What Happens at a Los Angeles DMV Hearing Pursuant to a DUI?

  • September 1, 2017

    Getting arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) can be a harrowing experience. Of course, you can expect many legal actions against you after you are charged. If you are in the Los Angeles, California area, another thing you should expect is a hearing at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

    How Does a DMV Hearing Differ from a Regular Hearing?

    The proceedings are very different from those in the criminal court. A DMV hearing can take place in person, over the phone or at the request of your criminal defense attorney. When the hearing takes place over the phone, the attorney can also request that so that he or she can coach you through the testimony. A DMV hearing officer will call you and the phone hearing can take place at the law office of your attorney while you and your lawyer listen via speaker phone. The proceedings are on the record and are completely professional. All legal guidelines are in place during a DMV hearing that takes place in this manner, which is much more convenient for all parties involved in the case.

    What Takes Place During a DMV Hearing?

    The DMV hearing occurs concurrently with a DUI charge and criminal case. After the hearing is requested, the DMV hearing officer will call at the time that was scheduled and confirm the names of the lawyer and client. The client is required to identify himself or herself by providing their full name, birthdate and home address. The lawyer must be identified by giving his or her name and address. The officer then introduces a variety of exhibits as evidence. One of those pieces of evidence is the arrest report, which includes statements from the police officer who made the arrest for the DUI. All issues will be stated and then the DMV hearing officer will inquire as to which the attorney stipulates to and which he or she will be contesting.

    After all of the issues have been discussed and what is being contested is placed on the record, the DMV hearing officer will swear in the client and any witnesses who have been called on to testify. The attorney will then ask the client certain questions. Afterward, the officer may ask the client questions as well.

    Certain questions the attorney asks are those that are generally posed during most DMV hearings. However, there will also be other questions specific to the case before the DMV hearing officer. The lawyer will try to establish that the client was not intoxicated while behind the wheel during the incident. This is frequently done to discredit the DMV officer’s statements, which are generally the only evidence present during a DMV hearing, or by establishing additional witnesses who would be able to account for the client’s actions.

    A truly experienced DUI attorney will ask the client a series of questions to establish the client’s story from the night of the arrest. All questions are those that the attorney deems important enough to be put on the record. After the client’s testimony, the DMV hearing officer will most likely counter that and ask the client what he or she remembers from that night while trying to protect the credibility of the police officer who made the arrest and weakening the defendant’s credibility. In general, the account of the defendant is frequently taken with little regard because of the presumption that they were intoxicated during the time of their arrest. The DMV hearing officer and most of the court automatically assume that the defendant was under the influence of either alcohol or drugs, meaning they do not have a clear account of what occurred on the night of their arrest.

    What Happens at the End of the DMV Hearing?

    By the end of the DMV hearing, the officer makes a decision based on the individual’s driver’s license. If the criminal defense attorney has presented strong testimony, the officer may not be able to make a decision based on the known facts and a second hearing is subsequently scheduled.

    A DMV hearing is one of the important components of a DUI case. It also has a direct correlation with the status of your driver’s license and whether you will retain or relinquish your driving privileges. It’s important to have a skilled DUI attorney on your side so that you can have the best possible chance of a positive outcome in your DMV hearing.

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