Most people do not realize that a DUI arrest actually leads to two separate cases. In addition to a criminal case, you face an administrative hearing with the DMV regarding your driving privileges. Winning a DMV hearing is very difficult, but these five crucial steps could help you keep your driver’s license.
1. Choose an Experienced Lawyer
You have very little time to act once you are arrested for DUI. You only have 10 days from your arrest to request a hearing, known as an Administrative Per Se (APS) hearing. Failing to do so will result in the DMV suspending your driver’s license for a period of at least four months.1 That is why it is important to hire an attorney who has experience with both DMV hearings and DUI cases. Your attorney will take control of your case and schedule the hearing on your behalf, giving you one less item to worry about.
Requesting an APS hearing can benefit you in a few ways. First, the hearing request puts a hold on the suspension of your license until the date of your hearing, which means you will be able to continue driving until your hearing takes place. More importantly, your attorney may be able to convince the DMV not to suspend your driving privileges at the APS hearing.
Selecting an attorney who understands both DMV hearings and criminal DUI cases will be crucial for you.
2. Understand the Issues
DMV hearings are run by the Office of Driver Safety and administered by a DMV hearing officer. If you took a blood or breath test, the hearing will only focus on the following issues:
- Whether the arresting officer had reasonable cause to believe that you were driving under the influence,
- Whether the arrest was lawful, and
- Whether your blood-alcohol content level was .08% or higher at the time of driving
If you refused a blood or breath test, there will be no evidence of what your BAC was at the time you were arrested. Therefore, instead of examining the third issue above, the hearing will seek to answer two different questions:
- Whether you were told that if you refused to submit to or failed to complete a blood or breath test, your driving privilege would be suspended for one year or revoked for two or three years, and
- Whether you refused to submit to or failed to complete a blood or breath test after being requested to do so by a peace officer2
To keep your license, your lawyer must successfully refute at least one of these issues. An attorney who has experience with DMV hearings can guide you through the wide range of available defenses that will help you refute these issues. These defenses could include:
- The police did not have probable cause to stop you
- The arresting officer did not conduct an observation period
False BAC test results
- The officers failed to use BAC testing equipment properly
- The arresting officer did not explain the consequences of refusing a test
- The officers cannot prove you were driving
3. Recall as Much As You Can About Your Arrest
Your account of what happened is important in helping your attorney defend you. As soon as possible after your arrest, you should write down what happened. Try to recall why you were stopped, what the officer said and did, and what was happening just before you were stopped. Giving your attorney an accurate account of what happened will help your lawyer formulate a winning defense.
4. Your DUI Case Could Affect Your DMV Case
If your driving privileges were suspended at your DMV hearing and you were later found not guilty of DUI in criminal court, you have the right to use the court’s decision to request the DMV to review your driver’s license suspension at a new hearing and potentially reinstate your license.3
5. Know Your Alternatives
While it is possible to win a DMV hearing, it is important to be ready for an unfavorable outcome. If your license is suspended, you will lose your driving privileges for a minimum of 30 days, but you may be able to request a restricted non-commercial license if you show proof of enrollment in a DUI treatment program, file proof of insurance and pay a $125 reissue fee. This will allow you to drive to and from the DUI treatment program and/or to and from work or school.4
Contact the DUI Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
The DUI process is extremely complicated and navigating this time requires a skilled and knowledgeable DUI attorney. At Wallin & Klarich, our DUI defense lawyers have more than 35 years of experience successfully defending our clients accused of DUI. We can help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego, West Covina, Torrance and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich DUI defense attorney available to help you no matter where you are located.
Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.
1. http://www.dmv.ca.gov/dl/driversafety/dsadminvscriminal.htm – diff↩