DMV DUI Hearing in California

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There are two very important things to note about a driver license hearing, first and foremost, it is not your court date and secondly, a hearing is not mandatory for a DUI charge.  Upon being arrested you will have ten days to request a driver license hearing from the DMV’s Office of Driver Safety.  This hearing will pertain to the suspension and evocation of your drivers license, the hearing will not decide if you are guilty or innocent of a crime.

It is also important to note that you have the right to represent yourself during the hearing or hire counsel.

Hearings are typically performed telephonically, unless an individual requests a hearing to be performed in person.  If an individual contacts the department and schedules a hearing by phone then later seeks counsel, the counsel has the opportunity to write to the department to change the scheduling.  The hearings typically take place at a DMV field office near the spot of the arrest or at a different location if both parties can agree.

What Happens During the Hearing?

At the hearing there will be several people: the hearing officer who acts as prosecutor and judge; the counsel (if counsel was hired); the client (does not need to be present if counsel is present) and any witnesses.

The law states each licensee is guaranteed a prompt hearing, on the other hand, no hearing can be scheduled without sufficient time to fully prepare.  There must be sufficient time to obtain all the necessary discovery material, an opportunity to review records of the breathe machine used, ample time to subpoena the appropriate witnesses, an opportunity to check the qualifications of the individual who performed the various tests, along with whatever the counsel seems necessary for the case.

Arguably the most important piece of evidence is the officer’s statement that must be signed under oath.  This statement must be performed by the arresting officer and promptly mailed to the DMV within five days of the arrest.  The officer’s statement includes the necessary facts to suspend a license, for example, the observation of the driver, probable cause and the breathe test results.

During the hearing, the hearing officer will listen to the counsel, witnesses, and any evidence presented.  It is rare for the hearing officer to make a decision at the hearing but once a decision has been made the individual will learn of the decision in writing.

The Most Common Means to Success

There are a few common ways to successfully have the suspension of a driver’s license lifted.

  • There is insufficient proof of impairment from alcohol
  • If there is insufficient evidence that the driver who received the DUI was actually driving.
  • The officer lacked a sufficient amount of probable cause to stop and arrest the driver.
  • The test was not administered within three hours of the driver operating the vehicle.
  • The laboratory blood and urine tests were not signed in a timely manner after the tests were administered.
  •  The officer did not fully disclose the licensee of the consequences of refusing to take a test.
  • The dates and times of the officer’s statements were not accurate.
  • Records show repeating problems with the breathe machine used at the time of the arrest.
  • Records indicate that the alcohol analyst was not sufficiently qualified.
  • There is insufficient proof of impairment from alcohol

If you want an experienced DUI attorney to represent you during your DMV DUI hearing so you can avoid long license suspensions give us a call for a FREE no obligation consultation at

Call Us To Represent You At The Hearing (310) 274-6529

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