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What Happens at a Los Angeles DMV Hearing When There is a Refusal?

  • September 1, 2017

    When you are arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, you will be facing both a traditional court case and a DMV hearing. The DMV hearing is separate from your criminal hearing, but the principles behind it are much the same. During your Los Angeles DMV hearing, it will be up to you or your attorney to prove that you weren’t intoxicated at the time of your arrest. However, the outcome of the DMV hearing can depend in large part on whether there is a blood alcohol reading. If you refuse to take the blood alcohol test as required by law, your DMV hearing will usually end with you facing much more serious consequences.

    What Happens During a Typical Los Angeles DMV Hearing?
    In a typical Los Angeles DMV hearing, the DMV officer will examine the evidence and circumstances of the case to determine the potential driver’s license penalties you will face for your DUI offense. This includes whether or not the arresting officer had reasonable suspicion to pull you over and probable cause to investigate you for suspicion of DUI. In addition, the DMV hearing will also look at the results of your blood alcohol test and whether your BAC was over the legal limit of 0.08 percent. This information will be used to determine the consequences of your DUI arrest, such as having your license restricted, suspended or revoked.

    During the DMV hearing, your attorney is also allowed to present evidence in your favor. Depending on the results of the BAC test, your attorney could potentially argue that your blood alcohol level was too low to actually qualify as driving under the influence. A lawyer can also use testimony, witness statements and other evidence to cast doubt on the police report and potentially get the case dismissed altogether.

    DMV Hearings Following a Refusal
    California DUI law uses the principle of implied consent. Essentially, this means that you automatically give your consent to submit to a blood or breath alcohol test. If you refuse to take this mandatory test, you will be automatically charged with DUI refusal. A refusal charge carries with it additional penalties in case of a DUI conviction, and your refusal will also negatively impact your DMV hearing.

    When you refuse to take the mandatory BAC test after being arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, you will automatically face additional penalties during your criminal hearing and your DMV hearing. If you refuse to take the required BAC test, the arresting officer must first notify you of the additional consequences of your refusal, and you will be required to sign a form acknowledging that you are fully aware of these additional consequences.

    In cases where there is a refusal, the DMV hearing will be more of a formality than an actual hearing. The reason is that a refusal to submit to the mandatory alcohol screening carries with it a mandatory one year suspension of your driver’s license, and this is only if it is your first refusal and first DUI offense. Should you have any previous convictions for DUI or reckless driving within the past 10 years or if you have previously refused another blood alcohol test, you could be facing an automatic two or three-year license suspension depending on whether it was your second or third offense.

    Unfortunately, the penalties don’t necessarily stop there. If you refuse to submit to a BAC test, a one-year license suspension is mandatory. However, the DMV officer could also decide that your license should be either restricted or suspended for longer than this mandatory one-year period. The penalties for refusal are added on to the normal penalties for a DUI conviction, which means you could potentially be facing additional fines and jail time and also a longer suspension of your driver’s license.

    Although the refusal technically means you will automatically have your license suspended for one year, this is usually dependent on the outcome of your DUI case. If you are not convicted of the DUI offense, you will generally not face any penalties during your DMV hearing. For this reason, it is essential that you seek help from an experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney for both your DUI case and your DMV hearing.

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