A California DUI Arrest Initiates 2 Distinct Cases
When you are arrested for DUI in Los Angeles, your case will involve two separate proceedings:
Part of your DUI case will involve your driving privileges and whether you were guilty of committing a serious driving offense. The administrative hearing concerning the suspension of your driver's license will be handled by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). In order to protect your driver's license, you must request a DMV hearing within 10 days of your arrest. If you do not, your driver's license will be automatically suspended 30 days after the arrest date. Our legal team has decades of experience defending clients' driving privileges at DMV hearings.
Unlike California criminal court, the DMV hearing is less formal and run by a Driver Safety Office (DSO) Hearing Officer, instead of a lawyer or a judge. Although the standard of proof is lower than in criminal court, the chances of a person winning without an experienced criminal defense attorney are not very good.
The criminal case typically follows the DMV hearing. Depending on the facts surrounding your DUI arrest, you may face jail time, fines, rehabilitation, driver education school, community service (live-in or out-patient), CALTRANS (physical labor), vehicle impoundment, installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, attendance at the Hospital and Morgue program (HAM), or any combination of the above.
You may also face enhanced penalties if any of the following apply:
A prior DUI conviction within the last ten (10) years
Speeding or driving recklessly
Driving with a minor child under the age of 14
Having an excessive blood alcohol content (BAC)
Refusing a chemical test, such as breath, blood, or urine.