Anyone who is arrested for driving under the influence faces the possibility that his or her driving privilege will be suspended by the Department of Motor Vehicles. So, not only will you have to defend your case in Court, you will also have to defend yourself to the Department of Motor Vehicle. There are two separate hearings and, one has nothing to do with the other. The Department of Motor Vehicles hearing is an Administrative hearing, not a criminal court proceeding.
The Department of Motor Vehicles’ role is not to determine whether or not you have committed a crime, only to determine whether you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, a violation of the Vehicle Code. This subjects you to suspension or revocation of your driving privilege.
When determining whether or not your driving privilege will be revoked or suspended, the DMV focuses on the following only:
If you took a blood or breath or a urine test:
• Did the officer that pulled you over have reasonable cause to do so; did he/she have reasonable cause to believe that you were under the influence and, did the officer have reasonable cause to believe you were driving the vehicle in which you were in.
• Was the arrest legal, meaning did the officer follow all of the rules and guidelines to make the arrest?
• Did the test results show that you had a .08% or higher alcohol content in your body?
If there was no test given or, if you refuse to complete or submit to a test, the DMV will suspend your driving privilege based on your refusal and/or failure to complete the test. In this situation, the DMV will look at the following:
• Was the stop lawful and were you driving the vehicle.
• Were you asked to take a test?
• Was your arrest lawful?
• Were you told that if you refused to submit to or failed to complete a test of your blood, breath, or urine, (if drugs are suspected), that your driving privilege would be suspended or revoked?
• Did you refuse to submit to or failed to complete a blood or breath test, or a urine test after being requested to do so by a peace officer?
If your response to any of the above questions is No, you may have a chance at getting your driving privilege restored. A good experienced DUI defense attorney can take a look at your case and determine whether or not you have a shot at prevailing at a DMV Administrative Hearing.
It is important to keep in mind that, if you are arrested for DUI, you have only 10 days to request a DMV hearing. If you fail to request a hearing, the DMV will automatically suspend or revoke your driving privilege.
While it is very difficult to win a DMV hearing, it can be done. Hiring an attorney who has experience in conducting these hearings, who knows what to look for, and what types of defenses the DMV Hearing Officers will accept, will help your attorney determine whether or not you will be successful. However, in all cases, your attorney should always request a DMV hearing and attempt to help you keep your driver’s license.