Two Parts of a California DUI

When you get arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs in Orange County, California and throughout the rest of the state, you will have to handle two separate parts: 1) the DMV administrative hearing, and 2) the criminal court trial.

You will be scheduled to appear in criminal court on your DUI charge, but this is not the same as your DMV hearing. The DMV hearing is separate from the criminal court hearing; it is strictly an administrative proceeding that addresses your driver’s license suspension or revocation only.

DMV Hearing vs. Criminal Court Trial

Unlike the criminal court trial where the court is trying to determine if you are guilty of driving under the influence, the DMV administrative proceeding is interested in the circumstances surrounding your arrest, and whether your driving privilege should be suspended – it does not address your criminal charges.

The DMV will specifically want to know:

  • Did the arresting officer have probable cause to suspect that you were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
  • Was your DUI arrest legal?
  • How much alcohol was in your bloodstream?
  • If you refused a chemical test in the form of a blood, breath or urine test, did the police officer have good reason to believe that you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
  • Did the police officer inform you that if you refused a chemical test, it would result in a one-year license suspension, or a two to three-year revocation?
  • Did you fail to complete a chemical test after a police officer asked you to take one?
  • Did you fail a chemical test after a police officer asked you to submit to one?

Under the state and federal Constitutions, people are not supposed to be deprived of their property (in this case, their driver’s license) without due process of the law. For this reason, whenever the California DMV intends to take negative action against someone’s driver’s license, the driver has a right to a hearing.

In order to have a DMV hearing, you must request it within 10 days of the DUI arrest. If you do not request the DMV hearing, your license will be suspended automatically.

In summary, the key differences between a DMV hearing and a criminal court trial are: the DMV hearing deals with your driving privileges, whereas the criminal court trial determines if you are guilty of DUI – a criminal offense.

For legal representation during your DMV hearing and court trial, contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. for a free case evaluation!

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