Los Angeles DUI Defense Lawyer
What DMV Hearings Mean for Your Driving Privileges
When you are arrested for DUI after being pulled over or after being inspected at a DUI checkpoint, you are faced not only with a criminal trial, but also a DMV hearing. The arresting officer should have provided you with documentation to inform you that your drivers’ license has been suspended. This documentation works as a temporary license but will expire after 30 days. In the event that the DMV is unable to schedule a hearing for your before the 30 days elapse, a DUI attorney in Los Angeles from Moaddel Law Firm can request a stay on your suspension until after the hearing.
A DMV hearing is not automatic. You or your Los Angeles DUI attorney must request a hearing within ten (10) days of arrest or you will not have an opportunity to challenge your driver’s license suspension. If you do not request a hearing, your license will be suspended automatically.
This procedure is entirely separate from the criminal case. However, if you win your criminal case after trial, your license will not be suspended, regardless of the DMV hearing outcome. A dismissal of the criminal case, however, does not affect the DMV suspension.
What happens at a DMV hearing?
A DMV hearing, also known as a Driver Safety Administrative Per Se (APS) Hearing, is presided over by a DMV hearing officer, not a judge. The burden of proof is lower than at a criminal trial.
You have the right to be represented by an attorney, who can review and challenge the evidence against you and present and cross-examine witnesses. You also have the right to testify.
Your Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer can challenge whether the arresting officer had probable cause to arrest you, whether your BAC was 0.08% or higher, and whether you were lawfully placed under arrest. If you allegedly refused to submit to a breath or blood test, your attorney can challenge whether the officer actually told you the consequences of refusing to submit to the test, and whether you willfully refused to provide a sample.
After the hearing, the DMV officer will either “sustain the action,” resulting in suspension of your license, or “set aside the action,” reversing the suspension or your license.
An experienced attorney is especially critical in a DMV hearing because the hearing is in front of a DMV official, not a jury. Your attorney can present defenses based on lack of probable cause, errors in the breath test machine, and medical explanations for your BAC.
The length of your suspension can depend on whether you have had previous license suspensions:
- 6 month suspension for a 1st offense
- 2 year suspension for a 2nd DUI offense within 10 years
- 3 year suspension for a 3rd offense within 10 years
- 4 year suspension for a 4th offense within 10 years
There is much at stake during your DMV hearing, which is why having a seasoned Los Angeles DUI lawyer at your side is crucial. We can challenge your license suspension every bit as aggressively as we would contest your DUI in court.
You Deserve to have a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer at Your Hearing
Your attorney can also use the testimony and outcome of the hearing in plea bargain negotiations with the prosecutor in the criminal case. The DMV hearing may reveal serious weaknesses in the case against you, and your attorney may be able to obtain dismissal of the criminal case based on the evidence from the hearing. Even if you lose the DMV hearing, your attorney can use the evidence from the hearing to bargain with the prosecutor or to cross-examine witnesses in your criminal trial.
If you were recently arrested for DUI in Los Angeles, you need to take immediate action or lose your driving privileges. Call Moaddel Law Firm right away to schedule your DMV hearing–(877) 375-8188!