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California DUI Arrests & the DMV Hearing

If you were recently arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Orange County or anywhere else in California, there will be two aspects of the DUI process: 1) the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) administrative hearing, and 2) the criminal court trial. For the purposes of this post, we are going to focus on the DMV hearing.

When a driver is arrested for DUI in California, he or she will be scheduled to appear in court on their DUI charge; however, this is not the same as the DMV hearing. Why are these different? Because, the DMV hearing simply addresses a person’s license suspension or revocation only; it does not address the person’s criminal charges.

Why Does the DMV Offer a Hearing?

Under the state and federal constitutions, property is not to be taken away from people without due process of the law. Under these “due process” laws, California drivers who have been arrested for DUI have the right to: 1) be notified of any DMV actions against their driver’s license, and 2) argue their case in a hearing.

The DMV hearing is strictly an “administrative proceeding” that addresses a person’s right to drive in California and the circumstances surrounding their DUI arrest. The DMV hearing is not a criminal proceeding and it does not address the DUI charges.

The following types of issues are discussed during the DMV hearing:

  • Was your DUI arrest lawful?
  • Was your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above .08%?
  • Did you refuse to submit to a chemical test (blood or breath)?
  • Did the police officer have reasonable cause to believe you were driving under the influence?

Am I required to schedule a DMV hearing? No, you are not under any obligation to have a DMV hearing; however, we do recommend that you have one. In California, you have just 10 days from the date of the DUI arrest to schedule a hearing with the DMV.

If you do not schedule a DMV hearing within the deadline, your driver’s license will be suspended automatically. Given the fact that the state has up to one year to file charges for a misdemeanor DUI, your license could be suspended by the DMV, even if you were not driving under the influence at all.

Essentially, your license could be suspended while you wait months to hear back from the District Attorney’s Office about your criminal court hearing – that can be a long time to wait for most Orange County drivers!

If you were recently arrested for DUI in Orange County, it’s important to schedule your DMV hearing within 10 days of your arrest. Contact us today to work with the DUI Queen!