Los Angeles DMV Hearing Defense Lawyers
The first critical challenge California drivers face after a DUI arrest is trying to prevent the suspension of their license. California law provides an automatic procedure called an Administrative Per Se Suspension Hearing (APS) to be conducted by the DMV. The hearing will only occur if the DMV is notified within 10 days after the arrest that the driver demands the formal hearing.
Only with the help of an experienced Los Angeles DMV hearing defense lawyer can a driver have a genuine chance of keeping their license. While many lawyers in the Los Angeles area claim to be successful at DMV hearings, Attorney Hart J. Levin and his expert team have been defending and winning DMV hearings for years.
Los Angeles DMV Hearings Explained
Law enforcement agencies immediately report DUI arrests to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. That agency operates independently of the criminal courts and will automatically begin suspending your driver’s license unless you formally request a hearing.
If the request for a hearing is registered before the time expires, the DMV will “stay” the license suspension until it completes the hearing. The means that you can continue driving until the DMV hearing is concluded and the DMV has sent the hearing results by mail. Hearings usually begin within about 30-90 days but can sometimes take up to one year or more.
Because the DMV is an administrative agency, no judge will preside at the hearing. Instead, a single DMV hearing officer will gather the evidence and decide whether to suspend the driver’s privilege to drive. The hearing officer is not a lawyer, but they receive training in identifying and assessing whether the evidence is sufficient to warrant suspending a driver’s license.
The hearing officer is far more likely to consider well-reasoned legal arguments in the driver’s favor when a skilled and knowledgeable DMV hearing defense lawyer at the DMV hearing represents a driver. Although not taking place in court, California and constitutional law still apply.
The Burden of Proof at a DMV Hearing: The burden of proof in a criminal court case requires the prosecution to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In DUI DMV proceedings, the DMV must only find that the driver drove under the influence based on a “preponderance of the evidence,” meaning that it is at least 51% likely that the driver was impaired. This is a very low standard of proof which means that the DMV tries to suspend in virtually every single case. The evidence must only be strong enough to convince a reasonable person that the driver was probably guilty. This can be established if the DMV believes the driver was 51% likely to be impaired while driving. As low as that standard of proof may seem, any violation of legal protocols by the police officer during the DUI traffic stop, arrest procedure, or breathalyzer process can be grounds to exclude the evidence from consideration. If procedural errors bar the police’s evidence from being used, the driver should prevail at the DMV hearing.
Why Hire a Los Angeles DMV Hearing Defense Lawyer?
Without the help of an experienced DMV hearing defense lawyer, the hearing officer might consider illegally obtained police evidence against the driver.
The lawyers at The Law Offices of Hart J. Levin have engaged in decades of legal research and analyzed thousands of California DUI police reports. Each case presents unique fact patterns. These highly skilled defense attorneys specialize in identifying facts in each case that will defeat the State’s attempt to suspend a driver’s license or send them to prison.
Winning a DUI criminal case or an Administrative Per Se license hearing at the DMV often hinges on a single mistake made by an officer during the DUI investigation and arrest. Every Los Angeles County driver should ensure they have the most experienced DMV hearing lawyer to analyze the facts and circumstances of their case. Getting the best DMV defense lawyer can make the difference between keeping your driving privileges and having your entire life disrupted by losing your license.
Witness Subpoenas: The DMV hearing procedures permit the driver and their attorney to subpoena witnesses and to cross-examine the police officer about the details of the investigation, the arrest, and the chemical test procedures followed in each case. But the DMV does not typically subpoena the police officer.
If the properly-served police officer fails to appear for the hearing without good cause, the hearing officer may agree to dismiss the DMV APS hearing and not issue a suspension.
How a DMV Hearing Defense Lawyer Can Help You
When the DMV conducts an Administrative Per Se Hearing in a DUI case, your lawyer’s expertise in California DUI law is paramount. They must know what evidence to challenge to maximize each client’s likelihood of winning the hearing.
– Did the officer have legal grounds to conduct the traffic stop?
– What happened when the officer and the driver interacted to make the officer believe the driver was under the influence? Does the body cam or dash cam confirm the officer’s claims?
– If the driver performed Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs), were they appropriately administered by the officer? (They are scientific experiments requiring precise procedural protocols.)
– Does the driver have medical or physical conditions that interfered with the SFSTs?
– Were the lighting, weather, and surface conditions appropriate for the SFSTs?
– Did the officer give the driver the required legal warnings at the arrest and before the chemical test at the police station?
– Did the officer document the 15 minutes of continual observation before the breathalyzer? (Did the driver burp, smoke, eat, or vomit?)
– Was the driver’s breath deep lung air?
The techniques developed over decades of DUI legal defense practice grew from a combination of law and science. DUI defense lawyers understand how the human body metabolizes alcohol, how to administer the SFSTs if the police want to use the results, and how to certify and calibrate the breathalyzer equipment before the machine’s readings are admissible into evidence.
.Choosing the Right DMV Hearing Defense Lawyer in Los Angeles County
Defending DUI and DUI-related DMV administrative license suspension hearings requires specialized legal experience for which there is no substitute. Even regular criminal defense lawyers are less equipped to defend a DMV administrative license suspension case than a lawyer who works on DUI cases every day.
In Los Angeles county, Attorney Levin and his associates are recognized as the highest rated DUI and DMV hearing defense lawyers. If you want your DUI and DMV hearing case handled with the utmost legal skill and professionalism, contact The Law Offices of Hart J. Levin. You and your family deserve the best.