When a person has been charged with drinking under the influence under California Vehicle code §23152, or §23153, a second case will also be initiated with the California DMV. When a person is arrested, they will be given a court date, in which they must appear before a California Criminal Judge. In the criminal court, their case will be tried and they will either be found guilty, or the case dismissed.
Within ten days of the arrest, the person must also call the California DMV and set up a hearing regarding their driving privileges. If they do not do so within ten days, they give up their right to be heard. As a result, their license will automatically be suspended. This case before the California DMV is completely independent of the one before the Criminal Judge. The outcome of one will not affect the outcome of the other. In fact, even if the case before the Criminal Judge is dismissed, it does not mean that the DMV will also dismiss the case pending before them.
Let’s consider an example. Danny is found driving under the influence of alcohol and he is arrested. He declines the field sobriety tests, but agrees to take the breath test at the station. His results are a .07. Although they are not over the specified .08, a careful analysis of the DUI code section will show that blood test results of .08 or higher are not necessary to be charged with a DUI. Danny is still charged. And as procedure goes, a case is also initiated with the DMV.
Danny hires a Los Angeles DUI attorney who goes to court on his behalf and argues his case. Eventually, Danny’s case with the Criminal Court system is dismissed and it is as if he has no charge against him at all. However, much to Danny’s dismay, the DMV case is not dropped simply due to the Criminal Case’s dismissal. Danny’s Los Angeles Lawyer continues to argue his case before the DMV.
Do not make the mistake of believing you do not need an attorney for the Los Angeles DMV Hearing. It is important that you protect your rights during this hearing as well. Although it is not as formal as the court case, it is certainly a very important hearing. Your attorney will have the right to present evidence, testimony, just as would be done in Court.
There are also available defenses during a Los Angeles DMV hearing. These defenses are better employed and discussed with a legal professional who has the knowledge and experience to make strong arguments. If you find yourself in this situation, discuss the facts of the case immediately with an attorney. There are certain steps to be taken with your DMV hearing that need to be taken immediately! Time is of the essence!