DMV Administrative Proceedings
When someone has been convicted of DUI in California, the accused must also deal with the administrative license suspension at a DMV proceeding, which is separate and apart from the Court proceedings. If the chemical test result was over .08% (if the suspect is 21 years of age or older), or the chemical test result was over .01% (if the suspect is under 21 years of age), or the suspect refused to submit to a chemical test, the police will take away the suspect’s California driver’s license and issue him/her a notice of suspension and 30-day temporary license. The officers are not supposed to seize an out-of-state driver’s license, although they often do. Generally a DMV hearing should be requested even if you have an out-of-state driver’s license; please contact us to discuss that matter on a case-by-case basis. A first offense involves a four-month license suspension, while a refusal or a second or subsequent offense within ten years triggers a one-year suspension.
An experienced DUI defense attorney can often successfully contest these suspensions. However, it is absolutely critical that the accused or, preferably his attorney, CONTACT THE DMV WITHIN 10 DAYS OF THE ARREST. The importance of this cannot be overstated because unless a timely request is made, there will be no hearing and the suspension will automatically take effect 30 days after the arrest. A “stay” of the suspension should also be requested in order to prevent the suspension from automatically taking effect 30 days after the arrest. If an attorney has not been retained within the 10-day window, the person should contact the local Drivers Safety Office himself and request a DMV hearing (called an APS hearing) and a stay on the suspension of their license. The accused should never try and handle an APS hearing on their own, nor should they expect much success if they retain an attorney who does not routinely handle DMV hearings-there are special rules that apply and your best chance for success lies with an attorney who knows the peculiar rules, procedures and issues.
As long as your attorney has requested a stay on the suspension of your license, you will continue to have full driving privileges, at least until the DMV hearing. If the hearing is won, the DMV will not take any action against your license; if the hearing is lost, the DMV will simply impose the same suspension they would have initially, just at a later date.
Ms. McQueen provides complete representation at all DMV proceedings (including negligent operator hearings) and will aggressively seek to protect your driver’s license. An experienced attorney who specializes in DUI defense cases can effectively handle both the criminal and administrative proceedings. Unfortunately many general practitioners or general criminal attorneys with little or no training or experience in this very complex field often attempt to represent those accused of DUI, with disastrous results.
If this is a first offense within 7 years, and you are 21 years of age or older, the license will be suspended for 4 months unless the DMV hearing is won. This suspension can actually be reduced to a 1-month suspension followed by 5 months of work restriction if you pay a $125 reinstatement fee to DMV, file proof of enrollment in a DUI school and SR-22 insurance. If the case involves a first-time refusal to submit to chemical testing, the suspension is for 1 year (2 years for a second or subsequent refusal), and the DMV will not allow a work restriction. If you were under 21 years of age at the time of arrest, or are charged with a second or subsequent DUI within 7 years, the suspension is for 1 year.