Driving under the influence is a criminal offense in California and subject to the criminal laws governing this crime. The first hearing is a legal proceeding that the courts handle. The hearing in criminal court is to determine if you are guilty of DUI, and, if so, what the penalty should be for this offense. DUI penalties in California include one or more of the following: fines, jail, probation, and completion of a prevention course. Because you could be facing jail time for your offense, having an experienced DUI attorney is vital for anyone who has the ability to do so.
In addition to criminal court, you will also have a proceeding conducted by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This is an administrative proceeding that deals only with your privilege to operate a motor vehicle. Because this may result in the suspension of your privilege to operate a motor vehicle, you should also retain an experienced attorney to represent you during this process if you want to put yourself in the best position to be successful.
When you are arrested in California on a drunk driving charge, the arresting officer will immediately take your driver’s license. You are issued a Notice of Suspension that acts as a 30-day temporary driver’s license. The notice also provides you with very important information about the process. You have 10 days from the date of the arrest to request a Driver Safety Administrative Per Se Hearing. If you fail to request this within 10 days, you forfeit the right, and your driver’s license will be suspended.
If your driver’s license is suspended and you become eligible to reinstate your license at some future date, you will be required to take additional steps to reinstate your license due to your failure to request a hearing. These steps may include:
For a chance to avoid these steps, you must submit your request within 10 days of the date of your arrest.
Yes, you can bring an attorney to your proceeding, and there are several reasons why it is great to have one present. Because your ability to drive is at stake, you want someone who has experience handling these types of proceedings and who understands the rules and regulations governing them. For example, a DMV hearing is an administrative process that is heard by a DMV officer rather than a judge. Even though they are not in a courtroom (sometimes they are conducted by telephone), they are very serious and result in serious consequences.
The proof of burden is much less than the burden of proof that the state is required to meet in criminal court. Regardless, you do have certain rights including the right to review and challenge evidence presented against you, testify on your own behalf, and question and subpoena witnesses, including the arresting officer. An experienced attorney will know the best defense to present at your proceeding, and, if you lose, the attorney can prepare an appeal of the DMV decision.
The best way to prepare is to contact an experienced criminal attorney. The hearing officer is considering three key issues to decide if he will sustain the suspension of your driving privileges or if he will set aside the action meaning that you will not lose your ability to drive. Those issues are:
If you failed to submit to a breathalyzer test or a chemical blood test, the question becomes did the officer inform you that your refusal to submit to the test would result in suspension or revocation of your driving privileges and did you in fact refuse the test or tests.
The defense that you will present will depend on the facts and circumstances surrounding your arrest. Your attorney should prepare you and will explain what, if anything, you need to do prior. The attorney can use several defenses including:
Even though a DMV hearing is not a legal proceeding, you may still employ numerous legal arguments to win. Hiring a DUI attorney who has experience handling drunk driving proceedings and who knows the DUI laws in California is your best chance of winning your DMV hearing. Attorneys well-versed in DUI defense techniques can use the facts and circumstances of your arrest to help you keep your driver’s license and avoid losing your ability to drive.
Need help winning? Call 888-250-2865 to obtain a free consultation from one of our DUI lawyers. The Law Offices of Randy Collins can help. Call today to get help now.