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California DMV Hearing – DUI Attorneys

When you are arrested for DUI, there are two elements to your case. First, there’s your criminal case where you are required to appear in court and face the charges against you. And second, there is your DMV hearing. It is critical that you understand the process involved with your DMV hearing as this will determine your ability to drive in California.

DMV Hearing Overview

An arrest for DUI will automatically subject you to an Administrative Per Se (APS). An APS is an administrative process by which the DMV suspends your driving privileges 1. This action is wholly separate from any penalties you will face in your criminal case.

DMV hearing after your DUI arres
If you are arrested for DUI, a DMV hearing will be one of the two elements to your case.

When arrested for DUI in California, you will be issued a notice of suspension of your California driver’s license and given a temporary license. The temporary license allows you to continue driving for 30 days. If no further action is taken, the APS will take effect and you will lose your privilege to drive after the 30-day period.

You have the right to challenge the APS by requesting a DMV hearing. During this hearing, your DUI attorney will contest your license suspension. However, you or your lawyer must request a hearing within 10 days of your arrest, or your driving privileges will automatically be suspended for 4-months.

Restricted License

If your license is suspended without a DMV hearing, you may still be able to get a restricted license. A restricted license allows you to legally drive strictly for the purpose of completing a court-ordered alcohol education program and commuting to and from work. However, you will not qualify if you:

  • Had a prior DUI conviction within the last 10 years;
  • Were under 21 years of age when arrested for DUI; or
  • Refused a blood test when arrested for DUI.

Having met these conditions, you are eligible to apply for a restricted license 30 days after the date of which your temporary license has expired. After the 30-day mandatory suspension period, you must do the following in order to apply for a restricted license:

  • Enroll in an approved alcohol education program
  • Get a proof of enrollment form (DL-107)
  • Get an SR-22 form from your car insurance company showing proof of insurance
  • Go to the DMV with all the above and:
    • Pay the $125 reissuance fee, and
    • Fill out and submit a “To/From/During Course of Employment and DUI Program” form

Make Sure You Follow the Rules of Your Restricted License

If you are granted a restricted license, make sure you follow the rules. If you are caught driving for any other purpose other than to work or to your alcohol program, you can be sent to jail for as long as 10 days to 6 months and fined $300 to $1000 2.

Driver’s License Suspension

If you were over 21 years of age when arrested and had a BAC of .08% or higher, the length of your driver’s license suspension will be as follows:

  • First offense = 4-month suspension
  • Prior DUI within last 10 years = 1 year suspension
  • Refused blood/breath test at time of arrest = 1 year suspension

If you were under 21 years of age at the time of your arrest, your license will be suspended for 1 year, regardless of the circumstances of your case.

Elements of a DMV Hearing

There is no presumption of innocence in a DMV hearing. This means that the DMV may presume you are guilty of DUI regardless of the outcome of your criminal case.

In order to suspend your license, the DMV must show proof of each of the following elements:

  1. The officer had reasonable cause to stop your vehicle;
  2. The officer lawfully arrested you; and
  3. You were driving your vehicle with a BAC of .08 or higher

Although you are not entitled to a public defender at your DMV hearing, you do have the right to be represented by an attorney. A skilled attorney will be able to challenge each of these elements in an attempt to prevent your license from being suspended.

Possible Defenses

dui field sobriety test
If the police illegally stopped you, our attorneys will present that argument that at your hearing.

A skilled DUI attorney will know the legal defenses that can be brought forth at your DMV hearing. Some defenses might include:

  • The police did not have reasonable cause to stop your vehicle;
  • The police did not have reasonable suspicion to ask you to submit to a blood or a breath test;
  • The police unlawfully arrested you; or
  • Your BAC was below .08 at the time of driving.

FAQ’s Regarding DMV Hearings

1. How much time do I have to request a DMV hearing?

You must request a DMV hearing within 10 days from the time you are arrested for DUI. Failing to do so will result in an automatic 4-month suspension of your driver’s license.

2. Am I entitled to a Public Defender in my DMV hearing?

No, a DMV hearing is not part of your criminal case. Therefore, you do not have the constitutional right to be represented by court-appointed counsel. However, you do have the right to hire a private attorney to represent you.

3. How can a lawyer help me during my DMV hearing?

In order for you to attempt to keep your license, you should hire an experienced attorney to refute the evidence presented by the DMV. A skilled attorney will know the proper procedures required during a DMV hearing and will be able to devise several defenses on your behalf.

Call the Skilled DUI Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich

Wallin & Klarich DUI attorneys
The attorneys Wallin & Klarich will vigorously fight to protect you.

If you or a loved one has had their license suspended or revoked due to DUI, you need to contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately. License suspension or revocation is a time-sensitive issue. The sooner you are represented, the sooner you can arrange to have a lawyer take action to help you attempt to keep your license.

At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled attorneys have been successfully defending clients’ rights for over 30 years. We will meet with you immediately to review the facts of your case, and plan a defense strategy that will help you get the very best outcome possible.

With offices located in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.


1. [http://www.dmv.org/ca-california/suspended-license.php]
2. [Veh. Code § 14601.2]

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