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Have an Upcoming DMV Hearing?

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Orange County DMV Administrative Hearing Lawyer


After being charged with DUI, you will have two separate and independent proceedings that you will need to deal with, and the truth is that both equally deserve your undivided attention.

  • Criminal court process: On one side, you will still be required to handle the legal issues of the criminal court process where the prosecution charges you with one of more driving offenses.
  • DMV administrative hearing: On the other, however, you will be asked to focus your attention on what is known as the DMV hearing. This is an informal administrative hearing held by the California Department of Motor Vehicles and will deal solely with the future of your driving privileges – not with the question of your guilt.

These are both two completely independent proceedings. The outcome of one will not affect the outcome of the other and vice-versa. Both, however, are vitally important and deserve to be handled by an attorney who will be able to invest the necessary time and energy into seeking a desirable outcome.

You Only Have 10 Days to Save Your License

Once a person is arrested for DUI in Orange County, his/her driver’s license will be confiscated by law enforcement, and he/she will be given a temporary driver’s permit. This permit will allow the person to drive for up to 30 days. After 30 days, your license will be suspended unless you are successful at the DMV hearing.

To avoid suspension, the person must schedule a hearing with the DMV within 10 days of his/her arrest to contest the suspension of his/her driver’s license. If you retain our office, we will handle this request and hearing for you.

If you do not schedule your hearing within 10 days you will lose your right to a hearing and consequently lose the opportunity to win back your driving privileges.

Why Do We Need a DMV Hearing?

It is important to understand the DMV hearing is not the same as your criminal case. It is a separate process with separate consequences. The sole purpose of the DMV hearing is to contest the suspension of your driver’s license. This is simply an administrative meeting that will determine your driving privileges.

The criminal case is to determine whether you are guilty or not guilty of driving under the influence.

What Happens During a DMV Hearing?

After you schedule your hearing with the DMV, you will be issued a time and date in which you must appear. During your hearing, a DMV Hearing Officer will meet with you and your attorney in a designated room.

A DMV hearing usually involves the following:

  • You and your attorney will be able to present evidence, testimony, and arguments on why you should have your driver’s license reinstated.
  • The DMV Hearing Officer serves as a prosecutor and will present evidence against you on why you should not have his/her driving privileges reinstated. The DMV Hearing Officer will also serve as a judge and make a final ruling after carefully reviewing the case facts and evidence.
  • They will focus on the circumstances surrounding your arrest, but will not determine whether you are guilty or not. What will be discussed instead is whether you took a blood or breath test, whether the officer had reasonable cause to pull you over for drunk driving, if your blood-alcohol level was over 0.08, and were you placed under lawful arrest.

If the DMV Hearing Officer finds that the allegations are true, the person will lose his/her driving privileges for a set period of time. However, if the DMV Hearing Officer finds that there are substantial legal or factual errors, the person’s driving privileges will be reinstated.

Will the DMV Hearing Determine Whether or Not I’m Guilty?

Since the criminal process is there to deal with innocence or guilt, many people are unsure just how the DMV hearing plays in. The answer? No. The DMV hearing truly focuses on just a few issues:

  • Was there reasonable suspicion to perform the traffic stop?
  • Were you lawfully arrested?
  • Were you driving with .08% or more by weight of alcohol in your blood and possibly
  • Did you refuse the chemical test?

These questions will not have to do with whether you were intoxicated behind the wheel – only the way that the arresting process unfolded.

Am I Required to Attend the DMV Hearing?

Most people live busy lives and it’s difficult to put everything on hold to deal with a DUI. One of the best ways to get a successful outcome in court is to use the DMV Administrative Per Se hearing (APS) as a way to discover more facts concerning your contact with the arresting officer. In most APS hearings, our clients are not required to attend.

Do I Need a Lawyer for My Hearing?

It is not necessary to have a lawyer represent you during a DMV hearing, but having an attorney on your side can make a difference in the outcome of your case.

Benefits of Hiring an Attorney

Because a DMV hearing is not a criminal court hearing, many people believe that they can handle these cases on their own. While this is technically true, there is a huge benefit in hiring attorney representation for DMV hearings.

  • The administrative hearing goes over many of the same evidences that the criminal hearing will address, such as field sobriety test evidence and the chemical test evidence. A lawyer is specifically trained to analyze the discovery documents and other evidence against you.
  • Your attorney can challenge evidence and question the arresting officer’s testimony.
  • Your attorney can help you obtain a hardship license. This could allow you limited driving privileges.

When you have an attorney working on your case, the odds of a successful outcome increase greatly compared to handling the case yourself, because you’ll have the experience and knowledge of a seasoned legal professional on your side.

Can I Get My License Back If I’m Later Found Not Guilty?

If you are acquitted in trial of all DUI related charges, there is a process to get your license reinstated with no limitations or restrictions. If your case is dismissed during a motion, the DMV still has authority to do something independently from the court. The DMV process leans towards suspending the license but via subpoenas, if we can find governmental errors, you stand a much higher chance of keeping your license to drive.

Request a Free Consultation With an Experienced DMV Attorney

If you have been charged with DUI, you need to consult with a skilled DMV attorney in California immediately. You only have 10 days to request a DMV Hearing in California! The Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry has been representing clients charged with DUI in Orange County for since 1989. Through a FREE consultation with the firm, you could learn exactly what we could do for you.

Contact the firm today if you would like to learn more.

You Only Have 10 Days!

If you do not act immediately, you could lose your right to drive.

Your Future Is on the Line

When you are arrested for DUI, the arresting officer will confiscate your driver’s license and give you a “notice of suspension” that will serve as a temporary license. California law requires you to choose between a breath or blood test if lawfully arrested. 

If you failed to complete or declined/refused a breath test or blood test, the DMV will begin suspension proceedings starting on the 31st day after your arrest. 

You must contact the DMV within 10 days of your arrest in order to challenge the suspension of your driver’s license, or it will be suspended regardless of the outcome of your case. 

We handle making these arrangements for our clients.

The DMV hearing and your criminal case are two entirely separate parts to your DUI charges. Even if you are not found guilty of DUI, you could still lose your license depending upon how the DMV hearing goes. 

Your Orange County lawyer will be able to represent your interests in your DMV hearing to help ensure that you have the best chance at keeping your driving privileges. 

If keeping your license is important to you, you should speak immediately with an experienced Orange County DUI lawyer to discuss your options and to learn how your right to drive can be protected.

Contact Our Office Today

When you’re ready to talk, we’re ready to listen.

Call (949) 537-2202 for Your Free DUI Consultation

If you have been charged with DUI, you need to consult with a skilled DUI defense attorney immediately. The Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry has been representing clients charged with DUI in Orange County and surrounding counties since 1959. Attorney Virginia L. Landry knows that DUI charges demand prompt attention and that each DUI case should be carefully evaluated by an experienced lawyer. When it comes to successfully fighting your DUI charges, having a reputable DUI attorney on your side is crucial. At the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, clients receive the thoughtful legal counsel and aggressive defense they need to contest their DUI charges.

Call or fill out the online form to learn how Board Certified Attorney Virginia Landry can fight for you.