If you are fighting your first DUI charge in California, and lose your Department of Motor Vehicles hearing, you can have your license suspended for four months, or if you refused a test, one year. This can cause incredible hassles and inconvenience to anyone who relies on their vehicle for employment or family.
The DMV hearing is thus crucial. However, the "hearing" that you have has some obstacles which you must overcome. FIrst of all, the prosecutor at the DMV hearing is . . . the hearing judge. Really. In addition, the hearing judge is not a lawyer or even a real judge, but rather an employee of the DMV. The hearing judge is evaluating your case while at the same time introducing all of the evidence against you. In addition, evidence presented at the DMV hearing is for the most part reports of the officers, without the officers present.
Do you bother to fight at the hearing? Of course. DMV hearings can be won. A lawyer can subpoena officers to appear at the hearing. A lawyer can object to all the reports as hearsay, and these objections can be granted, making the DMV judge reverse any suspension. If all else fails, the hearing gives you ample information for the criminal case to follow, and the weaknesses of the case for both sides.
The moral of the story? Have the DMV hearing, irregardless of what your feelings are about the success of such an action. The best thing that can happen is you win. The worse thing that can happen is you garner information to fight the DUI criminal charge. In other words, it's a win win.
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