DMV SUSPENSION Attorney
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including felony or accident DUIs in Vista, I can help you. I am drunk driving lawyer Peter M. Liss and I am highly experienced in the area of California DUI defense and have a proven track record of success. I can also help you avoid having your driver’s license suspended by the California DMV, but you must act quickly as you only have 10 days after the day of your arrest to file for a hearing to protect your driving privileges. Please call me at (760) 643-4050 for a free consultation.
Below are questions and answers about the Department of Motor Vehicles license hearing and suspension process. For more information about obtaining top-quality defense for DUIs in California , please also see this page: DUI Defense Overview.
DMV License Suspension for DUI: Answers to Common Questions
When can an officer take my license for a DUI?
If you are arrested for driving under the influence, the officer can, and usually will, take your driver’s license if: 1) you refuse a blood or breath test 2) you take a test and your blood alcohol is .08 % or higher, or 3) you take a test where the results cannot be analyzed until later, but the officer believes you may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol based on other factors, such as the way you were driving or your appearance, conduct, or the odor of alcohol.
When an officer takes your license, he will give you a pink piece of paper; this is both a notice that your license is suspended as well as a 30-day temporary driver’s license.
It’s worth noting that a California law enforcement officer cannot physically seize the license from an out of state driver because that document technically is the property of the state it was issued in. Even if your license is actually taken from you though, you still cannot drive in California state limits and many states will also suspend your driving privileges if they learn about the DUI suspension in California.
What should I do after my license is suspended?
You or your lawyer MUST call the DMV within 10 days of your arrest to request a hearing to contest the administrative suspension. If you don’t request a hearing within this time, you will automatically lose your license for four months. If you request a hearing and it is set for more than 30 days after your arrest, your attorney can request an extension of your temporary driver’s license for that period. There is no penalty for requesting a hearing.
What happens at a DMV hearing for a DUI license suspension?
The Department of Motor Vehicles is a separate agency and the hearing to contest your license suspension will be held separately from your criminal case for the DUI. The DMV hearing will be run by a Driver Safety Officer, who is employed by the DMV and who is not a lawyer or judge. The Driver Safety Officer will decide whether there is a “preponderance” of the evidence that you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
These DMV hearings are very technical, often involving issues of whether there were procedural or bureaucratic errors, and an experienced San Diego DMV suspension attorney is essential to present your best possible arguments. I have handled many of these hearings and had many successes; I can help you. Please call (760) 643-4050 for more information and a free consultation.
The hearing officer usually will not make a decision on your suspension until some days or even weeks after the hearing. A decision against you can be “appealed” to the DMV in Sacramento and/or to the Superior Court by filing a writ, although there must be strong legal grounds in your favor for a writ to change the outcome.
The decision in the DMV hearing will not affect your criminal case one way or the other.
Do I have to schedule a DMV hearing?
While the hearing is not mandatory and will not affect your criminal case, it is a good opportunity for a number of reasons and you should always take advantage of it. Aside from allowing you to protect your driving privileges, these administrative hearings are also quite useful in allowing you to obtain the police report, hear the evidence against you and challenge the officer’s testimony and results of the chemical test. In many ways, the license suspension hearing can work as a practice trial up for both you and your attorney, allowing you to better prepare for the official court date.
If you cannot, or do not wish to, make it to the administrative hearing, DMV suspension lawyers can go on your behalf instead. In most misdemeanor cases, your attorney can even attend the criminal hearings in your place as well. This can be particularly beneficial for those who cannot take time off of work for the hearings, but still want to ensure they do everything possible to protect their driving privilege and defend their innocence.
If the DMV decides to suspend my license, when will I get it back?
If this is your first DUI arrest in the last ten years, your driver’s license will not be returned for 4 months. If you pay for a restricted license, file proof that you have enrolled in a DUI school AND offer proof of your SR-22 insurance, this can be reduced to 1 month followed by 5 months of work restriction. Additionally, If you install an ignition interlock device in your car, you can avoid the 1 month hard suspension and drive for any purpose.
If you refused a blood or breath test, the suspension will last for 1 full year and no work restriction is allowed. If you have a second DUI within ten years, your license will be revoked for 1 year (2 years if you refused a blood or breath test).
If you are found guilty of drunk driving, you will face an additional six month suspension concurrent to the immediate suspension you already received. This additional suspension can also be converted to a restricted license or be avoided through the installation of an ignition interlock device.
If you plead guilty to a reduced offense, such as reckless driving, and the DUI is dismissed, this will not change your license suspension or revocation as these DMV-instituted DUI penalties are processed outside of the standard court system. However, if you are acquitted (found not guilty) in the Superior Court criminal proceeding, your lawyer will likely be able to obtain a return of your driver’s license.
What if I plead guilty to a lesser charge or am found innocent?
Because criminal cases are handled separately from the license suspensions, you will still have your right to drive taken away if you have plead to some kind of reduced offense, such as reckless driving. If you are acquitted though, your attorney will probably be able to use this fact to have your license returned.
The same rules applies when it comes to the 2 points added to your DMV record when you are convicted for DUI, wet reckless or a hit and run. It is worth mentioning that these points cannot be removed from your record by attending traffic school the way they can be if you get a traffic ticket. If you earn enough points in a given period, for example, 4 points in 1 year, you may be subject to another license suspension, but again you can fight this with the help of a DMV hearing lawyer in San Diego in a negligent operator hearing.
I have am an experienced defense attorney with over 35 years of experience who has personally defended many people charged with driving under the influence in Vista, California. I have also helped many people in accident DUI, felony DUI, and cases involving other offenses, such as gun charges or drug possession. If you or someone in your family has been arrested on one of these charges, please contact me to discuss your unique case. I provide top quality representation for a reasonable fee, offer a free initial consultation, and accept all major credit cards. I consider all DUI defenses urgent and will respond immediately.
How to Contact Attorney Peter Liss
For skilled IMMEDIATE help with a San Diego DUI or driving under the influence of drugs defense, call DMV hearing lawyer Peter M. Liss:
Call 24/7, any time, any day. I can help you.
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