Like most other states, if you get pulled over for DUI in California, you will have to deal with issues related to your driver's license. In most cases, you will receive a license suspension for any given period of time. When this happens, you will have the option of requesting an administrative hearing. Not all administrative hearings are the same, but having some general information about these hearings is usually a good idea.
First, these administrative hearings are held by the DMV, in front of a DMV Driver Safety Officer, and are different that court trials. The rules related to submitting evidence are more relaxed.
Next, it's important to be aware of the time frame you have in which to request an administrative hearing. If you don't make this request within the proper time frame, you will forfeit your right to a hearing. If your notice was mailed to you, you have 14 days to request the hearing. If you were personally served with notice, you get 10 days.
You should read and review all the documents that were sent to you by the DMV before your hearing. These documents will explain the issues involved in your case and the rights you have regarding the hearing process. Generally, you have the following rights:
- Be represented by an attorney or other representative (at your expense);
- Review the evidence and cross examine testimony of witnesses who have been called by the DMV;
- Testify on your own behalf;
- Subpoena witnesses and documents;
- Introduce evidence on your own behalf;
- Be heard by a fair and impartial decision-maker; and
- Allowed a Department Review and/or judicial appeal.
As noted above, one of your rights is to have the ability to review the DMV's evidence. In most cases, you must take steps in order to have access to this material. This means that you need to call to request (or submit a written request) to review the evidence at least 10 days prior to your hearing. You are not permitted to review any evidence if you have waived your right to a hearing.
In order to present evidence on your own behalf, you need to remember a few things. The evidence must be relevant to the case at hand. Evidence can include sworn documents, medical records, accident reports, photographs, etc. Further, you can bring any witnesses on the day of the hearing who you plan on having testify that day. All witnesses should be ready to answer questions by the hearing officer.
If something happens and you are unable to make your hearing date, you must notify the DMV prior to the hearing and within 10 working days of the time you know, or should have known, that you need to reschedule. If the DMV determines that you are not responsible for causing the delay, you will likely be granted a continuance.
Once the hearing is over, you will be notified in writing of the decision. There is no set time limit because each case is different. If you are unhappy with the decision, you may request a review of the findings. You must appeal within the proper time frame.
If you have been charged with DUI in Fresno or the surrounding areas, give my office a call. I can help you with your case and advise you on your best options.