California’s DUI laws can be complex and confusing. In this section, our attorneys break down the rules and explain the process.
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After a DMV hearing, it can take anywhere from a few days to over a month for drivers to receive the notice of hearing results in the mail. The timeframes can vary by state. The workload of the DMV hearing officer will also matter. Drivers who receive the results and want to appeal the decision have the right to do so.
It can take anywhere from a couple of days to over a month to receive the results of a DMV hearing. The results of the hearing will come in the mail. They will be sent to the address that the Department of Motor Vehicles has on record for the owner of the driver’s license.
Results can be sent more quickly in some states than in others. Some DMV offices in the same state can even have quicker turnaround times than others. A lot will depend on the particular hearing officer’s workload. If he or she has a backlog, it can take longer.
The results will be sent in the mail to the address on file for the license holder. Drivers in a DMV hearing should make sure that this address is the correct one.
The outcome of the DMV hearing is strictly confined to the driver’s license. Even if the DMV hearing pertained to a criminal traffic offense, the DMV can only punish someone through their driver’s license. DMV hearing officers can:
They cannot, however:
Drivers who are not happy with the outcome of their DMV hearing can appeal it. Appeals can be done with an internal review or by appealing directly to state court. Instructions for appealing the decision will be included on the notice that is sent with the results of the hearing. There is often a filing fee for an appeal. They will also be a time limitation for the appeal.
In most states, an appeal will not trigger another hearing. Instead, another DMV officer or a judge will review the record of the initial hearing. They will look for procedural errors or for a wrongful application of the law.
Drivers who want to appeal the outcome of their DMV hearing should strongly consider hiring a criminal defense attorney. These lawyers are familiar with the process, having defended clients accused of criminal traffic violations and drunk driving.
In California, the results of a DMV hearing can be received between a couple of days and a little over a month. However, they are usually received between 10 days and 2 weeks after the hearing. The timeframe can change, depending on the DMV office and the hearing officer. The results are sent in the mail to the address that the DMV has on record for the license holder.
California DMV hearings can be requested if a driver’s license is about to be suspended. This can happen if the driver:
The circumstances for the license suspension will determine the type of DMV hearing:
All of these hearings will be conducted at the local California DMV safety branch office.
Drivers have legal rights at these hearings. They have a right to:
The defenses that drivers can raise will depend on the type of hearing it is. For example, drivers at a hearing that stems from a DUI arrest can argue that:
Drivers can appeal the outcome of their hearing. The instructions and time frame for appealing will be on the written notice of the decision. Drivers can demand a departmental review or can appeal straight to the California Superior Court. The fee for a departmental review is $120. A court appeal has to be done through a writ of mandate. Filing a writ of mandate usually costs between $2,500 and $3,000 in California.
If the DMV hearing regarding the license suspension stems from a criminal traffic offense, the administrative hearing is separate from the criminal court case. An adverse outcome at the DMV hearing will not directly influence the criminal case or DUI case. However, evidence presented at the DMV hearing can give law enforcement and a DUI defense lawyer a better idea of the strength of the criminal or DUI charges. This can help a DUI attorney secure a better plea deal or outcome at the criminal trial.
Even if a criminal traffic offense or drunk driving case leads to a conviction, drivers can still benefit from the legal advice of an attorney or DUI lawyer from a reputable law firm. An attorney from a local law office can help drivers get a restricted license. They can also help to reduce the inconvenience of a license suspension by helping drivers get an ignition interlock device (IID) installed.
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.