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.
You have the right to present testimony and evidence at the DMV hearing. You also have the right to subpoena the arresting officer if you wish to do so. It is standard that a license will be suspended for about 30 days, except for in certain situations. Thereafter, it is discretionary to allow for a restricted license. A restricted license allows you to drive to and from classes and/or work. This is important, as well as the duration of time the license will be suspended or restricted.
The outcome of your criminal case will make no difference or impact on your DMV hearing. Even if your criminal case is dismissed or reduced, the DMV may suspend your license at their own volition. Whether you are debating on hiring a Los Angeles Criminal Defense lawyer to represent you in Criminal Court or at the DMV hearing, it is important for you to consider the consequences of both.
It is highly recommended that you consider both to be equally important and retain a legal professional to help you. Both have consequences that can have lasting consequences. A legal professional is experienced and can provide you with the insight and arguments you need to ensure the best possible chances of winning your case.
If you find yourself in this situation, do not hesitate. Contact an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer as soon as possible so that you can learn about all of your options and defenses prior to entering any kind of plea or having your license suspended.