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I Won My DMV Hearing – Here’s What’s Next in 2024

When you win a DMV hearing, it means that the DMV has decided not to suspend or revoke your driver’s license. Winning the hearing usually allows you to maintain your driving privileges without any adverse actions taken against your license.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

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What is a DMV Hearing?

According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, when DMV takes action against your driver’s license (DL), you may be entitled to an administrative hearing [1]. These hearings are held before a Driver Safety (DS) Hearing Officer and are different from criminal hearings held in court. The standards for evidence are less strict in administrative hearings.

A hearing is your opportunity to receive a fair and impartial review of the action being taken should you wish to contest it. Hearings must be requested within 10 days of receiving notice or 14 days from the date of the notice, if the notice was mailed. Failure to make a request within this window will result in a forfeiture of your hearing rights - Agency stated.

Each administrative hearing is unique, and while this guide provides general information about the process, it may not cover all aspects of your individual hearing. If you have questions about how your hearing will be conducted, you should contact the DS offices listed in the DMV's publication.

Best Defenses to Win a DMV Hearing

According to Scott Henry, your experienced DUI defense attorney will thoroughly examine the police report and all evidence in your case to identify the most effective defenses for fighting your administrative suspension [2]. Some of the strongest defense arguments in a DMV hearing include:

The officer did not have probable cause to stop you. Officers cannot pull a car over without reason. If you were obeying all traffic laws prior to being pulled over, there is a strong case the officer did not have probable cause to stop you.

  • Inaccurate BAC reading. Various factors can lead to false high readings, such as certain medications, diet, or health conditions.
  • Malfunctioning BAC test equipment. Breath test devices must be properly maintained and calibrated.
  • Improper DUI checkpoint procedures. Checkpoints must adhere to specific legal guidelines.
  • Lack of volitional movement. You must have been driving the vehicle to be convicted of a DUI.
  • Failure to conduct the observation period correctly. Officers must observe you for 15 minutes before administering a breathalyzer test.
  • Officer's lack of training or qualifications. The officer must be properly trained to administer field sobriety or breath tests.
  • Failure to obtain two breath samples. Two samples are required for accuracy.
  • Failure to explain the consequences of refusing the BAC test. You must be informed of the consequences of refusing the test.
  • Errors or omissions in the police report. Mistakes or missing information in the report can weaken the DMV's case.

What if I Lose My DMV Hearing?

If you are unsuccessful in your DMV APS hearing, your license will be suspended. However, if you did not request an administrative license suspension hearing initially, your license would have been suspended regardless. Therefore, there is no downside to requesting an APS hearing.

Also Read: How to Beat Your DMV Hearing?

How to Get Your License Back After a Suspension

According to No Cuffs Organization, after your license is suspended, your priority will likely be to reinstate it promptly so you can resume driving and move on from the incident. The length of the suspension period varies depending on the reason for the suspension. For example, a first DUI offense may result in a 6-month suspension, while refusing a chemical test could lead to a one-year suspension, and multiple DUI convictions may result in a suspension of two or more years [3].

You may qualify for a restricted license, which permits limited driving privileges, such as commuting to work or school and attending medical appointments. However, you might need to wait for 30 days, pay certain fees, and enroll in DUI school before being eligible for a restricted license.

To get your driver’s license reinstated, you will need to wait out the suspension time period, pay any court fines and fees, get proof of insurance and proof of financial responsibility (SR-22 filing), complete DUI school, and pay the DMV driver’s license reissue or reinstatement fee.

What are My Odds of Winning a DMV Hearing?

If you've been arrested and accused of driving under the influence (DUI), your chances of winning your DMV hearing depend on the specifics of your case. A strong case for drunk driving by the police typically leads to low odds of success at the DMV hearing.

However, if there were errors or mistakes made by the police during your arrest, your chances of winning increase significantly. Seeking legal advice from a DUI lawyer or criminal defense lawyer can also improve your odds of a successful outcome.

Factors that can impact your chances include:

  • Whether the police officer had probable cause to pull you over
  • The clarity of the officer's instructions
  • The results of any breath or blood tests
  • Whether you were properly informed of the consequences of refusing a chemical test
  • Whether you refused to take the test

The odds of winning the hearing are not zero. You should strongly consider invoking your right to have the administrative hearing. Doing so can challenge what would otherwise be an automatic driver’s license suspension.

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References:

1. https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/driver-education-and-safety/educational-materials
2. https://topcriminallawfirm.com/blog/ten-defenses-to-help-win-a-dmv-hearing/
3. https://www.nocuffs.com/dui/dmv-case/dmv-hearing-consequences/