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How long do I have to request a DMV hearing after an arrest?

In order to challenge an administrative license after a DUI, you have to make a formal request to the DMV within 10 days of the arrest. If you do not request an administrative license hearing within 10 days of the DUI arrest, you will lose out on your chance to challenge the administrative suspension and your driving privileges can be suspended at the end of 30 days.

It can be confusing to understand the DMV license suspension process because it is separate from the criminal process and the clock begins to count down from the date of the arrest, even if the driver is never charged or convicted of a crime. To understand the DMV hearing and how it compares to the criminal case, contact the experienced East Bay DUI lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.

When does the time begin to run for requesting a DMV hearing?

Innocent until proven guilty does not apply to the administrative license suspension (APS) process in California. When the police arrest a driver for a DUI, the police take the driver's license and issue a temporary license. The temporary license usually comes in the form of a pink paper. That temporary license informs you of your right to request a hearing but it may not be clear from reading the form.

The notice indicates your temporary license will expire 30 days from the issue date. However, you do not have 30 days from the issue date to challenge the suspension. Under the Hearing Notice section, “You have 10 days from the receipt of this notice to request a hearing to show that suspension or revocation is not justified."

If you request a hearing 11 days after receiving the notice, your request will be denied. Make sure you contact your California criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible after an arrest to ensure your claim is filed in time and you can keep your license.

Does requesting a hearing stop the 30-day suspension?

Yes. Generally, requesting a DMV APS hearing within 10 days will stop the automatic suspension. Instead, the administrative license suspension will be put on hold until the hearing. If the hearing ends in your favor, your license will not be administratively suspended solely based on the DUI arrest.

How do I request a formal DMV hearing?

To schedule a DMV APS hearing, you have to contact the local Driver Safety Office. Generally, you may request a hearing by writing or telephoning a Driver Safety Branch Office. This includes providing your name, driver's license number, date of birth, and mailing address.

The local Driver Safety Branch Offices in the East Bay, San Francisco, and San Jose areas include:

  • Oakland: 7677 Oakport St. Suite #220, Oakland, CA 94621 Phone (510) 563-8900
  • San Jose: 90 Great Oaks Blvd., Suite 104, San Jose, CA 95119 Phone (408) 229-7100
  • San Francisco: 1377 Fell St., 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94117-2296 Phone (415) 557-1170

Alternatively, your lawyer can contact the DMV to request the hearing. Your California DUI lawyer can also represent you at the APS hearing, challenge the arrest, and fight to keep your driving privileges.

What issues are covered in the DMV hearing?

The DMV administrative hearing is more limited in scope than the criminal case. Generally, the DMV hearing officers will only consider limited issues, based on whether the driver took a blood, breath, or urine test or refused the chemical test.
If the driver submitted a chemical test sample, the hearing officer will consider:

  • Whether the police officer had reasonable cause to believe the driver was driving a motor vehicle while impaired?
  • Whether the driver was lawfully arrested?
  • Whether the driver was driving a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or more?

If the driver refused to submit a chemical test sample, the hearing officer will consider:

  • Whether the driver was told that if he or she refused a chemical test that the driver's license would be suspended for one year or more?
  • Whether, after being told of the consequences, the driver refused to take a chemical test.

DMV Administrative License Suspension Hearing Representation in the East Bay

East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 30 years of DUI experience and represents clients during the DMV hearing and in the criminal court process. If you were arrested for a DUI in Contra Costa County or Alameda County, contact East Bay DUI lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.

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