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More Californians may face license suspension after DUI decision

Dale Gribow April 17, 2015

One of the many potential consequences of a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge is the loss of your driver’s license. In the state of California, a driver who has had his or her license suspended as a result of a DUI arrest can request an administrative hearing at the Department of Motor Vehicles to fight the suspension.With a recent case out of Orange County, the California Supreme Court just made it more difficult for drivers facing DUIs to hold on to their licenses. The Court ruled that the DMV may consider circumstantial evidence to show that a driver’s blood alcohol level was above the .08 legal limit. That means driver behavior and field sobriety test results can be used to build a case against a driver.The court warned that while DMV hearing officers are allowed to use this type of evidence, they should be reasonable and not use it to discredit expert testimony. However, many defense attorneys are concerned that hearing officers will use it to punish drivers statewide.Among those most affected are drivers with inconclusive blood-alcohol levels, and those with blood-alcohol levels close to the legal limit. This ruling will make it more difficult for them to prove that they were not impaired while driving. However, the ruling can also help drivers who were over the legal limit. These drivers can use other evidence to show that while they may have tested over the legal limit, they were still able to drive straight. In any case, this ruling will have a profound impact on DUI license suspensions in the future.