You only have 10 calendar days from the date of your arrest to contact the California Department of Motor Vehicles in order to stave off the suspension of your driving privilege. Failure to do so guarantees the suspension, no matter how good your defenses are or even if you show conclusively you weren't above a .08%. Your court date has NOTHING to do with your DMV Hearing. They are separate and appearing at your arraignment will not protect you from a DMV suspension.
A Good Attorney Will Handle it For You
Any good lawyer specializing in handling DUI cases and hired within the first 10 days after your arrest will arrange and schedule your DMV Hearing for you. Make sure you confirm with your attorney in writing and/or via retainer agreement before leaving the office that the attorney plans on scheduling the hearing on your behalf. If there is a breakdown in communication or a misunderstanding and your lawyer fails to schedule your hearing, there is no recourse with the DMV.
If You Hire A Lawyer, DON'T Schedule Your Hearing Yourself
If you are hiring a quality lawyer who is a member of the National College of DUI Defense and the California DUI Lawyers Association within the first 10 days after your arrest, don't jump the gun and schedule your DMV hearing on your own. Once a date is provided the DMV works very hard to keep that date even if you later hirer a lawyer and that date conflicts with their schedule. Generally, we work with the DMV daily and they will work to some degree around our schedules. But again, this is only if you plan on hiring a lawyer within the first 10 days.
If You Are Going to Hire a Lawyer Later...
If you plan on hiring a lawyer after the first 10 calendar days after your arrest OR you are going to avoid hiring a lawyer altogether, you are responsible for scheduling a hearing. While this is the least likely scenario to obtain a good outcome, it may be necessary because of financial reasons or personal decisions. Remember: A public defender cannot and will not help you with the DMV. In fact, most know very little about because they never practice within the structure of the DMV. When you left custody or were cited and released, you were likely provided a pink paper that is titled Temporary License and Admin Per Se Order of Suspension. Read it. Know it. Live it. The whole thing is important. The phone number to the DMV is located at the top right corner on the first page. Remember: You may stay on hold or get busy signals for hours. Prepare accordingly.
Dont Let the DMV Personnel Convince You to Skip Your Hearing
For some reasons, the persons answering the phones to schedule DMV Hearings work diligently to convince many drivers that their hearings would be fruitless or unwise. They tell callers its a waste of time.
DO NOT discuss the merits or facts of your case with DMV personnel on the phone.
DO NOT schedule telephonic hearings.
ALWAYS schedule In-Person hearings
DO NOT fail to schedule your hearing
DO NOT allow them to convince you not to schedule your hearing
ALWAYS get the first and last name of the person you talked to, the date and time you spoke, and the date and time of your hearing
ALWAYS write down your hearing date and time
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