I’VE BEEN ARRESTED FOR A FIRST TIME DUI: WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN TO MY LICENSE?
A first-time DUI conviction in California triggers the DMV to impose a 6-month driver’s license suspension as mandated by Vehicle Code section 13352(a)(1). Multiple DUI convictions result in more severe repercussions on your license. Public Transportation in San Diego is not ideal and, unfortunately, is often unreliable. The loss of your driving privileges impacts many areas of your life and productivity. It is important to act quickly after the initial arrest to make every effort to secure your driving privileges while your case moves through the court system.
Immediately following an arrest for a DUI, the officer will hand you an Order of Suspension and Temporary License. You may drive for 30 days from the date the order of suspension or revocation was issued, provided you have been issued a California driver license and your driver license is not expired, or your driving privilege is not suspended or revoked for some other reason. You must carry this paper with you at all times as your driver’s license.
This paper also serves as notice that you or your attorney must call the DMV within 10 days of your arrest to schedule a hearing to determine if the suspension was justified. Once the hearing date is set with the DMV, your privilege to drive is intact until the date of your hearing provided you have been issued a California driver license and your driver license is not expired, or your driving privilege is not suspended or revoked for some other reason.
If you do not contact the DMV and request a hearing, the DMV will automatically suspend your driver’s license. You may drive for 30 days from the date the order of suspension or revocation was issued, but at the end of the 30 days the suspension will be triggered.
Thus, even before your first arraignment on your case, your license can be suspended and you could be suffering one of the consequences of a DUI. This is one of the many reasons why acting quickly is important. Even if you wish to proceed with a Public Defender on your criminal court case, the court-appointed attorney will not be able to represent you for the DMV hearing.
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WHAT IS THE POINT OF THE DMV HEARING?
At the DMV hearing, the Administrative Officer determines if there was sufficient justification to suspend your license. This is not a criminal action, and thus the burden of proof is much lower than that of your criminal case. Furthermore, the Administrative Officer acts as both the Prosecutor and the Judge. Obviously, the odds are not in favor of the accused.
If you win the hearing, the suspension is deemed to be “set aside.” Getting your suspension set aside is rare and is case specific. However, there are many benefits to having the DMV hearing that you should be aware of before you allow the 10-day period to lapse.
1. Expedited Discovery
Once you set your hearing date, your attorney will receive discovery regarding your case. This includes the chemical test results, the officer’s declaration of probable cause for initiating the stop, and even the police report. Without this hearing date, your attorney will not recieve the discovery until your arraignment on the criminal case. If you are arrested for a DUI and bond out of custody, your arraignment date can often be more than (or much more than) a month after your arrest. Requesting a hearing date can give you more time to prepare yourself for the criminal court date.
2. Testimony By Arresting Officer
Often times, but not always, the Arresting Officer testifies at the DMV Hearing. Either the Administrative Officer or your attorney may subpoena the police officer. The officer must justify his or her stop to the Administrative Officer. Thus, he will testify under penalty of perjury regarding your arrest and the reasons he began his investigation. When preparing a case it is always better to have as much information as possible, especially from the person who is accusing you of the offense. Without the DMV hearing, you will only have the police officer’s report. You may have to wait until his testimony at trial to find out exactly what he will say about the evening of your arrest.
3. More Than 30 Days Before Suspension Is Triggered
Depending upon the DMV Hearing Officer’s schedules, you may not get a date for your hearing until 5 or 6 weeks after you request the hearing. Thus- if eligible- your temporary license may last longer than 30 days.
4. The Suspension Could Be Set Aside
Finally, if you do not request a hearing your license will be automatically suspended. You will not even have the opportunity to have the suspension set aside as you will have waived that fight.
It is possible to have the suspension set aside in some cases based upon the facts of the case. If your suspension is set-aside, your license will not be suspended at all while your criminal case is handled. Furthermore, if your suspension is set aside it is often a signal to the prosecution that there is a weakness in the case. The fact of a set-aside can be used to negotiate a favorable pre-trial resolution with the government.
These are only some of the reasons it is important to act quickly after an arrest for DUI. Contact Attorney Gerstenzang today to assist you in scheduling a hearing and preparing your case.