DUI OFFENSE REQUIRES IMMEDIATE ACTION
The charge of Driving Under the Influence involves two separate proceedings a criminal action filed by the state and an administrative proceeding initiated by the police officer and filed by the Department of Motor Vehicles. Theses proceedings affect both in state and out of state drivers. To fully protect your driving privilege, you need to prevail in both proceedings.
In most instances, if you are arrested for driving under the influence you will automatically lose your privilege to drive if you do not request a hearing within 10 days of the date of arrest. That is why you need to contact my office as soon as possible after your arrest, even if you are contemplating using the public defender to defend your criminal case. You do not have a right to have an attorney appointed for you if you can not afford one at the DMV administrative hearing.
If you cannot afford an attorney at the criminal proceedings; I can represent you in the DMV action alone at a very affordable rate, and then you are free to seek a public defender to handle your criminal case.
It is important to fight both the administrative and the criminal action arising from your DUI because the law is becoming more strict every year and the administrative sanctions on your driving privilege can be severe. Punishment for DUI's has become increasingly severe with the passing of time, for example California has just enacted new laws that in many cases will be requiring the installation of an ignition interlock device in order to restore or maintain your driving privilege.
Frequently, the ticket given by the police officer gives a court date months ahead. The pink temporary license provided is valid for 30 days. These facts frequently lull drivers into believing they can delay contacting an attorney and nothing will happen until the court date.
Nothing can be farther from the truth!
If you don't request a hearing within 10 days of your arrest and you are given a pink temporary license, then you will most likely lose your driving privilege when the "pink" temporary license expires thirty days after your arrest. So act immediately!
Note there are enhanced penalties for those under the age of 21 and for commercial drivers that can result in lengthy suspensions or termination of your commercial driving privilege completely.
The DMV administrative hearing is completely separate from the criminal action. In most cases, the evidence consists entirely of documentary evidence and the rules of evidence. Careless errors made by the police, DMV's failure to put on sufficient evidence, or an affirmative defense may result in victory at the administrative hearing. A victory at the DMV hearing helps the criminal defense because it means that your license while the criminal matter proceeds.
The DMV hearing is concerned with only 3 issues:
- The peace officer had reasonable cause to believe you were driving a motor vehicle in violation of Vehicle Code section 23140, 23152, 23153.
- You were placed under lawful arrest.
- You driving a motor vehicle when you had 0.08% or more by weight of alcohol in your blood.
A DMV hearing is like a three legged stool. If you prevail on any one of these issues then you win the hearing. The evidentiary rules at these hearings may be based upon the California Evidence Code, but they are applied in a manner that are unique to DMV hearings.
If you win the DMV hearing then you have overcome the first hurdle to protect your driving privilege. Furthermore, by prevailing at the DMV hearing and later pleading to a lesser charge, this may result in reduced education expense and no suspension of your driving privilege. In some cases. a DMV hearing can be used to help the criminal case by giving me an opportunity to question the police officer under oath. Later at trial, this testimony can be used to lock down the officer's testimony or challenge the veracity of the police officer. This can be a potent weapon for the defense in a subsequent DUI trial.
It takes a skilled DUI lawyer to represent you at these hearings to understand the nuances of a DMV hearing. These hearings differ significantly from a criminal hearing due to the administrative nature of the proceedings.