Articles Posted in DMV Hearing

When you have been arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence in Los Angeles, two cases will simultaneously be initiated. One will be in the criminal courts, and the other will be with the DMV. They are two separate cases, with two separate outcomes, and are concerned with two separate issues. The criminal courts are concerned with DUI charges, and whether you are guilty of driving while intoxicated or not. The Los Angeles DMV hearing is only concerned with whether your driving privileges should be suspended.

You have the right to an attorney to represent you at both appearances. The outcome of one will not affect the other. This may be a good or bad thing depending on the facts of your case. However, having a Los Angeles DUI attorney on your team ensures that you give yourself the best possible chance at both appearances.

Let’s consider an example to better understand how the two hearings work. Donny is driving home from a birthday party where he has had two beers. Donny is about 6’2” and weighs about 190 pounds. He is a bigger guy and two beers generally have no effect on him. However, on that particular day he has not had the chance to eat. Regardless, he does not fully stop at a stop sign, and is stopped by officers. Officers smell the beer on his breath and ask him to submit to a sobriety test, which he does. Donny blows a .09% blood alcohol level. This is right above the legal level of .08%. Donny is arrested and given a court date. Per the citation, Donny immediately calls the DMV and schedules a hearing. He then retains the knowledgeable legal professionals at Hoffman and Associates.

The Los Angeles Criminal Courts and the Los Angeles Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) are two completely separate entities. Each has their own restrictions on issuing consequences of a DUI arrest, and each follows their own standards and procedures. Reducing or dismissing your DUI charges in a criminal court will not lead to a dismissal of consequences from the DMV. The entities do not have an influence on each other.

The Courts can issue only certain types of sentences. They can issue jail time, fines, probation, community service and rehabilitation education, however they have no authority over the suspending or revocation of your driving privileges. Similarly, the DMV cannot issue jail time, probation, or other sentences issued by the Courts, they can only suspend or revoke your driving privileges.

The DMV has the authority to suspend or revoke driving privileges if two elements are met:

If you have been arrested for a Los Angeles DUI, remember that you have not yet been convicted.  An arrest simply means that there is a reasonable suspicion that you have committed a criminal offense, it does not mean you are guilty. You can only be convicted one of two ways, by pleading guilty, or by being found guilty in a court of law by a jury. However, even with an arrest, there are several very important steps you have to take immediately to ensure that you have the best possible results.

  1. Check your Citation

When you are arrested you will be given a citation. This citation will state the charge against you, and the time and date upon which your Arraignment will be. This court appearance is not optional, it is absolutely mandatory. Failure to appear at this court date can result in a bench warrant out for your arrest, and/or an additional charge to the charge you are appearing for in the first place. Make sure you calendar this appearance date, it is important and make a note of the Court in which you will be required to appear. Also check the penal code or vehicle code section under which you are being charged. This will define whether it is a misdemeanor or felony, and what you are being charged with.

If you have been stopped for suspicion of driving while intoxicated, it is important to remember that you have not yet been convicted. In order to be convicted a plea or a finding of guilty needs to be entered. If you have not had a trial, or have entered a plea of not guilty or no contest, then you cannot be convicted.

Being arrested is a nerve wrecking experience. You do not know what is going on, nor do you know what steps to take next. In addition, you probably do not fully understand the legal ramifications of your arrest, and the reasons you were arrested.

If officers find that you are intoxicated, they will take you into custody. There are several reasons officers may determine that you are intoxicated. One is if you submit to a breathalyzer test and your blood alcohol level indicates intoxication. Another is if officers observe signs of intoxication. These include watery eyes, slurring, smell of strong alcohol and disorientation. You may also make some statements that may indicate you are intoxicated or be construed as confessions of intoxication.

If you have been arrested for suspicion for driving under the influence, chances are you were also issued a notice to schedule a DMV hearing within ten days. This is a very important deadline and should not be missed. If you miss the deadline, you give up your right to a hearing regarding your driving privileges. Your license will automatically be suspended.

The DMV hearing is a separate case and hearing from the criminal case that will be heard in the criminal courts. It is an administrative hearing. The findings made in a criminal case will not have a bearing on the case before the DMV and vice versa.

This is very important because it implies that you must present strong arguments and cases for both the criminal court and DMV. It will not be shifted over from one case to another, and the ruling from one case will not impact the other.

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When you have been arrested for a Los Angeles DUI, and are issued a citation to appear in court, you will also be given a notice to schedule your DMV hearing. This must be done within ten days of your arrest or you lose your right to hearing. The purpose of the hearing is to determine whether your license will be suspended, for how long, and whether you will have the option of a restricted license.

You have the right to an attorney in your DMV hearing, even though the hearing is administrative. There is no Judge at a DMV hearing, only a hearing officer who then makes a determination. You attorney, or you, can bring up any procedural issues with the officers conduct at the time of the arrest, or failure to follow protocol.

For example, an officer must have probable cause to pull a driver over. This means a traffic violation, or otherwise. If the driver ran a red light, the officer has a right to pull them over, or if they were speeding. An officer does not have the right to arbitrarily pull someone over. If the officer pulled someone over with no probable cause, the evidence they have gathered is inadmissible and can lead to a dismissal of the case. This is an argument that can be addressed or brought up during a DMV hearing.

When you have been arrested for a DUI in Los Angeles, you have not yet been charged. Before you can be charged the Prosecutor has to review the evidence and observations. If a decision is made to charge you, the Prosecutors office will move forward. At this point you will not have been convicted. A court has to find you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt before that can happen, or you have to voluntarily and knowingly enter a guilty plea.

The DMV does not work under the same procedures, nor is it dependent on the criminal case. The DMV can make it’s own independent findings, despite what the criminal court does. From the moment you get arrested, the DMV is moving forward on their own set of procedures. You have ten days from the date of the arrest to schedule a DMV hearing. If you do not do this, you lose your right to be heard in regards to your license being restricted or suspended.

A temporary license will be issued to you for you to use until a hearing is held. The DMV will require a full hearing. The hearing is administrative, and it will be you, the officer and your counsel if you are represented. It is different from criminal court because there is no Judge. The hearing officer advocates the position of the DMV and makes the final decision.

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.

When you have been charged with the suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs under California Vehicle Code §23152 or §23153, you will be given a Court date to appear before a Criminal Judge in Criminal Court.

It is also very important that you call the DMV within the right jurisdiction and request a DMV hearing within ten days of your arrest. If you do not call the DMV within ten days, you will forfeit the opportunity to have a hearing regarding your driving privileges. If you call in a timely manner, the DMV will put a stay on your license pending your hearing.

The DMV hearing is very different from the criminal court appearance. It is held in front of a DMV hearing officer, and there is no government attorney speaking on behalf of the government. It is the job of the hearing officer to not only make a decision regarding your hearing privileges, but it is also their job to defend against you on behalf of the government. Although, they are meant to be neutral, it is very difficult to win a DMV hearing.

When you have been arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence, there are many things that you must consider before appearing before a Criminal judge. One of the biggest things you must give thought to is whether you are going to hire a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer to represent you on your case.

If you are not a lawyer, you are not aware of all the options and defenses available to you and therefore you would not be able to make a fully informed decision as to your future. If you get a conviction on your record, it can potentially affect your future educational goals, as well as your employment.

If you decide to hire a lawyer, you should act on it immediately. There is a ten day deadline to setting a DMV hearing. If you do not set a DMV hearing, you automatically lose your driving privileges and your case will not be heard. If you are going to hire a legal professional to represent you at the DMV hearing, you want to be sure that the attorney’s office properly schedules the DMV within the statutory time limit and requests a stay on your driver’s license. You also want to be sure that the attorney is available on the date your DMV hearing gets scheduled, and therefore, it is best to have the attorney’s office to schedule it for you.