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DMV Hearings


Driving a motor vehicle in California is regulated under the California Vehicle Code. The authority to issue, suspend or revoke drivers licenses is vested in the Department of Motor Vehicles. The courts have no independent authority to regulate licenses, but may act where authority is provided under the Vehicle Code.

The Department of Motor Vehicles is authorized to hold hearings and suspend licenses for driving under the influence. In the vast majority of driving under the influence cases, the accused will face both criminal and Department of Motor Vehicle proceedings. Ordinarily, it is incumbent on the accused to timely request a hearing after arrest. Failure to timely request a hearing will result in a loss of the license for the proscribed period. Failure to request a hearing within 10 days of arrest may result in a loss of the license. In no event may a hearing be requested after 30 days of arrest.

The Department of Motor Vehicles hearing is held before a Department of Motor Vehicles employee or "hearing officer." Strict rules of evidence are not followed at the hearing, by many rules do apply. There is a process prior to hearing to discover the evidence the Department has in its possession. Hearings are ordinarily conducted by telephone. As with a court case, witnesses may be subpenaed to testify.

Defenses exist to DUI related suspension proceedings. You must be proved to have driven under the influence or improperly refused a BAC test, and were lawfully arrested. You have no public record of a DUI related suspension until and unless you lose the hearing.

NOTICE: This general information sheet is not intended to guide you in the defenses of your particular case or provide legal advice as to your particular case. Each case is different. For legal advice on the particulars of your case, you should consult an attorney. To speak to an experienced attorney please contact Roberts & Elliott, LLP at (408) 275-9800
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