Losing your license is one of the consequences of a DUI. Before your D.M.V. hearings, consult a lawyer to discuss options. Call The Law Office of Valery Nechay.
Everything You Need to Know About DMV Hearings
You have probably been pulled over and received a ticket or citation while driving. But did you know that you have the right to contest the charges at a DMV hearing? This process can be intimidating, but with the proper preparation and skilled attorneys, you can save your driving record and insurance rates.
Administrative License Suspensions
Under certain circumstances, the California Department of Motor Vehicles may suspend or revoke a driver’s license, resulting in a loss of driving privilege. An administrative license suspension (ALS) occurs when the DMV or a court determines that you cannot drive until the suspension has been lifted.
Typically, an ALS is imposed after a person is arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. An ALS can also be imposed for reasons such as failure to pay child support or to appear at a court hearing.
An ALS can be imposed by either the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or the court system. The DMV typically imposes an ALS when a person fails a chemical test, such as a breathalyzer test, or refuses to take a chemical test. The court system can impose an ALS if a person is convicted of DUI.
The length of an ALS varies depending on the reason for the suspension and the jurisdiction in which it is imposed. For instance, a first offense of driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit will result in a suspension for four months, and a subsequent offense will result in a one-year suspension.
A person whose driver’s license has been suspended can obtain a restricted driver’s license (RDL). An RDL allows a person to drive for specific purposes, such as to and from work or school. The requirements for obtaining an RDL vary by jurisdiction.
An experienced DUI attorney can guide you through the process and protect your rights if you are facing an administrative suspension of your license in California.
Persons facing ALS due to violating DUI laws can be authorized to join DUI programs in San Francisco. The program varies for different offenders as follows:
- The first-offender DUI program lasts four weeks and includes classroom instruction, group counseling, and individual counseling.
- DUI program for second or third-time offenders lasts six to twelve weeks. Offenders will attend more hours of class and counseling, complete a longer drunk driving education course, and install an ignition interlock device in their motor vehicle for longer.
- Persons convicted of DUI with a minor in the car will participate in a unique DUI program called Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). The program lasts twelve weeks and includes all the components as the other DUI programs.
What Are the Legal Rights at a DMV Administrative Hearing?
When facing a DMV administrative hearing, it is essential to know your legal rights. This hearing allows you to explain your side of the story and contest any evidence the DMV has against you. You can request attorney representation and cross-examine any witnesses who testify against you.
The hearing officer will consider all of the evidence and will decide whether or not to suspend or revoke your license. Also, you have the option to give a personal testimony. You are entitled to a written decision following the hearing.
What Happens at a DMV Hearing?
The DMV hearing takes place before a Driver Safety Hearing Officer from DMV. During the hearing, the driver is informed of the legal grounds for the charges and has the right to review and challenge the arresting officer’s evidence. Additionally, the DMV hearing provides an opportunity to present evidence, witnesses, and testimony to persuade DMV to modify or rescind the claim.
On the scheduled hearing, if the hearing officer finds that the driver’s license should be suspended or revoked, the driver will be given a notice of suspension or revocation by the hearing officer and can appeal the decision to the court.
DMV Hearing Questions
A DMV hearing provides an opportunity to explain your side of the story and convince the hearing officer that you should keep your driving privileges. Therefore, to increase your chances of success, it’s essential to be prepared for the hearing and know what questions you can be asked. They include the following:
- What occurred to lead up to the incident?
- Were there any witnesses?
- Do you have any evidence to support your version of events?
- Why should you not be found guilty of the violation?
Seek Assistance From DUI Attorneys in San Francisco?
A San Francisco DUI lawyer can help when you face charges of violating Federal DUI laws. An attorney will aid in navigating the complex legal system and ensure you receive a fair trial. Contact our offices at The Law Office of Valery Nechay whenever you need a well-versed lawyer to navigate your case.
DMV Hearings Frequently Asked Questions
Following are a few of the most commonly asked questions regarding DMV hearings.
Are DMV ALS Hearings Automatic?
Drivers have ten days to request a hearing following receipt. Request a hearing by contacting the Driver Safety Office and identify yourself by providing your full name, driver’s license number, and date of birth.
How Does the DMV Know About an Arrest?
Arresting officers through the Department of Public Safety will check whether a driver has an outstanding or bench warrant. Upon arrest for DUI, they the arresting officers will notify the DMV.
How Are Administrative License Suspension Hearings Different From Criminal Court Hearings?
DMV hearings differ in two major ways from criminal hearings conducted in court:
- The hearings are held before a Driver Safety Hearing Officer (DSHO) rather than a judge.
- There are fewer standards for admitting and considering evidence than in a criminal court.
What Happens if You Can’t Go to Your Hearings in the DMV?
The DMV hearing will proceed as planned, regardless of your presence. You will forfeit your right to challenge the action in court. Possible outcomes include restricted driving privileges and suspension of vehicle registration/driver’s license number.
However, you can contact the DMV office to reschedule your DUI DMV hearing within at least twenty-four hours before the date of your scheduled hearing. You can also use the Traffic Ticket Pleas, Hearings, and Transaction Payments to reschedule online/by mail.
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