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What is the Difference for Burden of Proof in a Los Angeles Criminal DUI Case and a DMV Hearing?

  • September 1, 2017

    When charged with a DUI in Los Angeles, you cannot expect to make one court appearance and have the case closed. California also requires that you attend a Department of Motor Vehicles hearing and that you schedule this hearing within 10 days of your DUI arrest. The burden of proof refers to who must prove that you are guilty of that crime. This also refers to the way in which others present and view that evidence.

    You will need to make a criminal court appearance and attend a DMV hearing at two different times. The criminal judge overseeing your case holds the prosecution responding for showing that you are guilty of a DUI without any trace of reasonable doubt. Lawyers working for that side will need to show proof that you were under the influence when arrested and that police had probable cause to stop you. Any reasonable doubt in the case can lead to the judge stopping the trial because the prosecution could not prove its case.

    The prosecution will need to present evidence that shows no average person would doubt your guilt when reviewing the facts of the case. You did not need to prove that you were not driving or that you did not have any alcohol or use any drugs earlier in the day. The burden of proof is in the hands of the prosecution team. You simply need to show up and listen to the case, though you may find it helpful to have a Los Angeles criminal DUI lawyer working on your case. Unless the prosecution can handle the burden of proof given to the team, the case cannot go forward.

    There are circumstances relating to the burden of proof that can lead to the judge throwing out the case. One example is a BAC reading that is far below the legal limit. While the court can still find an underage driver guilty of a DUI for having a few drinks, most people can get off because they were not legally drunk. Another example is when an officer has a history of repeatedly lying about those pulled over and the driver has a story of what happened that differs from the one shared by the officer.

    The lawyer working on your case will look for any other errors or issues that might help you. This can include an eyewitness who was on the scene who collaborates your version of events or a record that shows the breathalyzer machine used to test you had a high margin of error. Your lawyer can bring up any of these discrepancies and increase the burden of proof on the prosecution.

    When it comes to the DMV hearing though, the burden of proof falls on your shoulders. You can show that you were not under the influence of any type of substance while driving your car or that you were not driving at the time that an officer pulled you over. The hearing officer who listens to your case and makes a final determination does not need to present any proof but will need to look at all evidence and listen to any claims that you make.

    The hearing officer begins the hearing with the belief that you were intoxicated, and you must proof that you were not. Any statements that you made to the arresting officer about how much you had to drink and any observations listed in that report as to how you reacted to a field sobriety test will add to your presumed guilt. If you cannot prove your innocence in front of the hearing officer, the DMV will take steps to punish you. This often results in the suspension of your state driver’s license for a period of a few months or more. The DMV can also give you a permanent ban that will keep you from ever getting your license back.

    At a DMV hearing, the burden of proof falls on the person charged with a DUI, but in a criminal case, the prosecution must handle that burden. As the way you handle yourself and how you act depends on whether you attend a hearing or a trial, you’ll want to work with a Los Angeles criminal lawyer to build your case.

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