DMV Administrative Hearing
If you have been arrested for a DUI, you will need to hire a Los Angeles DUI attorney as soon as possible. DUI defense attorney Michael Kraut has extensive experience in handling administrative hearings. Once you have gotten over the shock of being arrested, contact Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group.
If you have been bailed out of jail, then the officer will give you a court date that may be as long as 2 months after the arrest. A Los Angeles DUI attorney should be hired immediately But if you take too long to hire your attorney, you may have waived your rights to object to the DMV order for suspension, which will begin in 30 days from the day you are released. You may seriously harm your rights if you delay in hiring a DUI attorney immediately. At the time the officer handed you the order of suspension, the clock begins to tick. You have 10 days to call the Driver's Safety Office of the Department of Motor Vehicles to contest the suspension and request an administrative hearing. If you fail to make the request within the 10 days, you will have waived your rights, and the suspension will automatically commence at the end of the 30 day time period. This is called the Administrative License Suspension.
Often, clients believe that nothing will happen to their driver's license until the court case is completed. Therefore, they think it is in their interest to delay the entire court case, including the hiring of an attorney.
If a DMV hearing is requested, then a hearing date will be set. Your DUI attorney should handle the administrative hearing, as well as the court case. Due to budget cuts and a work overload, the DMV may not be able to grant a hearing within the 30 days. Your DUI attorney should request a "stay" in the suspension of your license until the hearing can be conducted. In almost all cases the DMV grants the stay.
Your DUI attorney will write motions, gather evidence and prepare for the hearing. There is a good chance that your DUI attorney can win at the DMV suspension hearing, and the order to suspend your license will be thrown out. If you loose the DMV hearing, you are in no worse position had the order just taken effect after 30 days.
Many people believe that the administrative hearing constitutes "double jeopardy." Double jeopardy is the principal that a person may not be tried or punished for the same charges twice. This principal is not in effect on a DUI case because the first suspension by the DMV is an administrative remedy, and is not considered to be punishment as defined by the Constitution. The second suspension by the Court is the punishment.
The DMV hearing is handled by a hearing officer who works for the DMV. This person does not have to have any legal degree and is not a judge. In fact, the hearing officer acts as the prosecutor as well as judge. He or she will call witnesses, i.e., the police officer and the hearing officer can review the police reports (something the judge may not do in a court proceeding). It is important to remember that since this is not a court case, you do not have your 5th Amendment rights against testifying against yourself. The hearing officer may call you as a witness.
The hearing officer is looking for particular items of evidence in order to prosecute you and suspend your driver's license. The defenses are very technical and the motions filed may be very complex. The hearing officer is not independent. In fact, he or she works and is paid by the agency that is trying to suspend your license. These are further reasons to hire a DUI Attorney who can appear at the hearing. You may not need to appear and miss work; additionally, the hearing officer will not be able to call you as a witness.
Note: If you plead to the charges in the criminal complaint, or to a reduced charge, your DMV license will still be suspended. The only proceeding that will void the suspension of your DMV license is an acquittal on the charge of driving with a blood alcohol level of .08% or higher, Vehicle Code Section 23152(b), or a "set-aside" at the DMV hearing. A set-aside at a DMV hearing has no impact on the criminal case and the facts determined at the DMV hearing may or may not be the same facts proven in a criminal case.
If you have been arrested or charged with a DUI offense in the Los Angeles or Southern California area, contact Michael Kraut. Mr. Kraut understands the serious nature of this offense, how best to defend you, and how to resolve your case without you going to jail. Mr. Kraut has extensive knowledge of the law and the legal system. He has developed excellent relationships with law enforcement and law officials throughout the Los Angeles and Southern California.
For more information about the various defenses for your DUI case, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.