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What Issues are Addressed During a Los Angeles DMV Hearing?

  • September 1, 2017

    When you face a DUI charge in southern California, you need a qualified attorney who can help you navigate through all the court appearances you need to make. Many assume that they need to go to criminal court, but this is really just one step in the total process. The criminal court judge is the one who can sentence you to jail time, impose a fine based on state standards and determine if you need alcohol education. You will also need to attend a Department of Motor Vehicles hearing, which is why determines if you should keep your license. The results of this hearing can lead to the DMV revoking and taking away your license or suspending your license. This hearing will address various issues relating to the case. Even if you have your attorney with you, you will still want to know what issues the DMV will look at and bring up during the hearing.

    Probable Cause

    Despite what you might think, police officers cannot randomly pull you over without giving you a reason. They can, however, set up DUI checkpoints and ask that drivers submit to sobriety tests on the spot. The DMV will first look at whether there was probable cause in your case and what reason the officer had to pull you over. Any violation of state driving or vehicle codes and any violation of a posted sign is just cause. If you drove over the speed limit, ran through a stop sign or turned the wrong way down a one-way street, the officer had a reason to pull you over. Once an officer pulls over a driver, that officer can ask the driver to make a field sobriety test or submit to a breathalyzer. The officer might believe someone is guilty of a DUI because of erratic driving or because the officer smelled alcohol on the driver.

    Another example of reasonable cause occurs at the scene of an accident. Any driver, passenger or pedestrian can contact the police and request an officer come to the scene after an accident. The officer can perform something called a welfare check to find out if everyone on the scene is safe. If the officer suspects a driver of using drugs or alcohol before getting behind the wheel, the officer can conduct a sobriety test.

    The arresting officer can arrest you and require that you go back to the station, let you off with a warning or let a friend/family member come to the scene and take you home. When looking at the facts of your case, the DMW will want to find out if there was any underlying reason for the arrest. The DMV needs to make sure that the officer had valid concerns and reasons for taking you into custody.

    Field Sobriety Test

    It’s equally important the the DMV and your hearing officer look at whether you submitted to any of the sobriety tests used by police in California. The hearing officer in charge of your case will look at whether you did a breathalyzer or a field sobriety test and how you performed on that test. If you refused to take a test in the field and then refused to take a test at the station, the DMV may determine that you were guilty of a DUI and trying to hide it. As the DMV requires that you follow all laws when obtaining a state license, trying to skirt any of those laws can result in the revocation or suspension of your license.

    Blood Alcohol Content

    The DMV must also look at the blood alcohol content reported by the officer. Also called the BAC, this is a measurement that determines the concentration of alcohol in your blood. If you have a BAC of at least .08 on a working test, this is proof that you are guilty of a DUI.

    When you attend a DMV hearing, the hearing officer will look at issues like your BAC, whether you failed a sobriety test and why the arresting officer first stopped you. Depending on the results of the hearing, you may lose your license or have your license suspended. Working with a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney will help you go over those issues in depth before your hearing.

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