DMV License Suspension Hearing
Within ten (10) days of being arrested for DUI, you or your drunk driving defense attorney must contact the DMV's Driver Safety Office to request an ALR (Administrative License Revocation) hearing. It is important to note that you waive your right to a hearing after ten (10) days, resulting in an automatic suspension of your driver's license after the thirty-day temporary license expires.
It is preferable to have an attorney contact the DMV for a hearing. However, should you choose to contact the department yourself be sure to get the name and contact information of the person you speak with, but do not discuss the details of the arrest or why you are disputing the suspension. If the DMV does not schedule a hearing within thirty (30) days, you or your San Diego drunk driving defense lawyer should demand a
stay or an extension of the thirty-day temporary license until a hearing is made available and a decision is delivered. The San Diego Driver Safety Office is located at 9174 Sky Park Ave, Suite 200, San Diego, California.
During an ALR suspension hearing, rather than a judge and jury a
hearing officer of the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) presides. Hearing officers are not legally trained individuals, however their role in the ALR suspension hearing is prosecutor and judge.
Because DMV hearings are somewhat different and more technical than criminal proceedings, and public defenders are not provided, it is wise to retain a San Diego DUI attorney to represent you.
Both the hearing officer and you or your drunk driving defense lawyer may submit evidence in the form of documents or testimony. More often than not, the hearing officer will provide DMV records, lab reports, and the arresting officer's sworn affidavit. Your DUI attorney may opt not to have you attend the hearing, whether it is done by phone or in person, because the hearing officer has the right to call you as a witness, incriminating yourself with your own testimony. This is another reason why you should retain counsel.
The hearing officer is at a distinct advantage in trying to keep your license suspended or revoked because the burden of proof is a
civil burden of proof. This is far easier for the State to prove than
proof beyond a reasonable doubt as used in criminal trials. The hearing officer is also at liberty to object to evidence your attorney provides and make a ruling on his own objections.
If the suspension is thrown out or
set aside, driving privileges are immediately reinstated.
The DMV officer's final decision is not given at the administrative hearing, but is mailed within weeks of the hearing. If the decision of the officer is that the suspension be upheld, it can be appealed by filing a writ with the courts or appealing to the DMV in Sacramento. It is also possible to get a
stay of the suspension pending appeal, although this is dicreationary with the judge.