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Do I Have to Be Present at My DMV Hearing?

Posted by Christopher Martens | Oct 10, 2017 | 0 Comments

Appearing at Your Hearing

If you are facing proceedings with the California Department of Motor Vehicles, you probably want to know what to expect. Many people have never been to an administrative hearing of any kind. Without knowing what to expect, it's hard to prepare, which can hurt your chance of winning your case. The first thing to understand is that DMV proceedings differ from criminal court proceedings in many ways. For one, they are not heard before a judge. Rather, they are heard before an administrative hearing officer. Officers aren't judges or attorneys. Their job is to oversee the proceedings and evaluate the facts at hand before coming to a decision. Also, the hearings are held at the DMV or over the phone, not in a criminal courtroom.

Informal Proceedings

DMV administrative hearings are relatively informal when compared to criminal court proceedings. Nevertheless, DMV hearings should be taken seriously as you could lose your license if you do not prevail. Showing up is step one to taking your case seriously, but many defendants want to know if they need to be present. Work schedules and life tend to make attending DMV proceedings difficult, especially if you aren't given a lot of time before your hearing date. Since DMV hearings can be held over the phone, you might not have to appear in person.

Ask about having your hearing over the phone when you request it if you are unable to appear in person. If the hearing officer agrees, you will be given a time for the hearing, and you can simply call in. And, if you have an attorney helping you with your case, inquire about having your attorney joining the call with you. If you go to the DMV for your hearing, your attorney can go with you.

A Right, Not a Requirement

In most cases, your DMV proceedings will be discretionary, meaning they aren't required. Rather, it is likely you requested a DMV administrative hearing to challenge an action, such as a license suspension. So, keep in mind, the DMV doesn't have to understand if you cannot attend your hearing or otherwise give the hearing your full-undivided attention. The right to a DMV hearing is just that: a right. It isn't an obligation, nor is it a requirement. This differs from criminal court proceedings, which aren't optional.

Take your DMV hearing seriously. Prepare well, and speak with an attorney about your case. If you do not show up at your hearing, the DMV will proceed with the action against you. In many cases, this means it will suspend your license without giving you a chance to defend yourself. And, if you fail to appear, you waive your right to challenge the action further.

If you cannot appear at your hearing, ask to have the hearing over the phone. These hearings are important because they help you exercise your right to due process. Without exercising this right, the DMV will suspend your license automatically under the admin per se law.

You should always request a DMV hearing and prepare as well as you can be given the timeframe. One way to do this is to enlist the help of an attorney who can handle some of the legwork for you. To prepare, you should obtain copies of the evidence being held against you in advance. Then, you should plan your argument around that evidence to make sure you are addressing only the important issues. An attorney can be a worthwhile investment if you are serious about challenging your license suspension but don't have the time to sift through legal forms and documents and build a strong defense.

Speak with an experienced California DUI and driving crime defense attorney if you have an upcoming DMV hearing. An attorney can help ensure you are well prepared for the hearing and understand your rights. Work closely with an attorney on a strategy for your defense. Make the most of your DMV hearing by learning about the elements the hearing officer will review and how you can challenge the evidence against you.

Are you facing DMV proceedings? If so, contact attorney Christopher Martens and his legal team for expert counsel. Experienced in driving crime defense, our Visalia area legal team can advise you of your options and help you take steps to prepare for your DMV hearing, giving you a better chance of prevailing. With over ten years of criminal defense experience, Christopher Martens will aggressively defend your rights at trial and help you get the outcome you want. Call our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.

About the Author

Christopher Martens

Bio Visalia and Bakersfield criminal defense attorney who has dedicated his life to helping those who have been accused of crimes or injured due to the negligence of others.


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