Torrance Criminal Defense Attorney Explains DMV Hearings
By Matthew J. Ruff, 2012
Following a DUI arrest a person has 10 days to demand a formal hearing to challenge the basis for a drivers license suspension. The process first involves a written request under Vehicle Code section 13352. A paper trail is essential to create a record of the demand. Most Driver Safety field offices will allow a telephonic request however, without a written demand, a record can be hard to establish down the road that the right was exercised. Along with the hearing assertion, there should also be a request for discovery which includes all written reports, toxicology results, copies of the sworn officer's statement and any supplemental reports written by law enforcement pertaining to the case.
Perhaps the most important additional request should be that of a "stay" of the suspension and a temporary license which will allow the accused to continue to drive pending the action. A hearing should always be in person unless some other strategic reason gives the driver an advantage to be held telephonically. An in person hearing will require that any witnesses called by the DMV will have to drive to the hearing location and permit the attorneys to examine the demeanor of the witness, his body language and any signs of diminished credibility such as nervous behavior or someone reading from a report versus testifying from his own recollection.
The DMV hearing is completely separate from any criminal proceedings filed by the prosecutor for DUI.