DMV Hearings

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    When you are arrested and charged for a DUI, there will be independent proceedings with both a criminal court and the Department of Motor Vehicles. DMV hearings are administrative proceedings regarding your driving privileges. This means that hearings will focus only on the suspension or revocation of your license and the circumstances surrounding your DUI arrest, not on whether or not you are guilty of committing a criminal offense.

    It is not required that you request a DMV hearing, but it can be a valuable opportunity to present your defense and reduce or eliminate any consequences and penalties to your driver’s license. If you do wish to request a hearing, it must be done within 10 days of your arrest. With more than 18 years in practice, the Law Office of James Dunn has experience with numerous DMV hearings and can handle them in addition to any criminal DUI proceedings you may face.


    The purpose of the DMV hearing will be to determine whether or not the initial license suspension you received following your DUI arrest will be sustained. The following issues will be discussed.

    If you took a chemical test, including blood, breath or urine.

    • Did the law enforcement officer have reasonable cause to believe you were driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs?
    • Were you driving with a BAC of .08% or higher (or .01% for under 21 DUI)?
    • Were you placed under lawful arrest?

    If you refused or failed to complete a chemical test.

    • Did the law enforcement office have reasonable cause to believe you were driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs?
    • Were you placed under lawful arrest?
    • Were you told that if you refused to submit to or failed to complete a chemical test your driving privilege would be suspended for one year or revoked for two or three years?
    • Did you refuse to submit to or fail to complete a chemical test after requested to do so by a law enforcement officer?

    These will be the only elements and issues of your DUI case that will be discussed during the DMV hearing. While the criminal court proceedings are conducted independently of the DMV hearing, the results of your criminal may have an impact on your license suspension in certain cases. If you were found not guilty of the DUI charge in criminal court, the DMV can reverse your license suspension if it is determined that the court decision equals an acquittal. If your court case results in a dismissal of the charges, you may be entitled to a new hearing within one year of the arrest date. Lastly, if your DUI was reduced to a charge such as reckless driving, it will have no bearing on the decision reached during your DMV hearing.


    The DMV hearing will give you an opportunity to present any evidence, witness testimony and to testify on your own behalf. Having an attorney during your DMV hearing can help clarify the actions you need to take, including requesting discovery, or the DMV’s evidence regarding your case, handling subpoenas, and focusing on the intricacies and evidence to be used in your defense. In order to have your license fully reinstated, you need to present a strong, aggressive and intelligently compiled defense. The evidence you may consist of any relevant documents, medical records, accident report, sworn testimony under oath and others.

    If you cannot attend your hearing, you must contact the DMV prior to the hearing, ten days within the time you know that you need an extension. If it is determined that you are not responsible for causing the delay, the DMV may grant you the continuance. You will be notified of the final decision in writing, and the amount of time it takes the DMV to reach this decision will depend on the circumstances addressed during the course of your hearing. If you disagree with the decision, you may request a department review as well as an appeal to the superior court.


    James Dunn, the firm’s founding attorney, has had ample experience in fighting for license suspension dismissals and has accumulated many successful DMV hearing resolutions. One of the most distinguishing decisions Mr. Dunn was able to reach involved the landmark case, Brenner v. DMV. During the hearing, Mr. Dunn was able to use his legal skills and diligent work ethic to present strong evidence challenging the results of a chemical testing device used on his client. Thanks to Mr. Dunn, his client was able to keep his license, and the California Supreme Court upheld his decision as the law of the land, allowing all California residents charged with a DUI to challenge testing inaccuracies that would otherwise lead to unfair decisions.


    DUIs pose many consequences, but license suspensions tend to be the most impacting consequences on the lives of those charged with a DUI. Aside from the limitations on your mobility and freedom, you may also face extreme difficulties finding transportation to and from work. As DMV hearings are so essential to your future well-being, you need the strongest representation possible. Mr. Dunn has consistently proven that he has the experience and sheer dedication to fight against unfair license suspensions, and has handling DMV proceedings all the way to the California Supreme Court.

    With no aversion to defending clients aggressively and with the knowledge and skills to present strong evidence, the Law Office of James Dunn is the right choice for representation during your DMV hearing and in any other matters related to your DUI charge. If you would like to discuss your DMV hearing, contact the firm today.


    Half the Cost, Twice the Work

    Jim Dunn fixed my previous lawyers blunders, literally cost half as much, didn’t charge me until my case was settled. He got me the best possible outcome after miscommunications with the courts, mostly my previous lawyer was to blame. There were countless little things that Jim did that won’t get named here, but he visited me in Jail on a Sunday evening, he fixed the miswriting of the court scribe, a last minute catch on Jim’s part, my case was first, his pay was second. I like him, he is personable, he called to check on me, I could call him and actually reach him, not go through a secretary and hope to be reached in the same day like my last lawyer. I would definitely hire him again and even form a partnership to become the family lawyer. If you have a run in with with law, you want Jim Dunn on your side, he only tells you the truth, and genuinely wants to help you!

    Reviewer: Charlie M. — September 4, 2015 – San Mateo, CA