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Contacting the DMV After a DUI

I heard that I (or my California DUI Attorney) must call the DMV within 10 days of a California DUI arrest. Can you explain why?

Yes, you or your California DUI attorney must contact the DMV within 10 days of a DUI arrest in order to demand what's called an “Administrative Per Se” or APS hearing. The APS hearing is your chance to challenge and fight whether your California drivers license gets suspended.

If you fail to act within the 10 days:

If you fail to contact the DMV within the 10 days ofthe DUI arrest, then you forfeit the right to an APS administrative per se hearing. Your California drivers license will go into suspension 30 days from the date of the DUI arrest. (The pink form the police gave you—the temporary license—is good only for 30 days as of the date of the DUI arrest. After the 30 days, if you have forfeited your APS hearing, the suspension takes effect).

If you do act within the 10 days:

If you do contact the DMV within 10 days of the DUI arrest, then you preserve your right to the APS administrative per se hearing. In that case, your California drivers license remains valid until the outcome of the hearing is determined. The drivers license only goes into suspension if you ultimately lose your hearing. Even though the pink temporary license says “30 days,” the temporary license will extend until the administrative per se hearing takes place and a decision is reached (even if this process takes several months).

Generally, if you hire a California DUI defense attorney, he/she represents you at both the DUI court proceedings and the administrative per se hearing. If you hire the California DUI attorney within 10 days of being arrested, the DUI attorney should take responsibility for contacting the DMV and arranging the APS hearing on your behalf.

If you have not hired the California DUI attorney within 10 days of the arrest, then you must contact the DMV to request the administrative per se hearing. You can call the DMV, or fax in the request, or mail a certified letter. Whichever method you select, there are several key things to mention in the request:

∗You name and California drivers license number.

∗The date, time and place of the DUI arrest, and the police agency that made the arrest.

∗That you want a live APS hearing (rather than a phone-in hearing), and that you request copies of all “discovery” (police reports, lab reports and BAC results).

∗That you intend to hire a DUI attorney, and that you will have the attorney contact the DMV to schedule the hearing.

We recommend that you send the APS request letter by certified mail. Keep a copy of the letter and the certificate of mailing. That way, if the DMV later claims they never received the APS request, you have proof that it was made. If you choose to fax the request letter, be sure to keep your fax verification slip. And if you call the DMV, keep a record of who you speak with and the date.

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DUI cases are rarely hopeless. DUI convictions are almost never inevitable. Clients retain our California DUI defense attorneys for one reason: they want to fight the case. And win.

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The police arrested you for DUI. You gave a blood or a breath sample. The DUI officer confiscated you drivers license. The police released you with a notice to appear in court in a few weeks. Where do you go from here? Our lawyers are here to guide you step by step.