Administrative Per Se Hearing
If you are facing a California DUI/Driving Under the Influence charge you have just 10 days from the date of arrest to request a hearing to contest the suspension of your driving rights. If you or your DUI attorney do not contact the DMV and request an Administrative Per Se DMV hearing within ten days of your arrest, you will in most cases have waived your right to a DMV hearing and your license will automatically be suspended or revoked within 30 days of your arrest. This hearing occurs separately from the criminal case. An acquittal or even a plea to a reduced charge in your criminal case, will not necessarily avoid a driver's license suspension or revocation without successfully challenging the DUI allegations at the Administrative Per Se Hearing before the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
DMV hearings are considered administrative actions and they are held separate and apart from the criminal court process. The California DMV hearing is limited in scope. The issues that a hearing officer considers are as follows:
- Was the person driving a motor vehicle?
- Did the officer have probable cause to make the traffic stop or contact and detain the driver?
- Was the driver driving with a BAC of .08 percent or higher?
- Was the driver lawfully arrested?
If the California DMV hearing officer finds that the answer to each of these questions is yes, the DMV will suspend the driver's driving privileges regardless of whether the driver suffers a DUI conviction in criminal court.
Non-DUI Related DMV Hearings
Negligent Operator Hearing
When a driver has accumulated too many points as a result of traffic violations, the California DMV will classify the driver as a Negligent Operator and a driver's license suspension can result. In such a case a suspension may be avoided by way of a Negligent Operator Hearing. Depending on the violation, a traffic infraction will count as 1 or 2 points and a hearing will be called when a driver accumulates 4 points in a year, 6 points in 2 years or 8 points in three years.
The prospect of facing a Negligent Operator Hearing for future violations is a good reason to contest all traffic infractions as they occur. Once a hearing is called, a DMV defense attorney can fight to defend your right to drive.
Physical and Mental Fitness
Mounting an aggressive defense is vital for motorists facing a DMV challenge of their physical or mental fitness to drive.
The California DMV may call for a hearing if it believes you have a physical or mental condition which impairs your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Impairment to mobility, stamina and coordination, as well as sensory functions and mental abilities may trigger a DMV hearing.
In some cases, doctors are required to report certain medical conditions, such as Alzheimer's. In other cases, a police officer may call for a hearing following a traffic stop. The state will notify you of a hearing and submit a Driver Medical Evaluation form for your completion.
Consulting an experienced lawyer is vital. The time to challenge such hearings is at the earliest stage, not once a finding of impairment has been issued by the DMV.
Lack of Skills/Knowledge
California law permits the state to revoke a license or refuse to renew or issue a license to someone it determines lacks the skills to operate a motor vehicle in a safe manner.
An attorney can fight to retain your driving rights and may be able to strike a compromise on your behalf, which can include an adjustment in driving equipment (automatic transmission, extra mirrors); or a change in driving habits or driving environment (hours of the day, avoiding certain weather conditions, alternative routes).
These hearings can result in driving restrictions, or suspension or revocation of your driving privileges. Hiring an experienced attorney to prepare for the hearing is a vital step in protecting your right to drive.
A Fatality Hearing may be required by the California DMV when a motorist is involved in an accident leading to death, particularly in situations where the at-fault driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is important for anyone facing a DMV Fatality Hearing to seek qualified legal advice right away.
If you are facing a California DMV hearing regarding your right to drive, contact us for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Attorney Daniel E. Kann understands that the stress and pressure of dealing with a fatal car accident, DUI charge, or other situations can be compounded by a DMV Hearing, which can result in the revocation of a client's right to drive.