Anytime you are pulled over, your license is at risk. When it comes to a DUI, that risk rises significantly. Being able to drive is vital in Los Angeles for your life and livelihood. Public transportation is an option, but Los Angeles is known as a car city, and nobody wants to lose their license.
After a DUI, you do have a chance to protect your license. There are steps in place to help you, but you have a limited time to carry them out. The state rules that you only have ten days to act before it is too late to do anything about it. Past that, you will be unable to secure a DMV hearing.
Specific steps must be taken, and you have only a limited time. Read on to find the steps and information necessary to protect your driver’s license. You may be in trouble, but you can still mitigate the damage by working on your defense strategy with a DUI lawyer.
What Is the 10-Day Rule?
In California, you have an opportunity to prevent an administrative license suspension. To do so, you will have to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles, or DMV, and set up an administrative license suspension hearing.
There, you can contest your license suspension, perhaps preventing it at all or at least mitigating the damage. To do this, you will have to contact the DMV within ten days of being charged. If you wait longer, the DMV will move forward with suspending your license, and you will be out of options.
What Is an Administrative License Suspension?
An administrative license suspension, in opposition to a mandatory suspension, is one in which the DMV officer decides whether to suspend your license or not. This happens most often after DUIs, and there is almost always a chance to have a hearing and contest them. These hearings mostly hinge on blood-alcohol levels but can also depend on whether the person involved agrees to a field sobriety test.
A DUI-related suspension usually lasts for four months, but it is possible to request a five-month work-restricted license after thirty days have passed. However, a suspension within ten years of the last one will last for one year.
What to Expect from Your License Suspension
If the motorist refuses or fails a sobriety test, the suspension lasts up to a year. A refusal within ten years of another will revoke your license for two years, and two priors will result in three years. There is no restricted license option in this case.
If the officer deems the motorist negligent or incompetent, they are suspended for six months, with a one-year probation. The officer may lengthen or shorten that time based on the circumstances and might even grant only probation.
If the driver is deemed physically or mentally unfit to drive safely, they are suspended until they can produce medical evidence to the contrary. Lack of driving skills also applies until it can be proven that the driver is not a danger.
Administrative License Hearing Process
An administrative license hearing must be scheduled with the DMV, following the directions provided on the notice of arrest sent to you by the arresting officer. You must contact the local DMV’s Driver Safety Office, supplying your name, driver’s license number, and birthday.
The hearing is held in front of a driver safety hearing officer, either in person or by phone. The driver is informed of the legal grounds for the suspension and is given the opportunity to testify and present evidence against the decision. Witnesses can also be called on, if possible. Following this, the officer will decide whether to sustain the ruling, modify it, or nullify it.
You have the right to an attorney and to present whatever evidence and cross-examine witnesses as you see fit. You also have the right to represent yourself. Whatever decision is reached, you have the right to receive it in writing, and if the decision is against you, it is possible to request an administrative review as well as to appeal it to a higher court.
What Happens if I do Not Contact an Officer?
If you fail to contact an officer in the given time, the driver safety officer will make their decision without any input from the defendant. You likely will face the standard sentence for your infraction, with your license suspended for whatever amount of time deemed necessary.
Essentially, your license will be automatically suspended. There is nothing to be done to reverse this after the fact. That is why it is so important to contact a lawyer before you are convicted.
How a Lawyer Can Help
It is strongly advised to contact a lawyer as soon as you are arrested. Failing that, seeking legal counsel and representation before your hearing may be the difference between keeping or losing your driver’s license.
Your lawyer will be able to schedule your hearing, as well as represent you during it, doing everything within their power to keep you from losing your license or potentially seeing jail time. As with any legal matter, a lawyer is all but necessary if you want things decided in your favor.
Applying for a Hardship License
If your license does end up suspended, you can still apply for a hardship license. What that means is that you can still do some limited driving to only essential places.
To apply for one, you must not have a prior DUI within the last ten years, you must not have had your license revoked for a different illegal act, you must have submitted your sobriety test, you must be 21 years old, and you must be a personal and not commercial driver. If you were charged with any other crime during your arrest, it is very unlikely that you will be granted a hardship license.
It is best to apply for a hardship license as soon as your regular license is revoked, as you will usually be granted a temporary 30-day license. Ideally, you will have your hardship license by the time that has passed. To apply for the license, you will have to fill out an application with the DMV and pay a fine of $125 to get your license reissued. You must also provide proof that you are enrolled in DUI school.
Speak to a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer Today
If you find yourself in this situation, call or set up an appointment online with a DUI lawyer as soon as possible. A Los Angeles car accident lawyer can guide you through this process, whether you were involved in a car accident or are facing legal charges for a DUI.
When you are ready, reach out for help. Your lawyer is here to help you, and your case succeed. Call or complete our online contact form to get started on your defense strategy as soon as today.