Driving an automobile is a privilege and not a right. And when you get arrested for a suspected DUI, your privilege to drive is in jeopardy. You have the right to request an administrative hearing with the DMV before you lose your license, but no attorney can or should guarantee a result at that hearing. What you need to know right away, is that the clock is running and the odds are often against you. Time is of the essence as soon as you are arrested. Keep in mind, there is a system in place that does not favor a positive outcome in your case, so it is important to find representation very early in the process. The system favors convictions and suspensions, there are jobs and financial grants at stake if the system does not show results!
What is the deadline? – As soon as you are arrested, the ten day clock starts running on your license. Law enforcement is required to confiscate your license and issue you a notice of suspension or revocation at the time of your arrest. If they did not confiscate your license, do not assume you are ok. The DMV will conduct a review of the police report, the suspension order, and any test results. When your administrative review has been completed, you have the right to request a hearing to contest that decision. The clock started running when you were arrested and given notice of the suspension or revocation. Even if you were arrested at 11:00 PM, that one hour will count as a full day, so do not wait to contact an attorney. We can help you request a hearing so you can fight for your drivers license.
What happens at this hearing? – The hearing is an opportunity to point out legal issues with your arrest. This is not a chance to argue that you really need your license to get around, or that a suspension will be hard on you. Although those things are true, the DMV only cares if there is a legal basis to do so. If there is, your license will be suspended or revoked. Issues we can fight include: 1) Did the officer have reasonable cause to believe you were driving a motor vehicle in violation of Vehicle Code Section 23140, 23152, or 23153?; 2) Were you placed under lawful arrest?; 3) Were you driving a motor vehicle when you had .08% or more by weight of alcohol in your blood?; 4) Were you administered a test within 3 hours of driving?; 5) Did the officer continuously observe you for 15 minutes before administering your breath test in compliance with proper procedures?; 6) Was the officer properly trained and qualified to administer a breath test? 7) Was the police report properly sworn and filled out?; 8) Is there evidence to indicate the officer was not properly performing his duties?
What are my chances at the hearing? – It depends on what legal issues are in your case. But the deck is often stacked against you. However, you lose 100% of the hearings you do not request. Please keep in mind, the court always has the power to suspend your license completely independent of the DMV.
What happens if I lose my hearing? – First Time DUI – Your suspension will be for a minimum of 30 days. After that, you can request a restricted license that will allow you to drive to and from work for the next 4-5 months or until the court says otherwise. In order to apply for a restricted license, you will need to enroll in alcohol classes, provide proof of insurance, and pay a DMV reissue fee of $125.
Second Time DUI – You cannot obtain a restricted license, and your license will be suspended for one year.
Third Time DUI – The court and the DMV will attempt to revoke your privilege to drive for 3 years. After you complete an 18 month program and install an ignition interlock device, you might be eligible for a restricted license.
What happens if I refused to provide a blood or breath sample? – Anyone pulled over for a DUI has a difficult choice to make. You can assist the police in obtaining evidence against you, or if you refuse you will face stiffer penalties. The DMV and the court will treat you more harshly if you refuse to provide a sample. This holds true even if you tried but failed to provide a sample. For a chemical refusal, the DMV will institute a one year suspension, which could be longer if it is not your first DUI. If you consent to a chemical test, and win your court case, then you will get your license back. However, when you received your license, you agreed to consent to chemical testing. That means that even if you win your court case, if you refuse to provide a sample, you still face a one year suspension.