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Orange County DMV Hearing Defense Attorney

About DMV Hearings & License Suspension

In the state of California, drivers who are charged with DUI will have their license confiscated by the arresting officer, who will give them a Notice of Suspension. This pink slip of paper serves as the driver's temporary license for 30 days, after which time the driver's license will be suspended.

If you were recently charged with drunk driving, it is crucial to understand that you only have 10 days from your arrest to schedule a hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Your DMV hearing is the only opportunity you will have to challenge the suspension of your license and fight to save your driving privileges. DMV hearings are also referred to as administrative per se hearings or APS hearings. These are held at the Drivers Safety Office of the DMV and are overseen by a DMV employee, a "Hearing Officer."

At this hearing, presided by a Hearing Officer of the DMV, is often highly technical. The hearing is held to determine whether the driver was in fact driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08%, and thus breathalyzer test or blood test results play a major role.

What happens at the DMV hearing?

The DMV hearing is one of the two main parts of any DUI case. Separate from the criminal court process, the DMV hearing is held in regards to the license suspension. The court has no jurisdiction over whether or not you will lose your license; the DMV alone determines the suspension or revocation of an individual's driver's license after a DUI arrest. Similar to the criminal trial, you have a number of rights that you can choose to enact at your hearing.

These include the right to do the following:

  • Review the evidence against you
  • Challenge the evidence
  • Testify on your own behalf
  • Present and subpoena witnesses
  • Cross-examine witnesses
  • Enlist the advocacy of an attorney

DMV hearings are held similarly to a criminal trial, with a few important exceptions. First, the DMV employee serves as both judge and prosecutor. Second, a public defender is not available to a defendant in a DMV hearing, as it is not a criminal process. Third, Fifth Amendment rights do not apply—meaning a driver may be forced to take the stand and testify against him or herself in the hearing. Thus it is absolutely crucial that any individual arrested for drunk driving consult a lawyer immediately. If your attorney is able to help you achieve a not guilty verdict in criminal court, you may be wondering if you will be able to void your previous license suspension.

The California DMV has released the following statement regarding this matter:

When a driver has been acquitted of DUI charges in court, a suspension or revocation will be reversed if it is determined by the DMV that the court decision does, in fact, equal an acquittal.

Aggressive Orange County DUI Attorneys

The law can be confusing, so it is most incredibly beneficial to retain powerful representation for your hearing as well as your criminal trial. Both legal processes can have severe consequences upon your career, relationships, and personal freedoms, so it is important that you do not leave anything to chance. An attorney can thoroughly examine the evidence against you to find flaws or inconsistencies and build a powerful defense to fight for your right to drive.

At Gold & Witham, our team has over 40 years of collective experience, and we possess the knowledge and skill needed to effectively address your potential license suspension. When we take on a case, we will prepare for the DMV hearing as we would for a court appearance—carefully conducting our own investigation in order to provide a comprehensive and compelling defense. We have guided countless clients through the entire DMV hearing process, and our advocacy provides each driver with the best opportunity to get their license back.

If you have been charged with drunk driving, do not lose hope! Contact an Orange County DUI lawyer from our team to retain the relentless advocacy you deserve and fight for your license.