A DUI arrest in California will actually trigger two separate cases against you – the DUI case in court and a separate DMV case which would be heard at your local DMV Driver Safety Office. While the DUI court case is heard by a Judge, the DMV case is decided by a DMV Hearing Officer who acts as both the Prosecutor and the Judge. Acting quickly is critical after a DUI arrest because the clock starts ticking and time starts running out for you to request your DMV Hearing.
10 Day Rule
When arrested for a DUI in California you only have 10 days from the date of your arrest to request a DMV Hearing. Failure to do so will trigger an automatic suspension of your license after 30 days. Requesting this hearing will put a “hold” on the suspension and will allow you to continue to drive as if the arrest never happened and until the DMV Hearing is decided. The DMV will also provide a copy of the police reports to your attorney. The DMV will usually send a copy of these police reports prior to the scheduled court date, which will allow us to start building your defense before we even step foot in a courtroom.
The DUI Case (California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) – 23152(f))
A DUI arrest in California is the beginning of a nightmare process that usually starts with a night in jail and a hangover the next morning. Your license is taken away and you’re given a pink temporary license. They don’t tell you that you only have ten days to request a DMV Hearing to avoid a lengthy suspension of your license. You’re loved ones are disappointed, upset, and angry with you.
A couple of days later your mailbox is stuffed with “Jail Mail” with conflicting information from lawyers who all promise that they are the answer to your prayers. Many people put their hands in the air, give up, and decide to plead guilty without ever having a lawyer review the police reports. This is a mistake.
DUI cases are defensible. In many cases reasonable doubt can be created as to whether you were over the legal limit at the time of driving. Breath machines are prone to error and blood tests can be retested by the defense. Police often rush the investigation and other times aren’t properly prepared when they testify in court or at the DMV Hearing. Proper legal representation can exploit weaknesses in the case against you. Lapine & Forsse has successfully handled hundreds of DUI cases and DMV matters over the past decade. Experience and results matter.
Common DUI Crimes:
- DUI (Vehicle Code 23152(a))
- Driving With a BAC .08 or Higher (VC23152(b))
- DUI with Drugs (Vehicle Code 23152(e))
- DUI with Alcohol & Drugs (VC23152(f))
- DUI Causing Injury (Vehicle Code 23153)
- 2nd & 3rd DUI
- Felony DUI
- DUI Manslaughter (Penal Code 192)
- DUI Murder (Penal Code 187)
- Hit & Run/Hit & Run Causing Injury (Vehicle Code 20002/Vehicle Code 20001)
The DMV Hearing
The DMV hearing process is set up to suspend your license and is far from fair. The Hearing Officer who is prosecuting the case against you is the same person who decides whether to suspend your license. Welcome to the DMV.
Although the process is not designed to be fair, there are still many ways to win this hearing and to save your license. DMV Hearings are very technical and failure of the arresting officer to fill out the paperwork correctly can lead to a win at the DMV. An experienced DUI Attorney can often spot issues that turn into successful arguments at the DMV. Trying to successfully navigate your way through a DMV case in California without a lawyer is nearly impossible. There are few things as valuable as a driver’s license in Southern California and that privilege is worth fighting for.
If you refuse to submit to or fail to complete a chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine when arrested for a DUI in California then you will be facing a refusal hearing at the DMV. The stakes are higher at a refusal hearing because even for a first DUI you will be facing a one year suspension of your license. The worst part is that you will not be eligible for a restricted license under any circumstances if you lose this hearing.
If the DMV finds you refused and you have a prior DUI you will face a two year suspension of your license with absolutely no chance to get a restricted license. While refusal hearings are similar to regular DMV Hearings in many ways, the consequences for losing a refusal hearing are much more severe.