When you have been arrested on the suspicion of DUI, there is an important deadline you must be aware of. You have within 10 days to schedule a DMV hearing. The 10 days start after the day you have been arrested and include weekends. To be on the safe side it is best to schedule a DMV hearing as soon as possible, however, before doing so, there are a few things to keep in mind.
The DMV hearing is as important as your criminal court appearance. The Criminal Court will be the entity that determines whether there is enough evidence for you to be convicted of a DUI. The Prosecutor will present their case and must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that all elements have been met. If convicted, the Criminal court will also determine the appropriate sentence. The sentence will include jail time and/or a fine, probation and alcohol rehabilitation classes. The Court will make the determination as to what will be imposed as a penalty and it's duration.
What the court will not determine is the suspension or revocation of your driving privileges. That is what the DMV will determine. The purpose of the DMV hearing is for a hearing officer to make a finding as to the facts of your case and determine if your license will be suspended or revoked and the length of time.
The DMV is an administrative institution and the hearing is informal. The person who hears your case and makes a determination is the hearing officer. The burden of proof is shifted from the government to prove their case to you. You are the one that must prove that you do not meet the elements required for your license to be suspended.
When you call the DMV within 10 days and schedule a hearing, you are exercising your right to be heard. It is your right to explain your case to the officer, and state your argument before they make a decision. However, if you fail to schedule a DMV hearing within the 10 days, you forfeit the right and your license will be automatically suspended or revoked.
It is highly recommended to speak to a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer before calling the DMV. You need to have an expert review the facts of your case and help you understand the strengths, weaknesses and defenses to your case. Additionally, you have the right to have an attorney represent you at the DMV hearing. The attorney can take testimony and provide a powerful argument in the favor.
If you are going to have an attorney represent you at the DMV hearing, they need to have the day you schedule open and they will advise you as to what the best date is for you to pick. When you have a DMV hearing scheduled, the DMV will issue you a temporary license until that date. Speaking to an attorney will help you figure out strategically what the best date is for you to schedule a hearing so that you do not forfeit your right to be heard.