Dui? Court Is Only Half Your Problem
Oct. 27, 2014
In addition to court you have 10 days to request a DMV Hearing to avoid a license suspension for 4-5 months. The hearing generally occurs before a plea is entered and usually results in an unfavorable ruling. DMV hearing officers do not care about anything but the chemical test, though THAT IS NOT THE LAW!
If you lose the DMV hearing, your license is suspended, as is also the case with a court plea on a DUI. After a DMV Suspension you must wait 30 days to request a restricted license, which requires: paying DMV $125.00; showing proof of DUI School enrollment and your insurance company filing an SR22 showing proof of insurance.
The court suspension is different from the DMV "hard" suspension, but results in the same challenge for a defense lawyer. There are only three issues at the DMV hearing related to a blood or breath test as listed on the back of the DMV paperwork you received. The main issue is whether the officer had probable cause to stop or contact you and whether the chemical test is beatable.
DMV has the burden of proof and must win on all three issues to suspend you license. However DMV does not use the same rules of evidence as the courts require, and thus win 98% of these Hearings.
THE DMV HEARING IS A PER SE HEARING AND IF YOU HAVE .08 OR HIGHER YOU ARE PER SE "GUILTY" IN THEIR EYES. By statute DMV is black and white. The hearing officers have NO authority to negotiate or extend courtesies.
Unless we ask you to attend the DMV Hearing, you should not appear. While you have the right to be at your own hearing, it is not always a good idea for the following reasons:
First: You won't understand why you should not make a statement.
Second: Most DMV Hearings are arguments over evidence, not facts. Clients don't understand the difference between evidence and facts when they are in the hearing room, no matter how much we explained it in our office.
Third: If present, the hearing officer could call you to testify under oath to clear up an issue that we could otherwise win. This is an administrative hearing which does not follow the same evidence rules as a courtroom where the DA could not call you to testify if we did not call you to testify.
The hearing is taped so the DA could get the tape with your admissions, which may hurt your court case and adversely affect our ability to successfully negotiate. DMV hearings are usually not successful because the DMV Hearing Officer is both the Prosecutor AND the Judge. We must knock out one DMV issue to save your license and thus avoid paying a reissuance fee.
With a DUI Arrest the officer "Snatches" your license and issues a pink temporary license good for 30 days under the "Stop and Snatch" law. IF your lawyer requests a hearing within 10 days and also requests a STAY, then your temporary license is good until the ruling. If you lose the DMV hearing or enter a court plea you must follow the directions set forth above for the return of your license.
With a traffic accident DUI, do NOT volunteer info of your DUI when reporting it to your carrier. It is their responsibility to learn of the DUI and the carrier does NOT always know that alcohol was involved.
Many clients mistakenly believe that if they "plead for their license", the hearing officer will have pity on them and give them a break. The hearing officer might pity you, but will still take your license. They have no authority to "Plea Bargain" or deviate from the statutory penalties...unlike the DA.
However your cooperation increases your chances of success with each half of the problem.