Do I Need a Lawyer for a DMV Hearing?
Posted By Evan E. Zelig || Apr 27, 2017
When you are arrested for DUI, you will have to go through two separate legal processes: your trial and your DMV hearing. Your trial may not occur for some time, but your DMV hearing will occur within 10 business days of your arrest, and this is the first very important step in the process. The primary purpose of your DMV hearing is to determine whether or not the DMV will take any action against your license, including awarding any points or issuing any suspensions. While you are not required to have an attorney for this process, there are several beneficial reasons why you should.
Pleading Your Case
In order for the DMV to levy any penalties against you, the DMV must prove three legal issues were in play:
- The officer had “probable cause” that you were committing a crime
- You were placed under lawful arrest
- You were guilty of the crime (driving a vehicle with a BAC over 0.08%)
These may seem rather straightforward and difficult to fight back against, particularly if you are not familiar with the details of the laws governing them. However a skilled attorney can recognize discrepancies in your case, including factors that may have made your arrest unlawful or show the officer does not have probable cause. This can severely weaken the case against you and result in a much better chance at winning.
Winning is Difficult
Unlike a normal court, the DMV hearings almost always assume you are guilty and work against you to prove it. Winning these hearings is difficult if you are not familiar with the laws regarding DUI arrests or are inexperienced in combatting criminal charges. You are allowed to retain an attorney for your hearing and it is strongly advised that you do. An attorney can help demonstrate flaws in your arrest, such as the officer not following proper procedures, or mistakes in the reports regarding the arrest. This could function as evidence in support of your plea of innocence.
Penalties Are Harsh
If you lose your DMV hearing, the DMV will levy some rough penalties against your license. The first and most common one is a license suspension. For a first-time offender, the DMV will suspend your license for six months, but you will be eligible to receive a restricted license after 30 days. For repeat offenders, the suspension length increases. Additionally, if an officer testifies that you refused to take a DUI blood or breath test after your arrest, the DMV can suspend your license for up to a year with no restricted license eligibility and no chance to appeal. It’s crucial that you combat these claims at your hearing in order to maintain your driving privileges to the fullest capacity possible.
At the Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig, P.C., we take great pride in helping you obtain a positive outcome to your case. Attorney Zelig has helped thousands of clients face their charges with confidence and reputable counsel. Our team is dedicated to your case, and we proudly offer client-oriented service that puts the law to work protecting you from the potentially serious penalties. Our accolades include being selected to Super Lawyers® Rising StarsSM, plus a Client Distinction Award, which attests to our impeccable record of client satisfaction.Call the Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig, P.C. today at 707.418.5352 and ask to receive a free consultation if you are facing DUI charges.