If you are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Orange County, you will face two separate proceedings – the administrative license suspension proceeding (a DMV action) and the criminal court proceeding.
As the criminal court system reviews the evidence to determine if you are guilty of a criminal offense following your arrest, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) takes action to suspend your driver’s license; this is accomplished swiftly and in less than two weeks of the DUI arrest.
Within 10 days of the DUI arrest, you can and should request a DMV administrative hearing, where your DUI defense attorney will provide evidence intended to fight for your right to keep your driver’s license.
However, you must request this hearing within 10 days of the arrest, otherwise you lose your right to a hearing and your license will be suspended automatically.
What can I do if my license has been suspended?
At the administrative hearing, the DMV will determine if you should keep your license independently from any decision made in a criminal DUI trial.
This means that you may have your license suspended by the DMV even if you are found innocent of the DUI charges against you in criminal court. However, attending a DMV hearing does not guarantee that you will keep your driver’s license. If the DMV upholds your license suspension in a hearing, you have three options:
- Give up drive during the suspension period. At the end of this time, you pay a reinstatement fee and regain the use of your driver's license.
- Appeal the decision. You can appeal the DMV’s decision to the Superior Court. This process can take up to a year to complete and your license will still be suspended until the final decision is reached, making it a difficult option.
- Apply for a critical need driver’s license. This license allows you to drive while your license is suspended, but with restricted privileges. You can apply for a critical need license after a 30-day suspension period, and only if you: 1) completed a chemical test or PAS test, and 2) you have a critical need to drive, for example, you need to drive your kids to school or you need to drive to and from work.
Note: Under California law, only first-time DUI offenders can apply for a critical need driver’s license.
The best option for keeping your driver's license following a DUI arrest is to work with a seasoned Orange DUI defense attorney to prevent the DMV from upholding their administrative suspension.
You have 10 days to act! Call the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. to get started today.