If you’re facing driving under the influence (DUI) charges in Orange County, you’ll soon learn about the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) hearing, which specifically addresses the suspension of your driver license. Since this is entirely separate from the criminal hearing, it’s important that you understand the DMV hearing process, as well as it’s deadline (you have just 10 days from the date of arrest to schedule the hearing).
1. What is the difference between the criminal and DMV hearings?
You will be scheduled to appear in court on your DUI charge, but it is NOT the same as the DMV hearing. This is because the DMV hearing is strictly an administrative proceeding, which addresses the suspension or revocation of your driver license.
2. Why am I entitled to a DMV hearing?
Under the state and federal constitutions, you are not supposed to have your property taken away from you (in this case your driver license) without “due process of law.” Under the theory of due process, you’re entitled to be informed when the DMV intends to take action against your driving privilege, and in effect, you’re entitled to a hearing.
3. Does the DMV hearing address my DUI charge?
The DMV hearing strictly addresses the suspension or revocation of your driving privileges; it does not address your criminal charges. The DMV judge is concerned with the circumstances of your arrest, not whether you’re innocent or guilty of DUI.
4. What will the DMV judge want to know?
The DMV judge will have several questions about your arrest. He or she will want to know:
- Did the law enforcement officer have probable cause to believe you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs?
- Were you arrested and if so, was it lawful?
- Did you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher while driving a motor vehicle?
5. Do I have to have a DMV hearing?
No, you are under no obligation to request a DMV hearing, but it’s a good idea if you want to fight your driver license suspension.
6. What if the criminal court finds me not guilty?
Suppose the DMV sustained your license suspension, but the criminal court found you not guilty. If the DMV finds that the criminal court acquitted you, the DMV’s decision will be reversed and you will get your license back.
Remember, you have just 10 days of the DUI arrest to request a DMV hearing, so don’t delay! To get an experienced DUI defense attorney to represent you at your DMV hearing, contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc.