If you were recently arrested in Los Angeles County for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and you are awaiting your DMV hearing, it is imperative that you are fully prepared for what lies just ahead. Learning the basics of the process and hiring a skilled DUI defense attorney will greatly improve your chances of a dismissal, acquittal, or reduced charge or sentence.
While many assume that successfully fighting DUI charges is nearly impossible, this is not at all the case. At Los Angeles DUI Lawyer, we win cases every day that save our clients' driving privileges and positively affect their future for years to come. Keep in mind that a DUI stays on one's record for 10 years and that there will be a substantial increase in one's automobile insurance after a DUI conviction.
When arrested for DUI in Los Angeles, your California driver's license is confiscated by the police, and you are issued a temporary (pink-slip) license known as an "Admin Per Se Suspension/Revocation Order and Temporary License" which the arresting officer is required to give you upon your release from custody after an arrest for DUI. This "Admin Per Se Suspension/Revocation Order and Temporary License" gives you formal notice of your license's suspension and explains (in brief) the DMV processes and requirements to follow if you wish to schedule a DMV hearing.
Your "pink" temporary license expires 30 days after issuance, but you have only 10 days to contact the DMV and schedule a hearing. After the 10 days have expired, you will lose the right to challenge the DUI at a DMV hearing. However, if your temporary license is set to expire before your scheduled hearing, a skilled DUI attorney may be able to get the expiration stayed until after the DMV hearing. That way, you can at least continue to drive all the way until your DMV hearing, even if it does not occur within 30 days of your arrest, which is oftentimes the case.
Also note that the 10 days does not mean “business days.” Weekends and holidays inclusive, you have only 10 actual days, 240 hours, to request a DMV hearing before no longer being allowed to do so.
The DMV Hearing
It is important to recognize that your DMV hearing is not a courtroom trial that will establish your guilt or innocence. Instead, it is a Civil "administrative review" process that gives allows you to fight the Department of Motor Vehicles possible suspension of your driving privileges based on the DUI arrest if it can be demonstrated that the DMV cannot meet their prima facie case for a suspension based on the Police report, DMV documents, and other papers that the DMV will introduce at the hearing.
The five (5) main issues that will be in focus at the DMV hearing are the following:
- Was there reasonable suspicion/probable cause for the police officer to believe you were driving a motor vehicle in violation of Vehicle Code section 23152, 23153 or 23154?
- Did the police officer lawfully detain you while you were on DUI probation OR lawfully arrest you for DUI?
- Were you driving a motor vehicle when you had a 0.01% BAC (blood alcohol content) or more by weight of alcohol while on DUI probation; a 0.04% BAC (blood alcohol content) or more by weight of alcohol while driving a commercial vehicle; OR a .0.08% or more by weight of alcohol while driving a motor vehicle?
- Did you refuse to, or for some other reason fail to, submit to the breath and/or blood chemical tests OR Preliminary Alcohol Screening Test (P.A.S. Test) if you were currently on probation for a DUI, after being requested by a police officer to do so?
- Did the arresting officer inform you that, under California's Implied Consent Law, a refusal to submit to BAC tests can result in a minimum one-year license suspension and make you ineligible for a restricted license?
If evidence arises at your DMV hearing that the charges and facts brought against you are invalid, false, or unconstitutional or that the arresting officer acted illegally/improperly in making the arrest or administering a BAC test, there exists a great possibility that you will win your hearing and have your license suspension set aside.
The reason is that when your rights are violated by being stopped without probable cause, arrested without probable cause, interrogated by police before being informed you are under arrest and read your Miranda Rights, by being subjected to unlawful searches/seizures, or in any other way, the evidence obtained can be declared inadmissible in court. A good DUI lawyer will identify such violations if they exist and make a motion to suppress the evidence, which usually leaves the prosecution without a winnable case (so he/she drops it).
Even if you win the DMV hearing, however, it is still possible your case could be pursued by the local prosecutor’s office. But even if this were to happen, the same evidence that assisted you in your DMV hearing can be used to your advantage in the court case.
Should you lose the DMV hearing on a first arrest for DUI, the Department of Motor Vehicles will send you notice that your license will be suspended for 4 months. But this DOES NOT HAVE TO HAPPEN EVEN IF WE LOSE THE DMV HEARING. We can arrange a 30 days hard suspension of your driving privilege followed by 5 months of a restricted driver’s license which allows you to drive to and from work and the alcohol program. For any questions regarding this 30 day only suspension, call me at 424-281-3020.
DMV Hearing Strategies (the list is endless and these are just a few examples)
There are a number of possible defense strategies that we use at Los Angeles DUI Lawyer Offices of Jeff Voll to maximize the chances of you winning your DMV hearing, including the following:
- The stop/detention/arrest lacked reasonable suspicion/probable cause: If you were pulled over and/or arrested on DUI without sufficient reasonable suspicion/probable cause, there is a good possibility of a successful outcome of the DMV hearing. For example, the arresting officer pulled you over because of the time and place you were driving rather than for erratic driving behavior or violations of traffic laws. Or it could be the officer came to your home in response to a call by a neighbor, but you only consumed alcohol after leaving your vehicle and entering the house. Realistically the list of examples here are endless. All it takes is for the Law Offices of Jeff Voll at Los Angeles DUI Lawyer to prevail on just one issue and your driving privilege will not suffer a suspension at the DMV hearing.
- You were not in the vehicle when intoxicated: Although you may have had a genuinely high BAC, perhaps you were detained and then arrested after the vehicle was parked while there was no police officer observation of driving.
- The breath test was Not administered correctly: There are many ways breath tests can be mishandled. First, you are entitled to a 15-minute observation or deprivation period before the officer takes your breath sample. This is to ensure that nothing in your mouth contaminates the sample and throws off the accuracy of the test. Second, breathalyzers must be tested at least every 10 days or 150 uses to ensure they are in good working order. If either of these, or other, protocols are not followed, the results can potentially be invalidated.
- Your BAC reading was falsely high: If there is reason to believe your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was reading higher than it actually was, your DUI charge could possibly be reduced or dismissed. For example, acid reflux disease, a bad case of heartburn, certain prescription medications, and even a low-carb diet can trigger false high readings.
- You were not warned of the consequences of refusing a test: An arresting officer is required to clearly inform you of your right to refuse a blood/breath test but must also mention the one-year license suspension and other likely consequences of exercising that right. The officer must have actually read the official statement word for word. It is quite common for officers to rush through the process without properly reading the required information, and our attorneys always check to see if this was done.
- You were falsely accused of refusing testing: Sometimes, an officer will say an arrestee refused a breath test, when in fact, you were physically unable to comply with the testing process. It may be you did not have the lung strength to blow hard into the device. Instead of offering an alternate test, the officer may have assumed you were refusing to cooperate. If so, we may be able to get this extra allegation dismissed at the DMV hearing.
- Omissions/mistakes are in the police report: Since officers are often in a hurry during an arrest, and because they write out numerous police reports on a routine basis, it is not uncommon to find important details missing or incorrectly recorded in police paperwork. Often, these types of errors can cause the DMV to set aside your DMV suspension case. At Los Angeles DUI Lawyer, we are adept at detecting all such errors and bringing them to the attention of the DMV Hearing Officer.
As the above-listed defense strategies indicate, there are a number of viable ways to put up a strong case and win at a DMV hearing. With experienced DUI defense lawyers working on your case and representing you at the hearing, your chances of a successful outcome are much higher. And remember, ... Jeff Voll was successful in obtaining OVER 100 CRIMINAL CASE DISMISSALS IN ONE YEAR. IF THE LAWYER YOU ARE LOOKING TO HIRE CANNOT MAKE THAT CLAIM, WHY BOTHER WITH HIM!
Reasons People Fail to Prepare for Their DMV Hearing
Finally, we want to address some common reasons why many arrested on charges of DUI in California fail to adequately prepare for their DMV hearing. None of these are good reasons, and you should take your DMV hearing and the trial that may follow it extreme seriously.
- The belief that “DUI cases are simply not winnable.” As we have already shown above in our partial list of possible defenses, this is simply not true. It is a popular myth that a DUI allegation is unshakable due to BACs, police reports, and other evidences. Any form of evidence can potentially be challenged and shown to be weaker than it first appeared by an experienced DUI defense lawyer.
- The belief that trying to challenge the DUI charge will lead to your punishment being worse if your attempt fails. Not so. DMV judges understand that everyone has the right to a fair hearing and legal representation. They have no desire to keep your license suspended if you can give them a good reason not to. They will follow the law and impose only the normal penalties even if you lose the hearing after trying to escape the suspension.
- The idea that it costs too much to get a good DUI lawyer. In reality, it will cost far more to lose your driving privileges for months or years on end, to suffer the ill effects a DUI on your criminal record can have on employment, educational, and career advancement opportunities, and to pay for expensive DUI classes. A Los Angeles DUI lawyer, we assist you for competitive, reasonable rates and give you top-tier defense that is well worthwhile.
- Being “too busy” to worry about the DMV hearing. This is a big mistake. Your future depends very much upon the outcome of your upcoming DMV hearing and/or trial. It makes no sense to not do everything possible to prepare well in advance and to avail yourself of the best legal advice and representation available.
Contact Us Today for Assistance
At Los Angeles DUI Lawyer, we have long experience in winning a wide variety of DUI cases for clients all across the Greater L.A. Area. Our DUI defense lawyers know how to spot weaknesses in the case brought against you that can often get the charges dropped and your license reinstated.
To learn more or for a free legal consultation on the details of your case, contact us 24/7 at Los Angeles DUI Lawyer by calling 424-281-3020.