In all DUI cases, there are two simultaneous proceedings at play: 1) the criminal case, and 2) the DMV Hearing. This article is focused on the DMV Hearing.
Court Case vs. DMV Hearing in DUI Cases
Court Case: A DUI case can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, and therefore you have a right to have your day in court. The criminal case in the courthouse is therefore focused on whether or not you committed the alleged crime of DUI. The prosecutor must prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a very high threshold the prosecutor must show.
DMV Hearing: In every DUI case, you have the opportunity to request a DMV Hearing in order to show that a driving license suspension or revocation is unjustified in your case. The California Department of Motor Vehicles conducts this DMV Hearing. As it stands, driving is considered a privilege rather than a right. Of course, most of us who live in Los Angeles rely on being able to drive, and therefore know that losing our license can have tremendous consequences on work, school, and other priorities. The DMV Hearing is very important for this reason alone.
Why a DMV Hearing in a DUI Case
The DMV is an administrative agency, and therefore the DMV conducts its own separate process from the criminal case in the courthouse. The DMV holds the DMV Hearing, which can either be in-person or on the telephone.
The DMV Hearing is conducted by a Hearing Officer, who is an employee of the DMV. The Hearing Officer will review and hear the evidence, and make a decision as to what will happen to your license.
After a police officer arrests you for DUI, the police officer will confiscate your license and give you a temporary license. This temporary license is generally on a pink sheet of paper, and is good for at least 30 calendar days. If your DMV Hearing is beyond 30 calendar days from the date of arrest, then the pink temporary is good through at least the date of the DMV Hearing.
How to Request a DMV Hearing
**Important!! You must call DMV within 10 calendar days from the date of the DUI, in order to schedule a DMV Hearing for a future date.**
Failure to do so waives and gives up your right to a DMV Hearing, and DMV can automatically suspend your license.
The DMV has specific offices called Driver Safety Offices, which handle these DMV Hearings. You need to call your local DMV Driver Safety Office in order to schedule your DMV Hearing.
- Note: Driver Safety Offices are also where the DMV Hearing will be held. These offices are completely different than your regular DMV branch.