If you have been arrested for DUI or driving under the influence in California you may have been asked to submit to a chemical test of your blood, breath or urine. Failure to take the chemical test or failing the test will result in a suspension of your driver’s license.
If your license was suspended you have a right to request a hearing and to challenge the license suspension, but there are specific challenges you must prove to ensure your license will not be suspended. Below we will discuss each one in detail.
How can I keep my license after a DMV suspension?
To keep your driver’s license after a DMV suspension you must win one of the following challenges in an administrative license hearing.
1. The police officer did not have reasonable cause to believe you were driving under the influence.
The officer does not have to have proof but only “reasonable belief” that you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This is generally indicated through an officer’s testimony that they observed bloodshot/watery eyes, odor of alcoholic beverage, unsteady gait, and/or slurred speech. The officer generally will also include other evidence of intoxication such as vomiting, drowsiness, poor balance or evidence from a PAS or preliminary alcohol screening device. Field sobriety tests can also be used to provide additional evidence that you were impaired.
Hiring a DUI lawyer will allow you to challenge the evidence presented by the officer.
2. The police officer did not have Probable Cause to Arrest you.
Unlike probable cause to stop you, probable cause to arrest you will require evidence that you were driving while intoxicated. DUI lawyers can review information about the DUI arrest and help determine if at the time of the California DUI arrest, the police had sufficient information to make a lawful arrest. Evidence needed may be more than simply blood shot eyes or alcoholic odor, the officer generally will need a failed PAS test or a failed field sobriety test.
What does California state law consider probable cause? Case law states that “the facts known to the arresting officer would lead a man of ordinary care and prudence to believe and conscientiously entertain an honest and strong suspicion that the person is guilty of a crime”.
For instance, if you were stopped but you passed the field sobriety test and you do not appear intoxicated, there is a high probability that you could prove that there was not probable cause to arrest you for DUI.
3. The officer did not have Probable Cause to Stop you.
Talk to your lawyer about whether or not your Vehicle Code Violations was actually caused by impairment from drinking alcohol. If not, you may be arrested for reckless driving or some other driving infraction but you may be able to set aside the license suspension by the DMV.
Other challenges to your DMV license suspension can include proving that the field sobriety tests was not performed according to state laws, the chemical test was unreliable and performed incorrectly or that an officer lacked the adequate training to operate the blood alcohol concentration machine. For instance, if the officer was not trained on the machine or he did not follow the procedures approved by the State, there may be questions about the validity of the test.