Every DUI arrest has two components: the criminal and the administrative. With the former, the state is attempting to convict you criminally of driving under the influence. With the latter, you run the risk of losing your driver's license. The DMV hearings exclusively deal with the latter half of the DUI process, that is, losing your driving privileges. The Orange County DUI lawyers at The Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry are extremely experienced in this area of practice and are here to walk you through the process, specifically answering the question "Do I have to appear at the DMV hearing?"
First of all, it is important to note that the DMV hearing is completely optional. However, it is your only opportunity to contest your license suspension. After a DUI arrest or an arrest for refusing a chemical test (breath, blood or urine), you will face automatic license suspension. On your citation will be instructions for how to request an administrative license hearing with the DMV as well as the timeframe for doing so. In Orange County, you only have ten days after your arrest to request this hearing. If you do not request this hearing, then your license will automatically be suspended when your temporary driving permit expires.
The DMV hearing, then, is your one chance to contest license suspension and get your driving privileges restored. This is why we strongly suggest that you retain legal counsel and opt in for the administrative hearing. Even if you request a hearing at the DMV (the local DMV in the county where you received your citation), you may not have to physically appear. This is possible for a few reasons.
One reason you may not have to appear at this hearing is because for some reason, you realize you will not be able to make it and have to request a continuance. According to the California DMV, you must contact the DMV at least ten days prior to your scheduled hearing date in order to receive a continuance, or your absence will be considered "failure to appear." A continuance is issued presuming that you will eventually be present at your hearing.
Another reason you may not have to appear is because the California DMV handles many of these cases over the phone. We strongly suggest that you do not do this. In our experience, the most successful outcomes are reached when we and our clients appear at the DMV in person.
Finally, you may not have to appear at the DMV hearing because in some cases we are able to attend these hearings on behalf of our clients. This is especially beneficial in cases where our clients have difficulty taking time off of work or they live in a different county or state. To learn more about DMV hearings, your rights and how The Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry can help you, call us today!