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.
His Los Angeles DUI Lawyer works to put together Donny’s defense, highlighting his low BAC level, his reputation in his community and references from his friends and family. The attorney also pours over the evidence, and the video surveillance looking for holes and shortcomings in the officer’s work. The attorney is able to prepare strong argument in the criminal court and gets Donny’s case reduced to reckless driving. Reckless driving does not have the same consequences as a DUI, and holds with it lesser penalties. As far as the criminal courts are concerned, Donny has not been found guilty of, or convicted of a DUI.
Logically one would think that this, in turn, would dismiss the hearing against the DMV. This is not true. The DMV will hold the hearing as scheduled, regardless of what the criminal court opted to do. Although Donny’s attorney may use the reduction of criminal charges as a negotiating tool, he will still prepare fully for the DMV hearing and fight for Donny’s driving privileges.
When retaining a DUI professional, it is important to hire a professional who not only has extensive knowledge and experience with the criminal courts, but the DMV as well. Knowing the officers, and prosecutors makes a significant difference in how your case is handled, and having knowledge of the progress of both cases makes a significant impact on the overall outcome.