Fight for Your Rights
For many people, having a driver's license is a necessity. Many of us need to drive to work or school, during our jobs, or to take care of our family. It's no wonder why so many people panic when they find themselves facing DUI charges. Criminal conviction aside, some people worry more about losing their license than any of the other DUI penalties. This is understandable. Fortunately, you can take steps to fight your DUI license suspension before it takes effect by requesting a Driver Safety Administrative Per Se hearing, also known as an APS hearing.
A DUI arrest will prompt action from both the California criminal justice system and the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Two separate actions with two separate consequences. What some people don't realize is that fighting your DUI license suspension is a completely different process than fighting your DUI charge. And winning your fight against your DUI charge doesn't necessarily mean you win your fight to keep your license.
You need to work directly with the DMV to fight your license suspension, but many people don't know what the procedure is. To fight your DUI license suspension, you need to contact the DMV as soon as possible after you get your notice of license suspension. You will typically get this notice when your arresting officer confiscates your driver's license. At this point, you will also get a temporary license. This is good for 30 days. Once this expires, your license suspension is in effect. Act fast! You only have ten days in which to request a hearing to fight your suspension. After these ten days pass, you lose your right to contest it, and your license suspension will commence at the end of the 30 days.
If you do request an APS hearing in time, your license suspension will be delayed until the hearing has been held. During the administrative hearing, the DMV hearing officer will review the sworn report from the police officer and any test results. There is no judge or jury. This is strictly an administrative review of the facts. The DMV's final decision on the suspension will be based solely off of the facts provided in these documents. You have the right to request copies of these documents before the hearing so you can prepare. You may want to have an attorney help you with this. Sometimes attorneys can obtain copies of police reports before defendants can. The DMV will only consider a few factors at the hearing: whether you were stopped lawfully and the officer had probable cause, whether you were lawfully detained or arrested, whether you refused to submit to a BAC test, what your BAC test result was, if you consented, and what the result of your PAS (Preliminary Alcohol Screening) test was, if the officer administered one.
While this process may seem simple enough, don't go to the hearing unprepared. The burden of proof the DMV has can easily be satisfied with just a few key pieces of information. You have the right to challenge this information and provide evidence and testimony of your own. Most importantly, you have the right to have an attorney represent you during the hearing.
If you do want to have an attorney represent you at your APS hearing, it is crucial you find one that specializes in DUI defense and who has experience handling APS hearings. The rules and regulations governing APS hearings differ from those of the court. That being said, you will need a DUI defense attorney who can skillfully leverage these rules to turn the case in your favor. But make sure you contact an attorney as soon as you can. Once those ten days have passed, you forfeit your right to an APS hearing, and there is almost nothing an attorney can do to at that point to contest your license suspension.
If you have questions about fighting your DUI license suspension, call experienced Visalia area DUI defense attorney Christopher Martens today for expert counsel. At The Law Offices of Christopher Martens, we can evaluate your case and help you build a strategic defense to save your license. Attorney Martens has practiced criminal defense for over ten years and knows how to defend your rights. Contact our Visalia or Hanford offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] to discuss a possible plan of action for your case.