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How Does the DMV Play into a DUI Case?

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding | Oct 06, 2022

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) hearings and getting arrested for driving under the influence under Vehicle Code 23152 VC are closely related because they have the authority to suspend someone's driver's license.

DMV Hearing in Los Angeles for DUI Case

Once you are arrested for DUI and have your license taken, you are forced to deal with the DMV, which holds much power regarding driver's license suspensions. They are the enforcement agency of the courts as it relates to a person's license. 

Whenever you're arrested for DUI, two things are triggered.  One, your driver’s license is typically going to be taken away from you by the police. 

It will be sent to the DMV, and they will are alerted that you were arrested for a DUI.  That now triggers the DMV to set in motion a process of potentially suspending your driver's license. 

You'll be given a pink slip, a temporary driver's license, and in big letters, it says you must call the DMV within ten days or lose your license. 

Part of obtaining a California driver's license is to subject yourself to being tested by law enforcement if they have reason to believe that you are driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, prescription medication, or some other substance affecting your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.  This is known as the “implied consent law.”

There are different ways you can get convicted of DUI.  The most common is blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level over the legal limit, which is listed under California Vehicle Code 23152 VC:

  • 08% or higher if you are 21 years of age or older;
  • 04% or higher If you possess a commercial driver's license (CDL);
  • 04% or higher If you are on DUI probation;
  • 01% or higher If you are under 21 years old.

Should You Retain a DUI Attorney?

You should get your attorney to deal with the DMV because they play into a DUI in the sense that if you were driving under the influence of alcohol, you were a .08 or greater, you were lawfully stopped, then you're going to lose your driver's license.

DUI Attorney in Los Angeles

It's just a matter of how long you're going to lose it, and that's going to be dependent upon which number of DUI you're being hit with.  Is it your first, second, third, or fourth DUI?

You'll lose your driver's license for 30 days if it's your first.  After that, you'll be able to get it back on a restrictive basis for approximately five to six months. The basic penalties for driving under the influence are:

  • Driver's license suspension,
  • Fines and court fees,
  • County jail time,
  • Probation,
  • DUI school,
  • interlock ignition device.

So, you want to get an attorney right away.  Let the attorney call the DMV for you and set up a hearing. That's pretty easy to do, especially if your attorney is on it, because an attorney hotline can be used to set up the DMV hearing.

Also, what we do is we will fax a letter confirming we set the hearing within ten days, so you don't automatically lose your driver's license, and we can deal with it at the hearing level.

That's one of the big things that happens in a DUI case.  That is, your license is taken.  It's subject to being suspended.  It's sent to the Department of Motor Vehicles, and obviously, you want to get your attorney on that right away.

What is the DUI Criminal Court Process?

The second thing that happens, which has nothing to do with the DMV, is that you will be sent to criminal court.  Some people don't realize that a DUI is a criminal case. 

A first offense will be a misdemeanor if you don't hurt somebody.  Or if it's your fourth offense, it's going to be a felony, and now, not only are you going to be looking at problems with the DMV, you're going to be looking at issues with your criminal record, potentially jail time and other punishments that can come along if you're put on probation in a DUI case.

DUI Criminal Court Process in California

Usually, the court will not deal with your driver's license in a DUI situation as it relates to the DMV.  They'll let the DMV deal with it, but they can do things that cause you to lose your driver's license. 

For example, if you get convicted of a DUI in court, you'll lose your driver's license because the court computer system is linked to the DMV, and they'll let the DMV know that you picked up a case.  Then you will face suspension because of what happened in court.

As noted, you face a maximum of six months in jail on a first-offense misdemeanor case without any injury.  You're facing a year in jail on a second misdemeanor DUI case with no injury.  If you get your second offense while on probation for your first offense, you face up to three years in jail. 

If there's a severe injury (Vehicle Code 23153 VC)to someone in your case that involved an accident, you could face up to three years in prison.  If the serious injury is enough to be considered a great bodily injury, there's an additional three-year enhancement, so you'll face six years in prison. 

If somebody is killed, you'll be facing 15 to life, and the prosecutors, especially in Los Angeles County, will you with Penal Code 187 “Watson” murder.

Contact a DUI Defense Professional

So, the bottom line is this; if you or a loved one was arrested for a DUI and you need to deal with the Department of Motor Vehicles, you need to go to court, you need to protect your record, hire somebody like me:

  • who's been doing it for 30 years,
  • handled thousands of DUI cases to a successful resolution,
  • worked for the District Attorney's office,
  • worked for a superior judge, and
  • helped people like you since the early 1199s as a DUI defense attorney.

Pick up the phone now.  Make the call.  Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.  I stand at the ready to help you. The Hedding Law Firm offers a free case evaluation by phone or by filling out the contact form.

About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding

What Makes Ronald Hedding Uniquely Qualified To Represent You? I've been practicing criminal defense for almost 30 years and have handled thousands of cases, including all types of state and federal sex crime cases. All consultations are discreet and confidential.

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Hedding Law Firm is committed to answering your questions about DUI law issues in California and throughout the United States.

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