San Diego DUI defense attorneys explain that a San Diego DUI / DMV hearing for a possible license suspension is like a mini-DUI trial without a jury, but with much different San Diego DMV rules, San Diego DMV laws and San Diego DMV procedures. The San Diego DUI / DMV hearing is presided over by a Driver Safety Officer (DMV hearing officer) rather than a real judge, an employee of the DMV not trained in law who acts as both prosecutor and judge. As unfair as it is, she or he can legally object to your evidence, rule on her or his own objection, dually engage your San Diego DUI / DMV lawyer, and admit or not admit either party’s evidence.
The San Diego Driver Safety Officer offers evidence in the form of documents and/or witnesses. The Driver Safety Officer offers the San Diego drunk driving / DUI police report, DMV records, San Diego DUI alcohol reports and the important San Diego DUI officer’s sworn statement entitled a “DS 367.” With no Fifth Amendment right at the hearing, your San Diego DUI / DMV attorney usually will not want you to be present at the hearing since the Driver Safety Officer can call you as a witness and force you to testify against yourself if you ill-advisedly appear.
The San Diego DMV Driver Safety Officer’s decision will usually be mailed a few days or even weeks after the hearing. A San Diego DMV / DMV suspension can be set aside or sustained. If the San Diego DMV suspension is sustained, the decision can be appealed to the DMV in Sacramento and/or to the San Diego Superior court by filing a San Diego DMV petition for writ of mandamus.
A San Diego DUI lawyer’s defenses at an APS hearing are specialized and technical, more so than in criminal court. Frequent San Diego DUI / DMV proof problems – as well as legal, procedural and bureaucratic obstacles – are possible grounds for setting aside the suspension.
Because of the peculiar nature of San Diego DUI / DMV hearings and the absence of an independent San Diego DUI judge to offer some protection, you are strongly advised not to try to represent yourself. Because these are not San Diego DUI criminal proceedings, San Diego County public defenders are unavailable.
Your San Diego DUI / DMV attorney has just 10 CALENDAR DAYS after the DUI arrest to call the San Diego DMV Driver Safety Office to timely demand a hearing. You waive your right to a hearing after the 10 day deadline is up.
If your San Diego DUI / DMV attorney has not been retained within 10 days of the arrest, you should contact the local Driver’s Safety Office yourself, request a 5 day extension so you can get a San Diego DUI / DMV Attorney Specialist.
The San Diego DMV may not be able to schedule a hearing before your 30-day temporary license expires. Your San Diego DUI / DMV lawyer will request a Notice of Stay of the 30-day temporary license until a San Diego DMV hearing is provided and a San Diego DMV decision is actually rendered.
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San Diego California Criminal Defense Attorney Rick Mueller recently spoke at the California Attorneys For Criminal Justice annual DUI seminar.