In California, a person’s license will be suspended by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) when that person is arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). Note that the suspension goes into effect before the arrested suspect is actually proven guilty by the court.
10 Days to Contest a DUI
The law requires those who would like to contest the suspension of driving privileges to make a request for a DMV hearing within 10 days following the arrest. Because of the fact that driving privileges are on the line, only an experienced DUI defense attorney should be allowed to represent the suspect in the DMV hearing as well as the eventual criminal trial. If the hearing is not requested within 10 days following the accident, then the license is automatically suspended, and having privileges reinstated becomes decidedly more difficult.
Letting a DUI defense attorney handle the DMV hearing process as soon as possible will give the attorney time to prepare to present the suspect’s case at the hearing and will allow the attorney to schedule a DMV hearing around any criminal trial dates.
After a Conviction
Even if a person is convicted of a DUI, working with a skilled legal professional can improve the person’s chances of avoiding a harsh jail sentence. In fact, depending on the facts of the case and the person’s criminal history, his or her attorney may even be able to negotiate for a conviction that results in no jail time.
A skilled attorney may also be able to negotiate on the convicted person’s behalf for a restricted driver’s license so that the person’s entire life is not turned upside down by the inability to drive to certain places like work, school, court mandated appointments, etc. The restricted driver’s license, which looks and feels just like a regular driver’s license, is restricted in that it is only valid for traveling to and from the destinations decided by the court. If a court allows the issuance of a restricted license that states the holder may only travel to and from work, and the person is found traveling to or from a destination other than work, the person’s restricted license can be revoked and a full suspension of driving privileges reinstated. Even something as simple as pulling off a main route to grab a snack can result in the revocation of the restricted license if the destination is not one that was court approved.
Benefits of Counsel
One option that can be exercised by California drivers who are arrested and charged with a DUI is self representation, which is representing oneself in legal matters without assistance from an attorney. Although available, it is generally agreed that individuals suspected of any kind of criminal offense not attempt to handle their own defense. Criminal law can be a complex maze of rules and exceptions that, if not properly adhered to, can significantly hinder a person’s ability to present the best defense possible. This is true for both criminal trials as well as DMV hearings. It is always best to let an attorney speak on behalf of the suspect to ensure a proper and effective defense is presented.