If you’ve just been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in California, then you should know that you only have ten days in which you can schedule an administrative license hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Your ten days starts as soon as you are issued a copy of the completed notice of suspension or revocation of your license. The officer who arrested you, by law, is required to immediately forward you this notice. While the DMV will be automatically notified of your arrest so that they can process the officer’s request to suspend your license, requesting a hearing to contest that suspension.
If you are arrested for DUI, the officer should issue you both an order of suspension and a temporary license. While your license is automatically suspended upon an arrest, you are given a 30-day temporary permit. This will allow you to drive until you either request and have a DMV hearing or drive until it expires. If for some reason your DMV hearing is scheduled more than 30 days past the date of your arrest, your temporary driving permit can be extended. Remember, a DMV hearing is not required, but it is your only change to prove that the license suspension is not justified.
DMV hearings are actually held at the Department of Motor Vehicles in the jurisdiction that your arrest took place. Typically, you have 10 days to schedule this hearing but in some cases when the suspension order is mailed, you may have 14 days. You do not have to bring an attorney to this hearing, but it can prove to be helpful. In order to contest the evidence that is against you, you should be aware of what that evidence is. You have the right to contact the California DMV in order to request a copy of the discovery (evidence pertaining to your arrest). This must be requested at least 10 days before your DMV hearing is scheduled.
What often happens is that individuals have a DMV hearing scheduled that they cannot make it to. If you come to learn that you are unable to make it to this hearing, you must notify the DMV and reschedule at least ten days prior to your hearing. You must also present a valid reason for missing the hearing, or the rescheduling will be denied. If you attend the DMV hearing, you will be notified of their final decision at the hearing itself. If you do not attend this hearing, then you will still be notified- likely by mail. Those who do not agree and wish to contest the DMV’s judgment can appeal.
To learn more about DMV hearings and what to expect, it may be wise to speak with a DUI attorney near you. A lawyer will be able to explain the evidence against you and walk you through the entire process from beginning to end. Remember, a DMV hearing is your one chance to contest your license suspension. Don’t waste it!