DMV Hearing

DMV Penalties

Aside from the sanctions that can come from a criminal conviction, DUI offenders also must contend with DMV administrative license actions (revocations and suspensions) during a DMV hearing. The DMV must apply these actions, which are separate from any criminal penalties. Proceedings in one arena do not affect the findings in the other venue. One major exception: If the jury issues a not guilty verdict for criminal charges, the DMV determination and license suspension are overturned.

Here is a summary of license revocations and suspensions that the DMV must impose on DUI drivers:

DMV License Suspensions and Revocations
Nature of OffenseFirstSecondThird (or more)
Driver Under 21, BAC .01% or more1 year or more1 year or more1 year or more
Driver 21 and Over BAC .08% or more4 months or more1 year or more1 year or more
Chemical Test Refusal1 year2 years* (Revocation)3 years* (Revocation)

*If previous offense was a DUI or DUI-related, the punishment for a second "test refusal" also applies.

DMV Process

The administrative license process starts when the driver receives a DUI citation. The arresting officer will revoke the license at the scene if the driver:

  • Refused to take a chemical test
  • Broke any civil per se laws (see table above)

Licensed offenders are issued a DMV suspension or revocation order. This is a 30-day license that allows the driver to keep driving until the end of this period when the revocation or suspension goes into effect. Drivers have 10 days from the date they are cited to ask for a DMV hearing.

Contact the DMV

You have 10 days from the date of your arrest to get in touch with the DMV.
If you don’t get in touch with the California Department of Motor Vehicles within this time period, you will not be able to protect your driving privileges. Any temporary license you received after your arrest will expire 30 days after your arrest.

There are two reasons why you should contact your DMV: 1) Your driving privilege won’t be suspended before the DMV hearing about your arrest, and 2) your driving privileges won’t be suspended until after a decision is issued at the hearing. By requesting a hearing, you are making sure that you can retain your driving privileges until the hearing is over.

If you do request a DMV hearing within the 10-day period following your arrest, a stay of your driver’s license suspension will be issued and you will retain your driving privileges while the stay is in effect. The 10-day count begins the day after you receive your Notice of Suspension, so if you were arrested on the 16th of the month, the 10-day period begins on the 17th and runs through the 26th.

The information that follows is a list of what the DMV will need in order for you to get your hearing. This is the only information you will have to give to get your license suspension stayed or receive your hearing date.

DMV Hearing Request

When requesting your hearing, give your DMV the following:

  • Your name
  • Driver’s license number
  • Arrest date or date of suspension notice. These are listed on the actual Notice of Suspension, which will include information about the arresting agency and the county where your arrest took place)
  • Information on whether you refused or submitted to a blood test or a breath test.
  • Request for a phone or in-person hearing

**It is a good idea to contact our San Diego DUI lawyers before you request your DMV hearing.

Your DMV Hearing

A hearing officer will be present at your DMV hearing. It is his or her job to prosecute the case and issue a final decision after examining the evidence.

Issues that need to be determined:

  • Who was driving the motor vehicle
  • Whether the arresting law enforcement officer had “reasonable cause” to pull you over and arrest you
  • Whether the arrest was lawful, which can be a complex question
  • Whether the driver had a BAC of .08% or greater

By thoroughly examining your DUI case and employing different “discovery” methods, our San Diego DUI attorneys can construct a defense for the case against you. We will provide the necessary testimony to help your case, and we may even bring in an expert on breath or blood testing.

For many DUI cases, there will be questions on at least one of the issues that the DMV has to prove. All the issues must be proven in the affirmative if the DMV is to suspend your driving privilege. The Law Offices of David M. Boertje can help you discover and factually develop the issues that can win your DMV case.

To request your free consultation with an experienced San Diego DUI lawyer, contact the Law Offices of David M. Boertje online, send us an e-mail, or call us today. We have offices in Carlsbad and San Diego, and we represent DUI clients in cities throughout San Diego County.