (affecting insurance rates), not whether you go to jail. While criminal courts do have authority to suspend your license upon conviction for DUI, the DMV hearing may allow a person to maintain their license until their DUI case is dismissed, settled, or taken to trial.
It is important to know that a DMV hearing is not an absolute right, and must be requested by reporting to the DMV within (10) ten days of the arrest to request a Formal Review Hearing in order to challenge a driver’s license suspension. Another option is to “waive” your right to a hearing on your license suspension and instead petition the DMV regarding your qualifications for a restricted license. Failure to request such a hearing within 10 days of the day of your arrest will generally result in a minimum thirty-day automatic license suspension.
If you have a Class A/Commercial Driver’s License, or if you’re just a person who needs a car to make it to work each day, the outcome of an administrative hearing may be just as important, if not more important, than the outcome of the criminal case.
Two Types of DMV Hearings: Formal and Informal
At an informal hearing, a “hearing officer,” employed by the DMV, reviews the materials related to your case, including police reports, lab results, and any other documentary evidence and ultimately decides whether to suspend or revoke your license. The hearing is described as informal because no witnesses are required or generally called to testify, and the DMV sends out the results of the hearing within 21 days of your temporary driver’s license expiration date (approximately 51 days after the date of the arrest.)
At a formal hearing, the hearing officer will make their determination based on live testimony and documents admitted into evidence, requiring the arresting officer and witnesses to be personally present and testify. If you or your attorney are present, you may cross-examine (question) the arresting officers and any other witnesses and object to the admission of certain types of evidence. Also, you may testify or you may bring your own witnesses to testify on your behalf about what happened.
Unlike criminal convictions, which require “Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt” that you are guilty, your license may be suspended at the DMV hearing if there is a “Preponderance of the Evidence” that you were DUI. This standard of proof is sometimes described as “more likely than not” or “Fifty-percent plus a feather.”
Therefore, DMV hearings can be so challenging to win and why it is so essential to have an experienced professional with you to advocate for your rights.