Do I Have to Show Up for the DMV Hearing?

If you were recently arrested for driving under the influence in Orange County, one of your first concerns will be your driver’s license. What will happen to it? Will it be suspended or revoked?

In order to understand the future of your driver’s license, first we’ll need to explain the difference between the court appearance for the DUI charge and the DMV hearing.

California DUIs are broken down into two parts: 1) the DMV administrative hearing, and 2) the criminal court process. While the court hearing addresses your criminal charges, the DMV hearing is strictly an administrative proceeding that addresses the suspension or revocation of your driving privileges. Essentially, the DMV provides you with the right to a hearing even though you are scheduled to appear in court on the DUI charge.

Why does the DMV do this? Because our State and Federal Constitutions say that no one should be deprived of property (in this case their driver’s license) without due process of law. So, in order for the DMV to take away your driver’s license, it’s supposed to give you the opportunity to tell your side of the story; to be heard at an official hearing.

DMV Hearing Addresses Your Driving Privileges Only

The DMV hearing is separate from the court trial. It is an administrative proceeding regarding the circumstances of your DUI arrest and your driving privilege, whether or not you’re guilty of DUI. During the DMV hearing, the following will be considered:

  • Did the police officer have reason to believe that you were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
  • Did you complete a blood or breath test?
  • Was the police stop unlawful?
  • Were you arrested and if so, was it a lawful arrest?
  • Were you driving a vehicle with a BAC of .08% or more?

Are You Obligated to Attend the Hearing?

For starters, you are not obligated to request a DMV hearing; however, if you don’t request a DMV hearing, your driver’s license will be suspended automatically regardless if you were driving under the influence or not.

If you decide that you want a hearing (which you should), you must request the hearingwithin 10 days of your arrest. Otherwise, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended once your 30-day temporary driving permit expires. If you do request a hearing, do you have to attend? It depends.

Under certain circumstances you may not have to attend, such as: 1) you request and receive a continuance, 2) you choose to have a phone hearing (we do NOT recommend this), or 3) an Orange County DUI attorney from our firm attends the DMV hearing on your behalf.

If you cannot take the time off work, or if you’ll be travelling for work, or if you live in another state, we may be able to attend the DMV hearing for you. We find this flexibility very beneficial, especially for clients who cannot make the hearing for one reason or another.

To learn more about the benefits of a DMV hearing, contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. Schedule your free consultation with a Board-Certified DUI defense specialist today!

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