After a DUI, your life changes dramatically. Suddenly, you have fines and penalties to pay, classes to enroll in and a number of steps to complete to get your full driving privileges reinstated. To do all this, you will have to deal with two different systems that handle separate aspects of your DUI sentencing. When you are convicted of a DUI, you will enter into criminal court as well as DMV proceedings. You will be processed through both these systems and be held accountable for meeting the requirements of each. The criminal court system and the DMV will hand down separate consequences for your DUI. The California DMV handles DUI offenders through the Administrative Per Se program, established in 1990. Through this program, DUI offenders will have their driver's licenses automatically confiscated at the time of arrest. Once confiscated, the licenses are sent to the DMV, which then handles the suspension and then reinstatement of your driving privileges. When your license is confiscated, you will be issued a temporary license as well as an Order of Suspension/Revocation. The license will be valid for only 30 days. This time allows you to arrange for alternative transportation or, if you feel the suspension was unlawful, to challenge the suspension through the DMV hearing process. Once you get the Order of Suspension/Revocation, you will then have ten days to request an administrative hearing through the DMV if you seek to contest the suspension. Keep in mind that you may also have a hearing through the court system where you can contest the charge but at the DMV hearing, you will only be contesting the license suspension, not the criminal charge. Even if your charges are dismissed in criminal court, you will still have to have to appear at a DMV hearing to have your suspension dismissed. You can request the DMV send you a copy of your police report prior to the hearing so you, and your attorney if you decide to hire one, can review it and prepare. The hearing gives you a chance to contest the suspension if you feel it was not justified or valid. You can have an attorney attend the hearing with you if you want. The DMV will review the police report, along with the results of your BAC test and a report by the arresting officer, prior to the hearing. The DMV will consider the immediate facts based off of these documents so if you are contesting the suspension, make sure you can demonstrate, based on those documents, that the suspension was invalid. At the hearing, they will consider whether or not your arresting officer had good cause to pull you over for suspicion of a DUI, whether or not your arrest was lawful and based off of this cause and your BAC level at the time of driving. The DMV does not deal with issues outside of these three concerns so in your defense, you should focus on invalidating just these. If you do choose to raise one of these defenses, it is recommended you obtain the help of an experienced DUI defense attorney. If you choose to have an attorney with you, they will review the documents the DMV reviews and may be able to identify potential defenses to the suspension. All of these issues will be addressed in the documents sent to the DMV after your arrest. The police report will note the reason why the officer pulled you over and if the arrest was done based off of probably cause and in a lawful manner and conduct. They will also receive the result of any BAC tests you performed either at the time of arrest or in custody. They will also be reviewing your DMV record, which would reveal any prior DUI or alcohol related offenses. If you want to challenge any of these documents, review copies of them, cross-reference them to your own memory of the arrest and contact a DUI defense attorney to discuss your case. An experienced attorney will be able to consider the facts of the case, identify the weaknesses in the evidence and advise you on the best defense.
Have you or a loved one recently been charged with a DUI? DUI defense attorney Christopher Martens knows how to best advise you on dealing with DMV requirements and will work to get you back on the road as soon as possible. Serving the Visalia and Fresno areas, The Law Offices of Christopher Martens can provide expert DUI defense counsel. Call our office at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.