Drunk driving is driving while under the influence of alcohol or any other drug that causes impairment. Driving under the influence is determined by administering the test in two ways, through urinary and blood analysis. The penalties for drunk driving are usually severe, with the most common being the suspension of licenses. The penalty will also depend on the frequency of the offense.
As a DUI defendant, it is upon you to challenge the suspension of their driving license if the police arrest you. There are two legal proceedings where the hearing takes place, the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) hearing, and the criminal court. A DMV is an administrative hearing created by the executive branch of government. The DMV hearing allows you to advocate against the suspension of your driving license. At the hearing, you or your attorney defends your case by presenting evidence that you are not wrong. The administrative hearing only determines whether the remedies used to suspend your license if appropriate or not.
It is a fact that in Los Angeles, you need to drive to get where you want to be. It is a privilege that the State of California has granted to many drivers. However, they do not realize until there is a necessity that it might be taken away due to driving under the influence. If the police arrest you for drunk driving, you have up to a maximum of 10 days to request the court for your hearing at the Department of Motor Vehicle to challenge your potential license suspension. The department of motor vehicle hearing is so strict with the law, and if you want to win the case, you need to seek help from The Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney to help reduce your charges and retain your license.
If you do not request a second hearing within ten days, there will be an automatic suspension of your license at the end of the 30 days, and at some point, you abe required to:
Enroll in A DUI School in California
Pay a reinstatement fee.
Submit insurance for
Install an ignition interlock device
DMV Hearing Process
If the police arrest you for driving under the influence, The Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney will help revise your case and build a strong defense against your DUI case at the DMV hearing. An arresting agency or the Los Angeles Police department will immediately take away your driving license, arrest you, and issue you with another temporary one to enable you to drive with certain restrictions. The attorney will contact the DMV to schedule the first hearing and file a request to delay your driving license suspension. Your attorney will also gather all the necessary information to provide enough facts why your driving privileges should not be taken away, and also determine whether the hearing is to be done in-person or through a telephone. Whether you understand the DUI law or not, it is good to involve an experienced and skilled attorney to advocate for your DMV hearing to improve your chances of retaining your driving license and your way of life while in Los Angeles, California.
Your Rights at the DMV Hearing
DMV hearing is much more relaxed than the court hearing, and despite that, you are entitled to some right during the trial. At the DMV DUI hearing, you have the rights to:
Review and challenge the evidence
Present any witness that you have
Cross-examine witnesses and
You can testify on your own.
Defenses to Help You Win at Your DMV Hearing
The court determines your innocence or guilt during the trial. Some of the questions that the hearing officers address during your hearing are:
If there was a reasonable suspicion that made the officer believe that you were driving under the influence. The police must provide evidence and enough facts to convince the judge at the DMV hearing that you were driving under the influence and that they should suspend your license.
Whether there was a probable cause that led to your arrest for DUI. A probable cause will exist when the police officer knows and the fact that the arrest was reasonable. The information they have made them believe that you did violate that law.
If you were informed about the consequences, you would face by refusing to perform the test, your driving license suspension for an undetermined period.
Whether you agreed to do the test that the police officer asked you, it is in case the officer explained to you the consequences of refusing to take the test to determine the concentration of alcohol in your blood.
Since the extent of the DMV proceeding is extensive, the presiding officer should consider various issues to preside over the case. Some of the issues include:
That the arresting officer had the legal rights to do so
The officer had enough reasons or probable cause to believe that you violated the law by driving under the influence.
That you were driving while your blood alcohol concentration was at 0.08 or more.
If you refuse to take the alcohol test, the police officer should tell you about the consequences, which at most times is the suspension of your driving license. In case you still refuse to take the test even after the police officer has notified you about the consequences. The DMV hearing concerns will be, you willingly and intentionally refused to take the test that the police asked for the sample. Another issue will be that the officer did explain all the consequences you would face by DUI, especially one for driving license suspension. The hearing officer may or may not suspend your driving license, depending on the evidence that you violated the law. If the hearing officer decides in your favor, you will not be guilty of the allegations, and you will, therefore, retain your driving privileges.
Some of the defenses your attorney will present to help you win your case are:
The Police Officer Who Arrested You Did it at an Illegal License Checkpoint
There are California legal requirements stipulated in the DUI laws that an officer will only arrest you at the checkpoints that comply with the law. It means that, even if you are operating a vehicle under the influence and the police stop you at an illegal checkpoint, the attorney would help you win the case because it would be an illegal and unlawful arrest.
You Were Not in Actual Control of the Vehicle
The arresting officer should prove that he or she says you were physically driving the vehicle. Suppose the police arrest you, and there is no factual evidence or any eyewitness. In that case, your attorney will likely present an argument that will favor the retention of your driving privileges, and lower the chances of your license suspension.
A defense would be, you had a drink, and after that, you got into your car and found that you couldn't drive. You therefore sat and dozed off. An officer who approached the vehicle did not consider that you wanted to explain yourself and that he or she went ahead to arrest you. Such an arrest will be illegal because the police officer did not see you drive under the influence.
Lack of Probable Cause of Arrest
The DMV hearing will not suspend your driving license if the arresting officer does not have probable cause as to why he or she believes you were driving under the influence. Your attorney could argue that you were involved in an accident while you were on traffic, and when they did a follow up to your home, they found you drinking at the comfort of your home. The DMV hearing officer will consider the defense valid because the police did not see you driving under the influence, but found you drunk when they came home to question you.
There Was No Enough Reason for the Arresting Police to Pull You Over
To initiate a stop, an arresting officer must have a reasonable suspicion that there is an illegal activity. Suppose there is no reasonable suspicion that you are driving under the influence and that the officer has pulled you over. In that case, your attorney will argue that the officer has violated your constitutional rights. You will, therefore, have not violated any law related to CUI.
The Officer Who Performed the Test Did Not Wait for 15 Minutes Between the Stop and Test Performance
The California law requires that the police officer who intends to do the Preliminary Alcohol Screening ( PAS) should wait for at least 15 minutes before collecting the sample. The purpose of the waiting period is to reduce the possibility of mouth alcohol, which may cause the test to give an artificially inflated BAC. The waiting time is also essential because it provides the driver with time to ensure that they do not drink, eat, smoke, or vomit in the interim. After all, that too would yield artificially inflated BAC.
The Equipment Used to Test for Alcohol Was Faulty
California's code of regulation is usually in charge of the operation and maintenance of the testing equipment. It is a requirement that the equipment is checked for accuracy after every ten days or 150 blows. If the police used a faulty machine, there would be no case against you because your attorney will argue that the device used did not comply with the regulation code. It may also happen that the police did not check the machine; there will be no proof that you were DUI. You will, therefore, retain your driving privileges.
The Officer Did Not Do Thorough Observation Before the Arrest
Code of Regulation in California dictates how the test should be administered, samples collected, analyzed, and stored. If the arresting officer didn't strictly follow the code of regulation guidelines during the test administration, your charges would be nullified.
If the officer did not wait for the 15 waits before administering the test, likely, the results would not interfere. Your attorney will argue that the police did not follow the proper procedure.
Physiological Reasons That May Lead to Inaccurate High ABC
Several explanations may be argued in a DMV hearing to challenge your license suspension if your blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 or more. Certain foods, such as high protein levels, trigger false BC results. Stomach acidity may also trigger false BAC results, leading to your arrest for DUI. Your experienced attorney will defend your case based on your physiological reasons.
You Did Not Refuse to Take the Test
It may happen that when the police pulled you over, and in the process, you inquired more about the test process. The police may assume that you did not want to take the test. The police officer may also arrest you, not because you refused to take the test, but because the sample you gave was not enough to provide the results, or you just requested to take another test to prove the results obtained for the first test.
There are high chances of winning the case because your attorney will argue that you did not refuse to take the test because there is no proof of refusal. You will, therefore, retain your driving privileges.
The Police Officer Did Not Tell You About the Consequences of Declining to Take the Test
If you decline to take the test, the arresting officer should explain to you about the repercussions since it is a written document that they have with them. He or she should caution you about one-year of license suspension if you decline the test. In case the officer forgot to warn you and did not read the repercussions to you, there is a high chance that your attorney will defend your case and have your case dismissed.
Mistake With the Paperwork That the Officer Filed
The police officer is supposed to complete a particular report and paperwork once you get arrested. Suppose he or she reports the incorrect details in the report regarding date, time, and others. In that case, your attorney will successfully defend your case by arguing that there was a misreporting in the paperwork.
What Will Happen if You Win In Your DMV Hearing?
If the administrative judge decides that the facts and evidence provided are not enough to support your license suspension, your driving privileges are restored. Therefore, it will be the best time for your attorney to adequately defend the case against you in the court of law, since the criminal fact presented could not support license suspension.
What If You Lose the Case?
The administrative judge will conclude that you were indeed driving under the influence and that your driving license is suspended from the facts and evidence provided. It will also inform you when your privilege will be restored. The consequences of DMV hearing will depend on your criminal history.
License Suspension for First-Time Offense DUI
If it is your first time to be arrested for DUI, your driving license can be suspended for 6-10 months. After the first month, the license suspension may be converted to a restriction, but with guidelines, that you only drive to and from work and DUI school. The conversion can only be done once you have done the following:
Submit an insurance form
Pay a reinstatement fee of $125
Enroll in a DUI school in California
In case you caused an injury when driving under the influence, your license will be suspended for up to one year.
If you refuse to take the test, your license will be your driving privileges will be suspended for one year. If you are found guilty of the two offenses, you will not have an opportunity to convert your license from suspension to a restricted one. The same case will apply if you drive with a BAC of 0.01% or more, and you are already on probation. If you are a first–time DUI arrestee, you can drive if you install an ignition interlock device for four months.
License Suspension for a Second Offense DUI
If your second arrest is in 10 years and you have lost your case in the DMV hearing, your license will be suspended for up to 2 years. Your license suspension will be converted to a restriction after one year if you agree to follow the guidelines and if only you hurt somebody in the process. If you did not hurt someone, your license suspension would be converted to a restriction after 90 and provided the following.
After proof of enrollment to a18-month or 30-month DUI school in California
Provide evidence that you have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle.
Commit to following the guidelines outlined in the law.
In case you refuse to take the alcohol test, your license will be suspended for up to 2 years—one year before DUI and the second year for refusing to take the test. However, you can drive without limitation if you install an ignition interlock device for one year.
License Suspension for the Third-Offense DUI
If you lose your case at the DMV hearing and your third arrest because of DUI, the DMV will suspend your license for three years. However, the suspension can be converted to a restricted license if you adhere to the guidelines. If you caused any injury to a third party, your consent would be suspended for five years. The suspension can be converted to a restriction after a year if you strictly follow the guidelines.
If you refuse to take the alcohol test, the license suspension will be up to five years. However, you can continue driving if only you get an Ignition interlock device in your vehicle for one year.
Driving License Suspension for Fourth a Consequent DUI Cases
If it is your fourth time to be arrested for DUI, your license will be suspended for four years. However, it can be converted to a restricted license if you enroll in a DUI school in California, Pay a reinstatement fee, and have installed an ignition interlock device in your car. However, you can drive freely for a predetermined amount of time if you install an ignition interlock device.
Driving Under Influence Consequences for the Under Age
If you are below 21 years and are arrested for DUI, your license will be suspended for one year. If you do not have permission yet, your privileges to get your consent will be postponed. If you refuse to take the alcohol test, and your license will be suspended for one to three years, depending on the number of times you have had previous charges for DUI.
Suppose the police arrest for DUI, and you don't belong to California. In that case, the hearing officer will schedule the DMV DUI hearing in California. You will have the opportunity to contact your attorney from California to defend you in your case. The decision that will be made by the California DMV hearing will affect you the same way in your own country. If you lost your case in California, and the DMV suspend your driving license, your driving privileges will also be affected in your home country.
Can you Appeal Your DMV Hearing Results?
If you lose your case and are not content with it, you have the right to appeal by requesting the DMV to hold a departmental assessment or appeal directly to California's superior court. The two appealing procedures work under strict rules and with specific deadlines. If you are willing to appeal to your hearing's results, you need an attorney who knows the methods and appealing laws to help you in planning for the appeal. The deadline and further instructions are in the form of the department's decision about the hearing.
Contact DUI Defense Attorney Near Me
When you are charged for drunk driving and want to know more about the DMV hearing to help you retain your driving privileges, The Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney is here to help you do that. Our attorneys understand the DUI laws and will speak on your behalf to ensure that you do not get to a point where you will face the harsh penalties related to DUI. Contact us through 310-564-2605 to get help in retaining your driving privileges.