DMV Hearings in California DUI Cases
I have been battling it out with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for the past twenty-five years. As a DUI defense attorney in the San Fernando Valley, when I meet with clients, I am always honest and straightforward regarding the DUI DMV Administrative Hearings. These are separate from any criminal court proceedings.
In my opinion, they are somewhat of a “Kangaroo Court,” and it is tough to get them to set aside a suspension unless you have a good angle. Those attorneys who come up with many defenses in the initial meeting when they meet or talk to the potential client are not fooling anyone.
A defense is only as good as the facts that support it! Come in and get the straight scoop on your case so you walk away with a fundamental understanding of what you are up against, what you can expect out of your case, and what we can do to help you. Discuss your case with a DMV hearing lawyer at our office to develop a defense strategy for your case.
The problem with how the system is set up, in my opinion, relates to the fact that the DMV hearing officer is playing conflicting roles as it relates to the hearing itself. They must put on the evidence, like a prosecutor in a criminal case, rule on objections (to their evidence), and decide the hearing outcome like the judge in a criminal case.
This leaves a glaring conflict of interest, which cannot be resolved unless some neutral entity takes over making the final decisions related to DMV hearings, such as a DMV hearing attorney. Combine this with the fact that the hearing officer is not an attorney, typically does not understand the rules of evidence, and lets in all kinds of hearsay evidence, and you have a real mess on your hands.
In my view, the only way to beat them is to find a glaring problem with their case and make sure you flush it out and argue it in such a way that they cannot get out of it! They do not like to lose cases and stop at nothing to prove their case. They are far from neutral, and only the savviest DUI attorney can effectively challenge and beat them. Our highly experienced lawyers can help you in that matter.
What Are the DMV Angles That Work?
As I write this post, I have just finished a DMV hearing, and it looks like we have a good chance of getting a set-aside. In this particular case, the main witness who allegedly saw my client driving could not remember the driving time or describe what my client was wearing on the night in question.
This is an example of a scenario where there is an angle to win the DMV hearing. Without the time of driving, the question becomes, “how does the DMV prove what my client's blood-alcohol level was at the time of driving if they do not know the time of driving?” If the defendant goes ahead and contacts a DMV hearing attorney in the San Fernando Valley, the attorney will make sure he has all the evidence to prove his innocence.
As you can see from the above example, this is not some DUI trick that the defense has come up with to save the day. This is a legitimate common sense problem. Even if my client's blood alcohol level is over the legal limit when they test him, the only thing that matters is what it was at the time of driving. This creates a massive problem for the DMV without pinpointing the time of going.
Other issues related to problems that the DMV cannot overcome relate to issues with the breath machine, time lapses between the person driving and their testing, contamination of the person's blood, not correctly advising the person of their choice between blood or breath tests, illegal stops and a whole host of other issues that apply on a case by case basis. Only an experienced San Fernando Valley DMV hearing attorney will understand all these aspects of your case and be able to use them properly to defend your case.
What Does the DMV Have to Prove to Suspend a Driver's License?
To suspend someone's driver's license related to a DUI, the DMV must show that the person was lawfully stopped, lawfully arrested, and was driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol result of a .08 or greater. This sounds easy, but all sorts of issues can crop up along the way. In the unfortunate event that the officer has evidence to prove all this, the case against you will be stronger.
This means your chances of getting away with a clean slate will be next to impossible without an experienced DMV hearing attorney by your side. Other issues can also crop up along the way. For example, what if the police do not actually see the person driving and come along after an accident. In this scenario, they will need to obtain evidence that the person they want to arrest was driving the subject's car.
Another issue they will have to deal with is pinpointing when they are driving. This is not always easy, but it is essential because having a blood alcohol reading means nothing unless they can figure out when the person was driving to use an expert to extrapolate backward to figure out the person's BAC at the time of driving. Contact the Hedding Law Firm to review your case. We also handle DUI cases in all the San Fernando Valley Courthouses.