License Suspension in Los Angeles

Reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney

The DMV will seek to suspend your license if you are arrested for Driving Under the Influence. In the past, both the court and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) could order driver's license suspensions. Now, only the Department of Motor Vehicles can suspend a license, either because of a DMV hearing suspension or a criminal court conviction. In other words, even if the jury finds you not guilty, the DMV may still decide to suspend your license.

After you are arrested for DUI, you have 10 days to request a hearing. This hearing is known as an “administrative per se” hearing, or APS. They are held at the DMV offices nearest to where the offense occurred. Unlike court trials, which involve live witness testimony, the DMV hearing will focus on the various police and chemical test reports. Generally, live witnesses are rarely called unless your attorney requests their appearance by issuing a subpoena.

A unique aspect of the DMV hearing is that it is not a court of law. Therefore, the DMV representative is both the “prosecutor” and the judge. In other words, the individual seeking to introduce evidence is the same person who will rule upon it. Much of the evidence introduced at the administrative per se hearing is hearsay. Your Los Angeles criminal defense attorney can object on these grounds. Since this hearing is not in a court of law, however, but rather an administrative hearing, the representative will rely on this hearsay evidence.

Los Angeles DUI Lawyer

The attorneys at The Law Offices of Decio Rangel Jr. have found the best mode of attack is to challenge to basis for the stop and the actions of the law enforcement officer during the arrest. Some of the issues raised at a hearing may include:

  • Were you driving the vehicle?
  • Were you legally stopped by the officer?
  • Were you legally arrested by the officer?
  • Did you take a test and was it done properly under the law?
  • Did you have a blood alcohol level above the legal limit?

If you took a chemical test, there are three issues at stake: 1) whether the officer had a reasonable belief that you were under the influence, 2) whether the arrest was lawful, and 3) whether a properly conducted chemical test indicated that the driver had a BAC of above the legal limit.

When you are licensed in the State of California, your consent to take a chemical test is implied. If you refuse a chemical test, it must be determined whether you were advised of the consequences of refusing the test, and whether you still refused the test after being advised of the consequences. If you lose the DMV hearing, the length of the license suspension will be substantially longer if you refused the test.

The arresting officer is required by law to immediately send to the DMV a copy, with a sworn report, of the notice of suspension or revocation and any driver’s license taken into possession. The DMV automatically conducts an administrative review that includes an examination of the officer's report, the suspension or revocation order, and any test results. If the suspension or revocation is upheld during the administrative review, you may request a hearing to contest the decision.

Your driver’s license will be returned to you at the end of the suspension or revocation period provided you pay a reissue fee to the DMV and you file proof of financial responsibility. If it is determined that there is no basis for suspending or revoking your license, it will be issued or returned to you.

If your California driver's license has been suspended due to a DUI, it will be reinstated after the suspension period has elapsed. The length of the suspension will vary depending on whether the offense was a first time offense, or you have multiple offenses.

As mentioned above, the DMV may suspend your license for a longer period of time if you refused to take a chemical test. It becomes imperative to fight the case in both the DMV hearing and in court to have the best opportunity to avoid losing your right to drive.

For help fighting to retain your driving privileges, contact a Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer .

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