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Northern California DMV Hearing Lawyer

We handle all DUI cases in Santa Rosa, Napa, San Rafael, Lakeport, Ukiah, & Eureka.

If you are arrested for DUI, you may face license suspension. While this is a penalty for the crime, it is not issued by the criminal courts. Instead, the license suspension is issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You will have to attend a hearing with the DMV concerning your license suspension that is separate from your criminal case hearing.

Regardless of what happens in your criminal trial, the DMV will probably attempt to suspend your license for 4 months when your 30-day temporary license expires. Normally, we can help clients obtain a restricted non-commercial license so they can commute to work. If you had a commercial driver's license, chances are that you will lose your driving privileges for your commercial vehicle for one year.

DMV License Suspension Time Limits

  • Convicted of DUI: 6 Month License Suspension
  • Blood Alcohol Test Refusal: 10 Month License Suspension
  • DUI with Injury: 1 Year License Suspension

About DMV Administrative Hearings

At your DMV hearing, the panel will not discuss whether you are innocent or guilty of your crime. Your guilt or innocence will be determined at your criminal trial, which will take place in a state courthouse. The DMV trial will probably take place at your local DMV. It is highly recommended that you bring an attorney along.

At your Sonoma County DMV hearing, the panel will investigate and address the following:

  • Did you take a blood, breath, or urine test? If you did, the test and result will be investigated. The DMV wants to learn if the officer who conducted this test had the right to do so and whether or not you were operating a vehicle at the time that the test was taken.
  • Did you refuse to take a blood, breath, or urine test? If you did, your refusal will probably result in automatic license revocation. Strict laws govern blood and breath test refusals. People who refuse a test when the police officer has reasonable suspicion that the driver was intoxicated will probably have their licenses suspended.

The 10-Day Rule

During your arrest, a police officer is supposed to take your license and hand you a temporary license while your case is sorted out. This license gives you full driving privileges but it will expire 30 days after it is given to you. The very first thing you need to have your attorney help you do is contact the DMV and schedule a hearing.

You must schedule your hearing within 10 days of receiving your temporary license. We may be able to help extend your 30-day license longer than the initial temporary time limit in order to help you get from place to place in the appropriate amount of time.

How Our Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help Protect You

All DMV license suspensions can be challenged. An experienced attorney from our firm can attend your DMV hearing and argue on your behalf. We may be able to prove that you don't deserve to lose your license or may be able to go back to the DMV after your criminal case is dismissed and request that they reinstate your license.

Don't hesitate to call Ronald Dinan & Associates today if you want more information!

DMV Hearing FAQs

Should a DMV hearing be scheduled within 10 days?

In the majority of California DUI arrests, police use what is known as the stop and snatch law which allows a police officer to take a person's standard picture driver's license and issue them a 30-day temporary license. This is known as the Administrative Per Se or APS suspension law. Issuing this 30 day APS license, to someone who is being charged with a DUI, initiates the process by DMV to suspend that person's license.

Anyone who is issued a 30-day temporary license must contact DMV within 10 days of receiving the temporary license to request a hearing. It is advisable for the request to be made by a DUI attorney because other processes can be dealt with at that time. Failure to request this hearing will result in an automatic suspension/restriction of that person's license regardless of the potential merits of their case. In short, although a DMV hearing may not occur for months, the request for a Sonoma County DMV hearing must be made within 10 days. This request must be made to the Driver Safety Division of DMV—not your local DMV office.

No negative consequences occur when DMV is contacted and a hearing is requested within 10 days of arrest. Similarly, a DUI attorney will be able to delineate a number of negative consequences that can and probably will occur if you do NOT request a DMV hearing and at a later time determine that you actually have a defense that could have been raised at DMV. Do not allow a clerk at DMV to talk you out of scheduling a hearing. In many instances, they are poorly informed and are unaware of the numerous defenses that can be raised successfully at a DMV hearing. Remember, a DMV hearing can always be canceled.

Even if the request for a DMV hearing is made beyond the 10 day period, an attorney may be able to get a hearing at the DMV even though there may not be a right to a postponement or a delay of the suspension.

How is the 10 days calculated?

The 10-day calculation can be extended if the tenth day falls on a weekend or a holiday. In those cases, the request should be made on the next business day following the weekend or holiday. An argument can also be made that the 10 day period does not necessarily begin on the date of the arrest, but rather on the day the person physically receives the temporary license which is generally when they receive all of their property back from jail personnel on their exit from jail. In an abundance of caution, always have your DUI attorney contact DMV as soon as possible and never wait until the tenth day.

Which drivers qualify for the 30 day APS temporary license?

There are four general categories of drivers who will qualify for the issuance of a 30-day temporary license. A DUI defense attorney can explain, in detail, the impact of the 30-day temporary license and the processes that occur immediately thereafter.

  • Drivers who exhibit some evidence that their BAC was 0.08% or higher
  • Drivers under 21 years of age who exhibit evidence that they were 0.01% or higher
  • Drivers under 21 years of age who refused to take or fail to complete a PAS test
  • Drivers 21 years or older who refused/failed to complete the mandatory chemical test

For those under 21, with a 0.01% BAC and no prior conviction or adverse APS action within 10 years of the current offense date, the DMV will attempt to suspend their license for 1 year. After the initial 30 days, this individual is eligible to apply for a critical need to drive license. If the individual who is under 21 has one or more prior convictions or adverse administrative action within the past 10 years, the suspension is also 1 year in length and this person is not eligible for a critical need to drive license.

For those 21 years or older that provide some evidence of having a BAC of 0.08% or higher, if the individual has no prior conviction or prior administrative action within 10 years prior to the current offense date, the DMV will suspend their license for 4 months which can be reduced to 30 days followed by a 5 month period of restricted driving to, from, and during work, as well as to and from a DUI program.

If a person 21 years or older has one or more prior convictions or adverse administrative actions within 10 years prior to the current offense date, the DMV will suspend their license for 1 year. These individuals are eligible to apply for a restricted license with the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) after an initial 90-day suspension. A DUI lawyer can provide you with all of the details necessary to acquire an IID and provide you with all of the information as to local providers.

What happens to drivers who refuse a chemical test?

  • Drivers who refuse to take a chemical test and have no prior convictions or adverse DMV actions will incur a license suspension for one year with no eligibility for a restricted license during that year.
  • Drivers who refuse to take a chemical test and have 1 prior conviction or adverse DMV action within 10 years of the current offense date will have their license suspended for 2 years with no eligibility for a restricted license.
  • Drivers who refuse to take a chemical test and who have 2 or more convictions or adverse DMV administrative actions or a combination thereof, within 10 years prior to the current offense, will have their license suspended for 3 years with no eligibility for a restricted license.

What issues are addressed during the DMV hearing?

Although there is a myriad of sub-issues involved, the primary issues are:

  • Did the police officer have reasonable cause to believe you were DUI?
  • Were you lawfully arrested?
  • Were you driving with a 0.08% blood alcohol concentration or higher?

If the Sonoma County DMV alleges that you refused to take or failed to complete a required chemical test, then an alternative issue will be (a) whether you refused to submit to or did not complete a required chemical test after being requested to do so by a police officer, and (b) whether you were told that your driving privilege would be suspended or revoked if you refused to take or complete the mandatory test.

Remember, Ronald Dinan and Associates, is a firm of experienced and aggressive DUI lawyers, who can help in achieving the best outcome in your case. Many times DUI case dispositions will include reduction or outright dismissal of the number and/or severity of criminal charges, diversion programs, probation, reduced fines with installment payments, alternatives to jail, etc.

To get immediate help with your DUI matter, we invite you to call us to discuss your case. We answer all telephone calls in a polite, professional and helpful manner.
County: Cities: Local Phone number:
Sonoma County Santa Rosa 707-294-1968
Napa County Napa 707-927-1056
Marin County San Rafael 415-570-4810
Lake County Lakeport 707-294-1629
Mendocino County Ukiah 707-294-1960
Humbolt County Eureka 707-294-1968

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