California right to DMV Hearing; potential license suspension
2 possible license suspensions for a DUIThere are two possible license suspensions associated with a DUI.
The first is a license suspension based on a DUI conviction in criminal court. Once there is a DUI conviction, the DMV receives notification of this conviction and starts a license suspension. The length on the time of that suspension depends on some variables, such as whether this is a 1st offense DUI (6 month suspension), a 2nd offense DUI (2 year suspension), etc.
The second possible license suspension as a result of a DUI is issued directly from the DMV, without the Criminal Courts involvement. Again, the length of time on that suspension depends on some variables, such as whether this is a 1st offense DUI (4 month suspension), a 2nd offense DUI (1 year suspension), etc. This article focuses on the suspension that would be issued directly by the DMV.
Note that when both suspensions can run at the same time so there is no overlap, thus minimizing the time that your license is suspended.
Temporary license issued at time of arrestIf arrested for a DUI with a .08 Blood Alcohol Level or higher, generally speaking, the officer will take your California drivers license away and issue you colored piece of paper that acts as your temporary license for 30 days. If issued this piece of paper, if you do nothing about it, you can lawfully drive for 30 days after the arrest. There are exceptions to this, for instance, if your license is already suspended for something else. In that case, you did not have a valid license to begin with, so you will not be able to lawfully drive with a temporary license. Also, if within the 30 days after your arrest, you get convicted in Criminal Court of the DUI, then a separate license suspension will be issued, over-riding the temporary license.
10 days after arrest to request a DMV hearingAfter being arrested for a DUI, you will have 10 days to request a DMV hearing. There are some potential exceptions to this for good cause, such as serious injury or incapacity immediately following the DUI arrest. If the 10th day falls on a weekend or holiday, your time to request a hearing will go to the next regular business day.
If you do not request a DMV hearing, the DMV will perform their own review of the file, which generally leads to a drivers license suspension at the end of your 30 day temporary license.
Who can request a DMV hearing? and where do you go to do this?You can request a DMV hearing yourself within the 10 day time frame, or have a privately retained attorney request it on your behalf. At the time of this request, you or your attorney can also ask for a "stay" on the suspension of your license. After it is granted, you will receive a new temporary license that will be good for an extended period of time (usually 3-4 months) or until there is a adverse ruling on your DMV hearing. Additionally, if there is a suspension on your license based on another factor (such as a DUI conviction in criminal court) your temporary license will not be valid.
Should you retain an Attorney to deal with this portion of your DUI?I, along with many other DUI attorneys, when retained to handle the Criminal portion of the DUI, will include handling the DMV request , setting the DMV hearing date, getting an extended temporary license, and defending you at the DMV hearing as part of the retainer. Keep in mind that with few exceptions, you must retain the attorney within 10 days of the arrest to give the attorney time to request the hearing, etc.
Although anyone can represent themselves at a DMV hearing, if you are unfamiliar with the process and do not want to invest the time in learning the intricacies of fighting DUI's at a DMV hearing, I recommend hiring an experienced DUI attorney in your area to handle this for you.
This Article is for informative purposes onlyAs there are many variables that can be involved in a DUI arrest, you should not rely on this article, as it is intended for general informative purposes only. You should speak to an experienced DUI attorney in your area regarding your case, and how to best protect your license after a DUI arrest. There is no attorney-client privilege generated from this article.