The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) hearing is a tricky, and sometimes, an unfair process. It is absolutely recommended that you retain the experience of an attorney to represent you through this hearing immediately, as there are a lot of loopholes and suspect rules rigged against you. The likelihood of a “set aside” is only increased with the advice of an experienced DMV hearing lawyer. Also, the DMV has a very strict deadline on getting this done. As such, retaining an experienced Los Angeles DMV hearing attorney immediately may be the difference between a successful start to your DUI charge, or a very negative implication to your driving record. Below, Matthew Barhoma, Founder of Barhoma Law, P.C., outlines the procedures of the DMV hearing.(1) Jurisdiction and DMV Powers
On the outset, one thing to keep in mind is that the DMV has the ability to legally suspend and revoke your driver’s license. The court will have no jurisdiction to tell the DMV what to do regarding your drivers license. This is due to the fact that the DMV is its own administrative body; and it is separate and apart from the court.
If you are arrested on suspicion of DUI, you have 10 days to schedule your DMV hearing. Meaning, you have just 10 days from date of arrest to choose an experienced attorney. The earlier you contact a Barhoma Law, P.C., lawyer, the more effective we can be in an attempt to reinstate your license, set aside a possible suspension or revocation, and/or seek a restricted license right for you to enable essential travel.
Even more, when you are arrested on suspicion of DUI, the arresting officer will confiscate your license. Once confiscated, he will give you a pink slip that has fine print. At the bottom, in fine print, the pink slip indicates that you must make your appointment within 10 days to schedule your DMV hearing. Unfortunately, it gives you the number of the Sacramento office, and not the actual office you’re suppose to make an appointment with. The appropriate DMV location you must make an appointment with is the closest location to your arrest. As such, you should get in touch with an experienced attorney quickly to ensure your appointment is set up correctly. An DMV hearing lawyer with Barhoma Law, P.C., will ensure you get this part right. We like to go a step further to create a “proof of service,” where we leave a written track record of your request for an appointment. Therefore, there can be no discrepancy translated against you.(2) The Hearing and Consequences for Failure to Schedule/Show up
If you fail to schedule your DMV hearing or fail to do it adequately and with the right office, you will face an automatic suspension of your license. Often, such a suspension of your license will also lead to loss of employment, as you will be unable to drive to or from work. As such, the consequences are immediate and immense. This is why we recommend you retain an experienced DMV hearing lawyer immediately.
The hearing is very important. At Barhoma Law, P.C., we take every step necessary in litigating and attending the DMV hearing. First, when you schedule your appointment, the DMV will often automatically assign you a telephonic hearing. This is the first mistake – if possible, make it an in-person hearing. Statistics clearly show that in-person appointments lead to better chances of a set-aside of your license suspension. When possible, Barhoma Law, P.C., almost always demands an in-person appointment. The good news is when you retain an experienced Barhoma Law, P.C., lawyer, you do not have to even show up to the hearing. We will do so on your behalf.
If the 10-day deadline is not met, the Department may still grant you a hearing with counsel. This is the second kind of scenario we face at Barhoma Law, P.C. Often, the client will have missed the 10-day window before contacting us. In that instance, a request letter from our firm may nevertheless be granted for a hearing, assuming we can show it happened for a good reason. We often argue that you did not have the legal counsel you needed, and now you do. Therefore, you should be granted a good-cause request for the appointment.
The in-person meeting is usually held in an office of the Driver Safety field officers. Your attorney will be there on your behalf, alongside any witnesses that may be present. We bring our own tape recorder, not for any reason but to start to build your case for the in-court portion. The hearing officer is trained to find holes in testimony from any witnesses or documents presented. The most important thing is to build the record for why you are a worthy person to set aside your suspension.
At Barhoma Law, P.C., we seek to build your character, your trustworthiness, and your ability to be trusted as a driver. If the hearing officer is incompetent, or falls short of his duties, we seek to exercise your right to challenge and disqualify any administrative law judge or agency member. This enables us to ensure that the process, as you must face it in a DUI setting, is fair and competent. We also strategically will invoke this right to maximize your likelihood of success and offer your zealous representation.
Further, we will be sure to submit all the documentation required. Statistics show that the likelihood of a favorable result during the hearing increases nearly twice when the appropriate written materials are submitted.
Lastly, during the process of handling this hearing, your lawyer will be able to gather discovery, which is very important information about your DUI arrest. One of the main uses for the information obtained in the discovery phase of your case is in court, where you will fight for your overall criminal record. Successful gathering and use of the information found during discovery will enable you to negotiate and potentially dismiss your charge. It will substantially enable you to protect your record.(3) Conclusion
In conclusion, upon arrest on suspension of a DUI, the clock is ticking. Time is of the essence. You must schedule a hearing within 10-days with the appropriate DMV. The hearing must take place and you must ensure absolute procedural caution in exercising this right. The consequences are immense.15 Most Common Grounds to Set aside Suspension and Win Your DMV Hearing
Below, Matthew Barhoma, Founder of Barhoma Law, P.C., outlines 15 most common grounds to set aside suspension of your license and succeed on your DMV hearing:
- There is insufficient admissible evidence that the you were driving.
- The officer lacked probable cause to stop you or arrest you.
- You were not actually under arrest at the time of the chemical test (or the refusal) or there was no legal authority to arrest you due to lack of driving in the presence of the arresting officer.
- There was a three hour window between your arrest and the administration of the chemical test.
- There is no admissible evidence of when you were driving, or when the test was given. Therefore, “driving” cannot be established within the three hour window allotted for the chemical test.
- A Title 17 violation.
- On cross-examination, the officer is unfamiliar with the requirements of Title 17, contrary to his statements given under oath in the DS-367 form.
- Defense evidence shows a rising blood-alcohol level. This is the BAC was below 0.08% at the time of driving. Meaning, you were not established “drunk” under the color of the law.
- The lab blood or urine aliases report is not signed “at or near” the time the analysis was made.
- The dates and times in the DS-367, arrest and breath checklist reports are contradictory on issues such as time of driving, arrest, 15-minute observation, and chemical test.
- Evidence on critical issues consists of double or triple hearsay in police reports and are not part of report from another officer.
- Records obtained in discovery indicate significant or repeated problems with the breath machine or blood analysis; supported by the testimony of a defense toxicologist.
- The officer failed to properly advise you of the consequences of refusing.
- You did not understand the implied consent provisions due to head injury or the refusal was due to officer-induced confusion.
- The officer did not respond to your subpoena. Or, if the officer is appearing as uncooperative and objects to providing testimony in areas where the officer must establish elements at the hearing.