Orange County DMV Hearing
For general information or to make an appointment for your Administrative License Suspension (ALS) hearing in Orange County, visit the DMV's Driver Safety Office (DSO) at 16735 Von Karman, Suite 110, Irvine, or call (949) 440-4416.
Remember that your Orange County DUI lawyer only has ten (10) calendar days from the date of your Notice of Suspension to demand a DMV hearing. WARNING! If a hearing is not demanded within the allotted amount of time, you will lose your right to a hearing and any possibility of having your license suspension thrown out. Your suspension will begin immediately following the expiration of your 30-day temporary license. If you have not retained an Orange County DUI attorney within those ten (10) days, you should contact the DSO yourself, but be sure to record the date, time, and name of the clerk with whom you spoke. Do not discuss the events of the arrest or the reasons why you are demanding the hearing.
It is possible that even if you demand a hearing, it will not be scheduled within thirty (30) days, which means that your temporary license will expire before the hearing. In this case, your DUI lawyer should insist on an extension of your temporary license (a
stay) until the hearing has taken place and a decision is rendered.
Retaining counsel for an ALS hearing is strongly recommended for the following reasons:
- ALS Hearings are more technical than criminal court.
- Suspensions are often reversed due to procedural and bureaucratic errors.
- There is no judge or jury.
- Hearing officers are employees of the DMV and are not legally trained.
- Public Defenders are not available.
If your DUI attorney decides that you should attend your Orange County DMV Administrative License Suspension Hearing, you can expect the hearing officer to act as prosecutor and judge. Evidence you produce may be objected to and ruled on by the hearing officer. Typical documents offered by the hearing officer, often admissible though hearsay, include: lab reports, the arresting officer's sworn affidavit, and police reports. Both sides may offer their own witnesses. WARNING! The hearing officer can call you as a witness: because it is not a criminal proceeding, you cannot exercise your Fifth Amendment right and you will be forced to testify against yourself. This is another reason why it is important to have legal representation.
The hearing officer will not render a decision at the hearing; you will be notified by mail. If the suspension is upheld, an appeal can either be filed with the DMV in Sacramento or by filing a writ with the Orange County courts.
Remember that your DMV hearing and criminal court case are two separate proceedings: the outcome of your hearing, whether positive or negative, will not have an impact on your criminal case.