If you have recently been arrested on a charge of DUI or DUID, there are many negative consequences that can come with a conviction. These include heavy fines, jail time, community service, and the creation of a permanent criminal record. Nonetheless, losing your California driver's license is the most obvious and one of the most difficult results that typically flow from a DUI conviction.
You likely rely on your license to commute to/from work every day, to visit family and friends, to drive to a university or technical college, and to buy groceries and other basic needs. Your driving privileges are well worth fighting for, and contrary to popular opinion, it is not at all unrealistic to defeat a DUI charge.
But it will take a superior level or legal representation to win you the best possible outcome at your upcoming DMV hearing. At Los Angeles DUI Lawyer, we understand the laws, administrative rules, and procedures that apply at an L.A. Area DMV hearing. We also understand what kinds of evidence and legal arguments will be most effective at winning you a dismissal or a reduced penalty.
To learn more about how to avoid, or at the least lessen the severity of, a DMV license suspension, contact us anytime 24/7 at 310-848-1376.
1st DUI DMV License Suspensions
If you have been arrested for your very first alleged DUI offense, you may not quite understand the complexities of the process that has been triggered.
The arresting officer pulled you over, seized your driver's license, and handed you a pink slip in its place. That gives you the right to drive for the next 30 days or until your DMV hearing. But getting a DMV hearing is not automatic; you have to request one — and you only have 10 days to do so before that right expires. (And also note that the 10 days are not "business days," but include weekends and holidays.)
If you have a good lawyer make the call to the DMV for you, he/she can likely get your temporary license (pink slip) extended until your DMV hearing even if your hearing is scheduled past the original 30-day mark, which it likely will be.
The next thing to understand is that a DMV hearing is essentially different from an actual trial. The DMV can only issue "administrative penalties, whereas, a conviction on DUI (as such) would take place before a judge at a jury trial. Even if you win your DMV hearing, it is possible you will have to still go to court on DUI charges.
It's true, however, that a win at the hearing could well lead to the state dropping the case since the same evidences that won your hearing could help you win in court.
What can the presiding DMV officer do at your hearing? He/she can dismiss the case for lack of evidence or based on police violations of your rights; or, you could be handed the 6-month DMV license suspension that applies to 1st-time DUIs in California (under Vehicle Code Section 13352).
If your DUI is based on a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above .08%, the DMV can suspend your license based on an "administrative per se DUI." Otherwise, for BACs lower than .08, a suspension would be based on driving while intoxicated such that the alcohol (or drugs) inhibited your normal driving ability.
If you do not request a hearing, the DMV will suspend your license automatically. Fighting a DUI at your hearing is critical, therefore; and fighting a DUI at your court trial (if you have one) is important so you can avoid a criminal record. And also note that a win in court can overturn the DMV ruling, if the judge's ruling effectively amounts to an acquittal on the charge of DUI. A court ruling, however, that reduces the DUI charge to wet reckless, while beneficial in lessening your sentence, may not affect the earlier DMV decision.
Finally, also note that most who lose their license for a first-time DUI are eligible to apply for a restricted license, which allows you to drive to/from work and DUI School at specified hours. While you will have to file form SR-22 through your insurance company and pay more for coverage, a restricted license can help you keep your job and so is well worth it.
At Los Angeles DUI Lawyer, we understand the fear and uncertainty that come with a first-time DUI arrest, and we assure you we have the experience it takes to maximize your chances of a favorable outcome at your DMV hearing and/or court case.
2nd DUI DMV License Suspensions
The repercussions of a second DUI can be very serious, both at the DMV hearing and trial, if your case is not dismissed or you are not acquitted. It is all the more important to secure the services of a skilled DUI defense attorney when you face a repeat DUI charge.
In most respect, the same rules apply to a 2nd DUI as to a 1st one. You still must request a DMV hearing within 10 days of your arrest or lose the right to one, you still must present evidence to defeat the per se DUI allegation (based on .08% BAC or above) or the claim your driving was inhibited though your BAC was under .08, and you still will automatically lose your license if you simply ignore the DUI or give up on fighting it, and so don't request a hearing.
The difference is that you risk a 12 month DMV license suspension instead of only a 6 month suspension. The DUI does count as a second DUI violation if it occurs within 10 years of the arrest date of a previous DUI. And wet reckless convictions also count as DUIs for the purpose of the 10-year lookback period.
At Los Angeles DUI Lawyer, we can apply many of the same defenses and strategies to defeat a 2nd DUI as for a first DUI. We will fight first and foremost for a dismissal or acquittal, but even in cases where that is not obtainable, we know how to get your penalties/sentence reduced and how to fight to get you approved for a temporary license.
3rd DUI DMV License Suspensions
When you are arrested on DUI within 10 years of two previous DUI arrests, it counts in California as a 3rd DUI. The DMV license suspension period for a 3rd DUI is generally 12 months; while the court-imposed suspension would be 3 years. But note that this would not "add up" to 4 years, but would be 3 only.
The penalties and sentencing elements for a 3rd DUI are severe enough that you should be certain to secure the services of the best possible DUI lawyer. The DMV and/or court may have a natural tendency think you are probably guilty of the new alleged offense based on the two prior convictions. Thus, you need a lawyer who knows the process and "the rules" and will fight tenaciously in your best interests from beginning to end.
At Los Angeles DUI Lawyer, we know how to win the tougher DUI cases, not just the "easy" ones. You can trust us to do everything legally possible to gain a dismissal at your DMV hearing and to lessen the severity of any penalties through skillfully negotiating a plea deal when that is the best possible outcome.
4th DUI DMV License Suspensions
A fourth or subsequent DUI is the most severe kind of DUI case you can face other than DUI with injury or death and is a felony. At the DMV hearing, however, the categories "felony" and "misdemeanor" do not apply, for those are terms to do with the court trial. At your DMV hearing for an alleged 4th DUI, the same procedural rules still apply and the same defense strategies are still effective.
The administrative DMV license suspension for a 4th DUI is 12 months, the same as for a 2nd or 3rd DUI; however, you will not be eligible for a restricted license until the full 12 months are up. At that point, though, you can indeed still apply for a restricted license.
If you lose in court, regardless of whether or not you won your DMV hearing, you will face a four-year license suspension, which the DMV will impose. And to get your restricted license after the first year of suspension or to reinstate your license after the four years, you must submit evidence to the DMV or such things as having installed an IID (ignition interlock device), having submitted the SR-22 insurance form, and having completed many months long DUI classes.
A 4th or subsequent DUI can also result in fines totally around $3,500 in L.A. County. And there is a 180 day mandatory minimum of actual jail time, plus probation to follow.
By defeating your 4th DUI at the DMV hearing, you regain your driving privileges and, if there is a court case to follow, you put yourself in a better position to win it. At Los Angeles DUI Lawyer, we have handled many "tough DUI cases" in the past, such as 4th-time DUIs, and we know how to win them and defend your license.
Refusal of the Chemical Test
By accepting a driver's license and using the roadways of California, you are considered to automatically give "implied consent" to submit to BAC chemical tests requested by a law enforcement officer who stops who suspects you of DUI, and who has stopped you with legitimate probable cause.
You can refuse the preliminary breathalyzer test based on a medical condition, but you cannot refuse the blood test or the later breath test without severe repercussions should you lose your DMV hearing.
If you win a dismissal at your DMV hearing, refusal of the test will not matter much, but it can enhance any penalties you do receive. For example, a chemical test refusal adds a year to your DMV license suspension for a repeat DUI, which makes the total two years. And even if you DUI conviction is overturned in court later on, the DMV one-year suspension for refusal of the chemical test would remain. Thus, it is especially important to win at the DMV hearing on the test-refusal point, if that allegation is brought against you.
However, it is possible to get a suspension for chemical test refusal overturned by directly petitioning the California Superior Court with what is called a "writ of mandate." We at Los Angeles DUI Lawyer possess the legal knowledge and experience necessary to submit the best possible writ of mandate in your behalf, but we normally fight out that battle during the DMV hearing.
It is always best to submit to the chemical test. Remember that the test results can be challenged in a number of ways, such as failure of the officer to properly calibrate the device, that the officer had not been trained to use that exact device, that the device was not properly maintained or that no record of such maintenance exists, or that you had a still-rising BAC level when tested. Furthermore, we can get an independent re-test done that might show a lower reading below .08, and police are required to take an extra sample and properly store it to enable us to run such a re-test. Thus, test refusal is never your best defense.
Contact Us Today For Help
At Los Angeles DUI Lawyer, we have a long track record of winning DMV hearings for our clients for all manner of DUI charges.
A DMV license suspension and other administrative penalties are very serious matters that can affect your life long-term. We understand that and do not take them lightly. We fight tenaciously and with all of our legal knowledge and experience wisely applied in your behalf, because we understand the true impacts of a DUI conviction.
For a free legal consultation on the details of your case, do not hesitate to call us 24/7/365 at 310-848-1376.