Being arrested for a DUI for the first time can be scary, intimidating, and feel hopeless. Fortunately, with our attorney fighting for you, at your side, even representing you in court and at the DMV, the process opens up to allow you to see light at the end of the tunnel. We will help you through this process, defend you in court and at the DMV, keep you driving, and work to have charges dismissed and or reduced.
First, we will review whether you can driver right now, by far the most frequent question that we are asked by our clients is whether they can driver right now. We strive to keep you in the light, to know where you stand, your rights, and privileges.
California Department of Motor Vehicles, the DMV, is suspending you license, by way of the pink paper the police gave you. Usually, the answer is, “Yes, you can drive, but this privilege will be taken away very soon if you do not take action.”
The full-size pink paper that should have been received from police that states, “temporary driver license” within a box outlined about a third down the page, is a 30-day temporary license that you must carry with you when you are driving. Thus, you may continue to drive as before until this expires.
This is qualified by “drive as before” because the temporary license does not grant a free-for-all driving privilege, but nor does it add restrictions other than that it is a temporary license. Generally, you are subject to the same terms, limitations, class(es), and restrictions that existed for you before the alleged DUI. Furthermore, a temporary license does not create a license if one did not previously exist or if a license was suspended for another reason.
On a side note, the police and or the DMV usually catch these unlicensed driver or suspended license or suspended privilege issues and do not issue a temporary license with a DUI pending, but not always. It is not unusual for someone to have a suspended license and then be stopped for a traffic violation that results in a criminal case for DUI and driving on a suspended license. However, sometimes the police do not catch the license suspension and may issue a 30-day temporary license in error at the time of arrest for the DUI. If this happens, usually the DMV will review the driving record, as will the prosecutor, and see the suspended license, suspended driving privilege status. At the DMV, this can result in another year suspension, even without the matter being heard in court. In court, this can result in an additional criminal charge, even with mandatory jail time, for driving on a suspended license, depending upon prior convictions of driving on a suspended license or a prior DUI.
Back to the DMV and your temporary license. It is critical to hire an attorney before 10 days after the alleged DUI. Once we are representing you on the misdemeanor DUI criminal case and DMV Administrative Per Se law matter, we will contact the DMV to get you another temporary license that will be valid for several months. It will be a full-size white paper from the DMV that states “temporary license” at the top of the page, with the valid dates just below the middle of the page.
We will also contact the DMV and demand an APS Hearing. APS stands for Administrative Per Se law that controls how the DMV may suspended a driver’s license if the DMV proves to itself that a driver had blood alcohol .08% or greater (in abbreviated simple terms). Yes, that sounds absurd that the DMV literally proves to itself what decision they will make. Administrative law simply does not have the checks and balances that this great nation was founded upon. We think the Founding Fathers are rolling over in their graves at the excessive liberties that the government takes against its People. Nevertheless, the Legislature that we have all voted for, and the Supreme Court of California, have continually supported and upheld outrageous DMV APS actions against drivers’ licenses. This is why it is so important to act without delay before the DMV imposes a full suspension against your California Drivers License. Hiring an attorney without delay is critical to keep your driving privileges.
Once we demand your right to be heard regarding your driver’s license, the DMV will provide your attorney with evidence that they plan to submit to themselves to use against you. Technically, the police provide the evidence. But you have a right to fight this evidence. That is what your attorney is for, to assert your rights, object to evidentiary violations, and defend you at the DMV. Usually, your attorney attends the DMV without you because the DMV hearing officer can question you more liberally at the administrative hearing than if the hearing was in court. Court must follow the stricter rules of evidence. The DMV does not, in many instances. Thus, we usually recommend a licensee to not attend. Our attorneys attend for you, so that you do not need to attend the APS Hearing. Your attorney will represent your rights and defend you at the hearing.
Another issue we are frequently questioned about is auto insurance. It is common for someone accused of a DUI to contact an insurance company separate from their current insurance, that specializes in SR22s to get a quote about an SR22. An SR22 is a form that an insurance agent electronically files with the DMV. You cannot do this yourself. Depending on how a DUI resolves, an SR22 may need to be on file with the DMV to obtain a restricted license in the future. Even though you may not be required to have the SR22 right now, many people choose to contact an insurance company to secure a low insurance rate before DUI activity shows up on their driving record. If a low insurance rate is important to you, time may be of the essence. If you have any further questions about insurance, please contact us to recommend some insurance companies that have earned good reputations with our prior clients.
A very important issue with a DUI is an auto accident that happened with the alleged DUI. Even though your current auto insurance policy should cover that, it is a separate issue from the above SR22 discussion. Regardless, you must discuss any accident issues further with your attorney. Even though this is insurance law or civil law, your criminal defense attorney can guide your through major issues. We can give direction on many concerns related to your case and the auto accident. Generally, it is in your best interests to have your insurance pay for damages, considering potential criminal restitution issues, but this is your choice. Remember, when a DUI is alleged, you are not convicted of a DUI, so you should not tell your insurance company that you were a DUI. Again, be sure to hire an attorney immediately and not discuss this further until you have discussed the matter with your attorney. Do not talk to anyone about the accident, unless so instructed by your attorney.
The DMV APS matter is separate from the criminal DUI matter. Our attorneys handle both matters for you. There are different issues, but many of the same issues. You should be aware that the purpose of APS law, validated by the California Supreme Court, is to take your license away sooner than the courts. Knowing this alone makes is very critical to hire a DUI defense attorney to make sure you can keep driving while your case is pending, and to minimize any DMV and court consequences. Our goal is to make sure you can continue to work and support yourself and your family by being able to drive to work and school with as little or no interruption to your driver’s license.
We know how the courts work and how the DMV works. So, when the prosecutor files your case late, as if very common for DUI cases to be filed late, we juggle DMV action and the criminal case to maximize your ability to drive.
Another important concern is that the first court hearing for a DUI, the arraignment, is often changed without proper notice. You need an attorney, you need us, to continually check with the court to see when and if your case is filed to avoid risk of a warrant from an unknown missed court date. We protect you from a warrant, from fugitive status. Be as diligent as possible, and you still may miss court because of prosecutorial abuse of power. Nether the prosecutor or court is concerned with a warrant being issued even if you were not properly notified of the first court hearing. The prosecutor has up to a year to file the case. So, your court date may not be on the date or time when the police citation or release from custody paper says it will be. We stay on top of your case filing status in court to protect you from a warrant.
And, these are just a couple of the initial concerns with a DUI. Do not hesitate to call us at 310-817-5899 to learn more about us protecting your rights, keeping your drivers license, and defending you in court.
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