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San Diego DMV Hearing & License Suspension Attorneys

You Only Have 10 Days After a DUI Arrest in San Diego to Save Your License

When you are arrested for a DUI offense, the arresting officer will take away your driver's license and give you a pink slip of paper, either a notice of suspension or revocation, and if a suspension, you will receive a 30-day temporary license that is in effect during the period in which your DUI case is being resolved. At the end of the 30 days, your driver's license will be suspended based upon whether you have a prior DUI conviction and other circumstances in the case (accident, injury or other factor).

What you may not know is that you have only 10 days after your arrest to contact the California DMV to schedule a hearing regarding the suspension of your license. If you fail to schedule this hearing, your license will automatically be suspended 30 days after your arrest.

At jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys, our San Diego DUI lawyer can handle both the criminal case and DMV hearing on your behalf. At your San Diego DMV hearing, you have the opportunity to present information and evidence to try to reverse your license suspension. That is why you need to obtain counsel from our firm right away! We have more than 30 years of experience and offer representation from a board certified criminal law specialist.

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Automatic License Suspension in San Diego, CA

The process of administrative license suspension is automatic unless you take action. The officer has submitted a sworn report to the DMV about your DUI case, which is reviewed by the DMV to determine if your license should be suspended. The hearing has the purpose of giving you the opportunity to prove that the suspension or revocation is not justified.

You will be up against the following penalties:

  • BAC of.08 or higher: You will have a 4 month license suspension.
  • 2nd DUI offense (within 10 years): You will face a one year license suspension.
  • Breath test refusal: Your license will be suspended for 1 year.

To prove that the suspension or revocation of your license was not justified, it is necessary to establish certain facts. These may include that the initial police stop was illegal and violated your rights, that the breath testing was administered incorrectly and the results are likely to be inaccurate, or that there were other errors in procedure. At our firm, we know the process of challenging license suspension intimately, and what to do to help you fight to retain your right to drive.

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Reasons a California Driver’s License May Be Suspended

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can suspend a driver’s license for a number of reasons, including the following:

  • Arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or vehicular manslaughter
  • Too many points on a driver’s record (negligent operator)
  • Mental or physical conditions that could affect driving skills or cause loss of consciousness, such as Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, or diabetes
  • Lack of skill due to aging (loss of mental and physical faculties in older drivers)
  • Driver’s license fraud – using false ID or someone else’s ID to secure a California driver’s license
  • Failure to appear in court or failure to pay a fine imposed by the court
  • Being involved in a traffic accident when you have no auto insurance
  • Road rage behavior

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License Suspension or DMV Probation for Being a “Negligent Operator”

California has a Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS). The DMV created this program to keep “negligent motor vehicle operators” off the road. Points are assigned on a driver’s record for traffic violations. Some violations are worth more points than others. For example, a minor moving violation will typically add one point, while a hit-and-run or DUI will add two points. The DMV has the right to suspend or revoke your driving privileges for:

  • 4 points within a 12-month period.
  • 6 points within a 24-month period; or
  • 8 points within a 36-month period.

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How a Physical or Mental Condition Can Lead to Driver’s License Suspension

Some people suffer from mental or physical conditions that make it unsafe for them to drive. A person with Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, diabetes, or any condition that could impair driving ability or cause loss of consciousness could have his or her driver’s license revoked. In certain cases, however, people with physical or mental conditions are still capable of driving safely. Before it can revoke or suspend your license for a physical or mental condition, the DMV must hold a DMV reexamination hearing, also known as a lack of skill inquiry, in which you can present evidence as to why your driving privileges should not be revoked.

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How to Protect Your License from Suspension

Winning a DMV hearing in Vista or San Diego is difficult. Only a very small percentage of cases tried in a DMV hearing actually win. Often the prosecutor in a DMV hearing is the same person who will decide on the penalties resulting from the case. The courts and the DMV have separate powers over a person’s driver’s license. Even when a case is lost in a DMV hearing, an individual can still go to a higher court and try to get his license back. If he wins his case in court, the DMV’s decision is rendered null and void. This is often a person’s best chance at winning his license back after a DMV suspension.

It is important to note that if the person charged with a DUI refused to provide a roadside test, the higher courts cannot do anything about a license suspension and it will be solely at the discretion of the DMV. An officer can claim that a person refused to provide a breath test even when that person tried blowing into the machine but it somehow failed. In these cases, it is essential to hire a San Diego criminal defense attorney to help prove that you tried to take the test, but that something in the design or administration of the test failed. Most of the time, an officer simply becomes impatient if a person does not blow hard enough the first time and will not allow him or her to take the test again.

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Requesting a Restricted License

However, even when a person has his license suspended by the DMV, there is still hope that he will be able to drive under certain circumstances with a restricted license (if there was no test refusal). A criminal defense attorney is your best bet at being granted these rights, and the more DUI offenses a person has on record will greatly impact whether or not he is eligible for a restricted license.

The first time a person is charged with a DUI, the minimum amount of time his license may be suspended is one month. After this time, a person may apply for a restricted license if he has attended a DUI class, filed proof of insurance with the court, and paid the DMV license reissue fee of $125. This restricted license allows a person to drive to work for four to five months, although those times may be extended based on what happens in court.

A second DUI offense within a ten-year time period will result in a license being suspended for one year (after losing a DMV hearing). In these cases, there is no chance for a restricted license during that one-year time frame.

When a person has been charged with a third DUI offense within the same ten-year time period, both the DMV and the courts will suspend his or her license for three years. Often, restricted licenses are not allowed during this time period, but in some cases they are. To be eligible for a restricted license under these conditions, a person must complete an 18-month DUI course and install an ignition interlock device in the vehicle. Before the car will start, this device must be blown into; and the car will only start if the person’s BAC is below 0.08%. While these devices cost approximately $1,000 to install, a person may be eligible for a restricted license after. Even with this device, the restricted license will only allow the person to and from work.

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Aggressive Representation from a San Diego Lawyer

If you have been arrested for DUI in San Diego or the surrounding areas, jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys may be able to help you. Attorney James N. Dicks has been involved in the criminal field since 1977 and boasts extensive experience. If you are looking for a DUI attorney in San Diego who will do everything possible to defend your rights and help you avoid a DUI conviction, look no further. We offer a free consultation and can advise you about your options, the possible defense strategies that could be employed, and what could be done to challenge a suspension or revocation of your license at a DMV hearing.

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Contact our San Diego DMV hearing lawyer at (760) 630-2000 today to work toward building your defense!

Sample of Case Results

  • DUI Charge -
    DMV Hearing Won
  • DUI With Suspended License -
    DMV Hearing Won
  • Felony DUI Causing Injury -
    All Charges Dropped

View more case results here.

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