DMV Hearings after a DUI Arrest in California

If you are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in California, your driver’s license will immediately be confiscated by the police. You will be served with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) “Notice of Suspension“.

This document

  • formally suspends your license
  • Provides a temporary driving privilege for 30 days
  • Explains your rights to an administrative hearing to contest the suspension and force the DMV to return the license

You or your attorney must contact the DMV’s local Driver Safety Office (DSO) and formally demand a hearing WITHIN 10 CALENDAR DAYS of the arrest. If the call is not made, on the eleventh day the right to contest the suspension is lost and it will begin 30 days from the arrest regardless of any possible defenses.

If you have been charged with a DUI you will also be scheduled to appear in court.  This is not the same as a DMV (Department of Vehicles) hearing.  The DMV investigation is only an administrative hearing regarding the suspension or revocation of your driving privilege. Even though you have a court date, the DMV offers you the right to a hearing. This is because both the State and Federal Constitution insure that no one shall be deprived of property without due process of the law. Because your license may be taken away, you are given the chance to attend a hearing.  However, you are not required to request a DMV hearing.

How is the DMV hearing different from the court trial for DUI?

The DMV hearing does not prove if you are guilty or innocent of a criminal act.  The only concern of the DMV is your driving privilege and the circumstances surrounding your arrest.

The following issues will be discussed at your DMV hearing:

If you took  a blood or breath or urine test:

  • Did the peace officer have reasonable cause to believe you were driving a motor vehicle in violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23140 , 23152 , or, 23153 ?
  • Were you placed under lawful arrest?
  • Were you driving a motor vehicle when you had 0.08% or more by weight of alcohol in your blood?

If you refused or failed to complete a blood, breath test, or  urine test:

  • Did the peace officer have reasonable cause to believe you were driving a motor vehicle in violation of CVC 23140, 23152, 23153?
  • Were you placed under lawful arrest?
  • Were you told that if you refused to submit to or failed to complete a test of your blood, breath, or urine. that your driving privilege would be suspended for one year or revoked for two or three years?

If your license was suspended at your DMV hearing, but you were found not guilty in criminal court, the DMV could reverse the suspension decision.

If you have been arrested for a DUI in California call our office immediately at 619-330-5881.  Mr. Elliott N. Kanter has over 30 years of criminal defense experience in San Diego and can advise you of your best defense.  Don’t take the chance of losing your driver’s license. We are here to help you.

This information is provided for educational purposes only and does not create an attorney-client relationship.