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DMV Hearing - License Suspension Hearing

A request for a DMV hearing must be made within 10 days of the arrest in order to preserve your rights. If there is no request made within 10 days, the driver’s license will be suspended/revoked 30 days from the date of arrest. When you are arrested for a DUI offense your actual driver’s license is taken by the police officer that arrests you. (exception: you're pulled over in a state other than the one that your driver’s license is actually issued in)

This paper driver’s license allows you to drive for a specified amount of time, normally between 7-10 days from the date of the arrest. There are instructions on the back of the pink piece of paper you were given (temporary drivers license) to schedule a DMV hearing to appeal the suspension of your driver’s license. Scheduling a hearing is time sensitive and in most states you must call that number and schedule the hearing within 10 days.

DMV hearings ARE NOT criminal proceedings.  It is an administrative hearing that you should take seriously.  If you or a loved one has been arrested for DUI/DWI, contact THE LAW OFFICES OF CASTILLO & ASSOCIATES immediately so that a DMV Hearing can be scheduled and your driving privileges protected

What Happens At The DMV Hearing?

The DMV will conduct an administrative review (non-criminal review) of your case to see if the paperwork that the police officer has filed about your arrest complies with the requirements that the DMV has established to suspend your driver’s license. If so, then a date for your DMV hearing will be established.

The hearing is conducted by what's referred to as a DMV hearing officer; this person is not a judge or an attorney. In fact the DMV hearing officer in most cases has virtually no legal training whatsoever, they are merely an employee of the DMV who has been designated to conduct the hearing.

The hearing is of course conducted in a private room at the DMV or it can be conducted telephonically.  Both hearings will be recorded for reference. The hearing officer acts as the prosecution, judge and jury in these hearings; meaning they present the DMV's case against you, interview witnesses, cross examine any defense witnesses/testimony, rule about evidence admissibility, and then make the final judgment as to who wins the case, the Department or you. This is allowed because this is an 'administrative' hearing and not a 'criminal' proceeding.

How is the DMV hearing different from the court trial for DUI?

Again, the DMV hearing is an administrative proceeding regarding your driving privilege and the circumstances surrounding the arrest, not whether you are innocent or guilty of a criminal act. Only the following issues will be discussed:

If you took a blood or breath or (if applicable) a urine test:

Did the peace officer have reasonable cause to believe you were driving a motor vehicle in violation of Vehicle Code Section 23140 , 23152 , or 23153 ?
Were you placed under lawful arrest?
Were you driving a motor vehicle when you had 0.08% or more by weight of alcohol in your blood?
If you refused or failed to complete a blood, breath test, or (if applicable) a urine test:

Did the peace officer have reasonable cause to believe you were driving a motor vehicle in violation of Vehicle Code Section 23140 , 23152 , or, 23153 ?
Were you placed under lawful arrest?
Were you told that if you refused to submit to or failed to complete a test of your blood, breath, or (when applicable) urine, your driving privilege would be suspended for one year or revoked for two or three years?
Did you refuse to submit to or failed to complete a blood or breath test, or (if applicable) a urine test after being requested to do so by a peace officer?


As you can see, these hearings are very difficult to win, especially without proper legal representation. THE LAW OFFICES OF CASTILLO & ASSOCIATES routinely obtains the least amount of time for license suspensions and/or restricted licenses.  More recently, our office has had several victories in DMV Hearings resulting in no suspension or restriction whatsoever. Call our office and speak with Mr. Archer about your pending DMV hearing and DUI case.

What If I Lose The DMV Hearing?

If you lose the hearing, your driver’s license suspension will be upheld and you will forfeit all of your driving privileges for a specified amount of time. However, if you have a non-commercial driver license and you show:Proof of enrollment in a DUI treatment program
Proof of financial responsibility, and
Pay a $125 reissue fee after a mandatory 30-day suspension


You may request a restricted license to drive to and from DUI treatment program and/or to ,from , and during work.

Upon reinstatement of your driving privileges you will be required to maintain a high-risk DUI insurance policy referred to as an SR22 insurance policy.

California Drivers License Suspensions from a First-Time DUI

In a first offense DUI situation, a license suspension can occur from: (1) being convicted of the DUI in court, or (2) losing your DMV hearing.

Court-Triggered License Suspensions for First-Offense DUI


A California court conviction for first-time DUI automatically triggers a six-month license suspension. See Vehicle Code 13352(a)(1). This suspension is not imposed by the court. If you are convicted of DUI, the court notifies the DMV and the DMV is responsible for imposing the suspension. A conviction of a lesser charge of reckless driving or to an offense other than DUI, there is no court-triggered license suspension.

Administrative License Suspensions for First-Offense DUI

A person arrested for DUI with a BAC of .08 or higher also faces an administrative drivers license suspension. See Vehicle Code 13353.2. This proceeding is through the DMV and is independent of the DUI court proceedings. We know it's confusing. But suffice it to say that California gets two bites at the apple-that apple being your privilege to drive.

You are entitled to a DMV hearing regarding the administrative suspension and to be represented at the hearing by a DUI defense attorney. If you win your hearing, no administrative license suspension is imposed. If you lose your hearing, the DMV suspends your license for four months. See Vehicle Code 13353.3.

*Note: What if you have the misfortune of getting a DUI conviction in court and an administrative suspension from the DMV? Does that mean a 10-month suspension? No. The total period of both suspensions cannot be longer than the longest individual suspension. So the total license suspension period would be just six months, not ten. See Vehicle Code 13353.3(c)

Getting a Restricted License in a First-Offense DUI Situation

How soon you can get a restricted license depends on which suspension you suffer. With the DUI court-triggered suspension, you can get a restricted license right away. With the administrative suspension, you must wait 30 days from the start of the license suspension. See Vehicle Code 13353.7. If you suffer both suspensions, you still must wait 30 days from the start of the administrative suspension.

If you or someone you care about has DMV problems related to a DUI arrest, please call THE LAW OFFICES OF CASTILLO & ASSOCIATES for a consultation immediately. Remember many cases can be successfully defended and your driver privileges protected and or restored.

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