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DMV Hearings in Alameda & Contra Costa Counties

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California Law & DMV Hearings

Under California law, a driver can be arrested and charged with DUI and suffer DMV consequences if he or she is found to have a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .08% or greater. A commercial driver can be charged with and suffer DMV consequences for having a BAC of .04% or greater while driving a commercial vehicle, and a minor driver (under 21 years old) can be charged with alcohol related driving offenses and suffer DMV consequences for having a BAC of .01% or greater.

A person can also be charged with driving under the influence of drugs and or the combined influence of alcohol or drugs with a blood alcohol level far below .08%. Drugs, even prescription drugs, can be a basis for this charge.

DMV Procedure in the Bay Area

When an Alameda or Contra Costa driver is arrested for DUI, the officer will immediately confiscate his or her California driver's license and hand the driver a pink colored notice. This document is known as a Suspension/Revocation Order and Temporary Driver License. This notice alerts the driver to the fact that his or her license will suspended for 30 days after the arrest. The pink notice is used as a temporary driver's license until that point.

What Happens at an Administrative Hearing in California?

In addition to criminal charges, a California driver will also face administrative penalties after being arrested for DUI. After a DUI arrest, a driver can automatically lose his or her license if they fail to contact the DMV within 10 days. An individual is allowed to contest this automatic license suspension, but there is a strict time frame that must be followed.

In California, a driver has only 10 days to request an administrative hearing in order to dispute the automatic license suspension. This is also referred to as a DMV hearing. If a driver does not abide by the 10-day allotted time, the driver will have forfeited the right to this hearing. However, if an individual timely requests an administrative hearing, the driver's license suspension will be postponed. The postponement will continue, pending the outcome of the administrative hearing.

Keep in mind that an administrative hearing is not the same as a criminal trial. The administrative hearing is based on the arrest for DUI and is focused on whether an individual's driving privileges should be suspended or revoked. The administrative officer will not consider the issue of whether the driver is innocent or guilty of DUI.

If the driver took a breath or other chemical test at the time of the arrest, is over 21 and was not driving a commercial vehicle, the administrative officer will consider the following issues:

  • Whether the police officer had reasonable cause to believe the driver was operating a vehicle in violation of the state's Vehicle Code;
  • Whether the driver was lawfully placed under arrest; and
  • Whether the driver was operating a vehicle with a BAC of .08% or greater.

If the driver refused or failed to complete a breath or other chemical test, the administrative officer will consider the following issues:

  • Whether the police officer had reasonable cause to believe the driver was operating a vehicle in violation of the state's Vehicle Code;
  • Whether the driver was lawfully placed under arrest;
  • Whether the driver was told by the officer that failing to complete a breath or chemical test will lead to license suspension or revocation; and
  • Whether the driver refused to complete a breath or other chemical test after being requested to do so by an officer.

At the close of the hearing, the administrative officer may choose to maintain the suspension or reinstate the driver's license. The outcome of the administrative hearing may not have any effect on the criminal component of your charges.  However, a DMV hearing can often assist in preparing the criminal case.

Legal Representation in the East Bay

If you have been arrested in Alameda or Contra Costa County, it is best to consult with a local and skilled DUI defense attorney. Ms. Gorelick has worked in the area for more than 30 years and has been successful in defending administrative hearings and saving clients' driving privileges. To schedule a free consultation, call (510) 785-1444 or (925) 847-3006.

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We offer a free initial consultation to people accused of DUI and criminal offenses in the Bay Area. Call us at 510-785-1444 to schedule yours.

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