When you have been charged with a DUI, there will be two different kinds of procedures you will undergo. There will be a civil procedure to avoid driver's license suspension or to get your driver's license back. There will also be the criminal court procedure where you will face the charge in court. It is important to note that a DMV hearing will only occur in the event that your DUI is connected to an alcohol-related charge.
A DMV hearing is not mandatory. However, they will the give you the chance to fight for your privileges with the DMV. If you do not request a DMV hearing, the DMV will review your case on their own and void you of the ability to argue your case.
After you are arrested, the police will remove your driver's license and send it to the DMV, unless you are from out of state. After that, the DMV hearing process will begin. Learn more about DMV hearings after a DUI here.
One step that you can take after a DUI is to apply for an IID restricted license. IID stands for Ignition Interlock Device. You may apply to get an IID license that will permit you to drive without any restrictions but the Ignition Interlock Device restriction. That means you must get a device installed on your vehicle that will monitor your breath every time you try to start the car.
If you breathe over the limit set on the device, the vehicle will not start. How long the IID restricted license will last depends on your record with DUIs. California Senate Bill SB 1046 allows you to apply for this in the hopes that you can avoid a 30-day hard driver's license suspension that may cause you to miss work or other life obligations. First-time offenders have a better chance at avoiding this hard suspension.
You will still want a DMV hearing.
To get a DMV hearing, contact the DMV within 10 days of the incident, or within 10 days of receiving notice. You also have within 14 days of receiving your notice, if arriving by mail. When you get the notice, you will be given instructions on how to request the hearing.
If you have a California DUI lawyer, they will often request the hearing for you. If you do not respond you forfeit the hearing, and will automatically get your license suspended after 30 days.
A DMV hearing will function much like a court hearing, in that you will need to provide evidence as to why you should avoid a driver's license suspension. By now, you will have a police report on the matter, and know what the position of the police was at the time of the arrest.
Your lawyer may subpoena dash cam footage from the date in question to see if that matches what is on the police report – sometimes it doesn't. You are best to have a lawyer request that for you, as the police may not respond to that right away. There may also be witnesses that will appear or testify through affidavits for you, or against you.
The DMV hearing will weigh all of this evidence and will not give you an answer that day. You will receive their decision in writing within 30 days.
You will either receive no driver's license suspension or receive a driver's license suspension effective within a few days of getting their decision.
To prepare with a lawyer before a DMV hearing, you will review the incident and what the police say about it before the DMV hearing and your criminal case. You may be able to get a DUI probation for the criminal matter, which means you will be able to avoid jail by complying with certain restrictions.
The police report will be the most important tool here, as will any dashcam footage if it can be obtained. You should be able to obtain the police report within a few weeks of the incident.
From here, you and your lawyer review your BAC, the cause of the stop, and the quality of any video. Your lawyer will discuss your options from there. If you are facing a California DUI charge and do not have a lawyer, call us today for a review of your case. You can't fight this alone.