DUI Arrest DMV Administrative Hearings vs Criminal Court Trials


I am scheduled to appear in court on the DUI charge. Is this similar to a DMV hearing?

No. The DMV hearing is an administrative proceeding regarding the suspension or revocation of your driving privilege only.

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Why does DMV offer the right to a hearing if I am already scheduled to appear in court for the DUI charge?

Both our State and Federal Constitutions provide that no person shall be deprived of property without due process of law. Due process of law entitles you to a notice of the action DMV intends to take against your driving privilege and an opportunity to be heard (hearing).

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How is the DMV hearing different from the court trial for DUI?

The DMV hearing is an administrative proceeding regarding your driving privilege and the circumstances surrounding the arrest, not whether you are innocent or guilty of a criminal act. Only the following issues will be discussed:

If you took a blood or breath or (if applicable) a urine test:

  • Did the peace officer have reasonable cause to believe you were driving a motor vehicle in violation of Vehicle Code Section 23140 , 23152 , or 23153 ?
  • Were you placed under lawful arrest?
  • Were you driving a motor vehicle when you had 0.08% or more by weight of alcohol in your blood?

If you refused or failed to complete a blood, breath test, or (if applicable) a urine test:

  • Did the peace officer have reasonable cause to believe you were driving a motor vehicle in violation of Vehicle Code Section 23140 , 23152 , or, 23153 ?
  • Were you placed under lawful arrest?
  • Were you told that if you refused to submit to or failed to complete a test of your blood, breath, or (when applicable) urine, your driving privilege would be suspended for one year or revoked for two or three years?
  • Did you refuse to submit to or failed to complete a blood or breath test, or (if applicable) a urine test after being requested to do so by a peace officer?
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Am I obligated to have a DMV hearing?

No. Your are not required to request a DMV hearing.

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Does the DMV hearing substitute for the court trial?

No. The DMV hearing and court trial are independent of each other. The DMV hearing deals with the circumstances surrounding a DUI arrest. The Court trial deals with whether you are innocent or guilty of a criminal act.

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The suspension of my driving privilege was sustained following my DMV hearing, but I was found not guilty of the DUI charge in criminal court. Do I get my license back?

When a driver has been acquitted of DUI charges in court, a suspension or revocation will be reversed if it is determined by the DMV that the court decision does, in fact, equal an acquittal.

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The suspension of my driving privilege was sustained following my DMV hearing, but the DUI charge was reduced in criminal court to reckless driving. Do I get my license back?

No. A reduction of a DUI charge to reckless driving in the criminal court is separated and/or independent from the administrative proceeding, and does not affect the driving privilege suspension.

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The suspension of my driving privilege was sustained following my DMV hearing, but the DUI charges were dismissed in the criminal court or the district attorney decided not to file a DUI charge against me. Do I get my license back?

Not necessarily. Current law may permit a driver a renewed right to a hearing within one year of the arrest date when a DUI charge is dismissed or not filed by a District Attorney due to lack of evidence, or filed, but later dismissed by the court because of insufficient evidence.

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I was convicted in court of the DUI charge, but the judge said I could get a restricted license. How do I obtain this restriction?

If you have a non-commercial driver license and you show proof of enrollment in a DUI treatment program, file proof of financial responsibility and pay (on or after January 1, 2003) a $125 reissue fee after a mandatory 30-day suspension, you may request a restricted license to drive to and from the DUI treatment program and/or to, from, and during work. The reissue fee remains at $100 if you were under age 21 and were suspended under the Zero Tolerance Law pursuant to Vehicle Code §§23136, 13353.1, 13388, 13392.

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How can I find a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Program as ordered by the court?

This link will take you to a DUI Program Directory of Service Providers.
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If you have a commercial driver license and you were not operating a commercial vehicle at the time of the offense and pay (on or after January 1, 2003) a $125 reissue fee after a mandatory 30-day suspension, you may request a restricted license to drive to, from, and during work. The reissue fee remains at $100 if you were under age 21 and were suspended under the Zero Tolerance Law pursuant to Vehicle Code §§23136, 13353.1, 13388, 13392.

Any driver with a second DUI offense within 10 years may submit proof of enrollment in a DUI treatment program, proof of financial responsibility and pay a $100.00 reissue fee one year after the effective date of the suspension to drive to and from an alcohol program and to, from, and during work.

Any driver with a third or subsequent DUI offense within 10 years is not entitled to apply for any type of restricted license.

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I had a DMV hearing and the hearing officer set aside the suspension and let me keep my license. Does this have any effect on what happens to the DUI charge in criminal court?

No. The DMV hearing officer can only set aside the administrative action against your driving privilege. This decision is separate and/or independent from any criminal charge, sanction, penalty, or decision.