Your license may have been suspended or revoked after a drunk driving offense, but did you know that you have the opportunity to contest this? In California, you have ten days after a drunk driving arrest to schedule a DMV hearing, which is an administrative hearing at your local Orange County DMV. These should not be confused with the criminal hearing, as these only deal with your driving privileges.
Why does the state of California allow you to contest a license suspension? According to the California DMV, "Our State and Federal Constitutions provide that no person shall be deprived of property without due process of law." Based on this principle, your license cannot be taken from you until after a DMV hearing or in the event that you refuse this privilege.
Because a DMV hearing is not a criminal court hearing, many people believe that they can handle these cases on their own. While this is technically true, there is a huge benefit in hiring attorney representation for DMV hearings. While the context of the case is different, the administrative hearing goes over many of the same evidences that the criminal hearing will address, such as field sobriety test evidence and the chemical test evidence.
DUIs are not the only criminal charges that can threaten your right to drive. Any traffic violation or citation that is weighty enough to result in a license suspension or revocation can warrant a DMV hearing. Since the state of California operates on a points-based system (Negligent Operator Treatment System), any grouping of traffic violations that totals three points within 12 months can warrant a suspension. 5 points within 24 months and 7 points within 36 months can also warrant a suspension. In California, a DUI is weighted at two points.
Even if a DMV lawyer is not able to help you get your license suspension dropped completely, they may be able to help you petition for a restricted license, also called a hardship license in some jurisdictions. This could allow you limited driving privileges. These licenses are need-based.
The major benefit of having a DMV attorney present at your Orange County administrative hearing is that they will understand effective procedures for contesting field sobriety and chemical test evidence. The Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry is especially skilled in this area. The lawyers on staff are certified to operate breath test machines and Ms. Landry is a Board Certified Specialist in DUI Defense Law through the National College for DUI Defense. To learn more about how this firm could benefit you at your DMV hearing, call today!