DMV hearing and a criminal case are both a part of DUI matters in California. Because, at first glance, the two processes appear similar, you might wonder why you would need to go through both. First, the hearing and the court case are not the same. They each concern two different things. The hearing is where the fate of your driver's license is determined, and the court case is where guilt or innocence is decided.

In this blog, we'll discuss the similarities and differences between the two proceedings.

Why Have Both an Administrative Hearing and a Criminal Case?

By law, before your property can be seized or your liberties restricted, you must be allowed to go through legal proceedings to protect your assets and rights. This is referred to as due process. Thus, both the administrative hearing and the criminal case safeguard your constitutional rights.

Are Both Proceedings Required?

One of the differences between the administrative hearing and the court case is that the former is optional while the latter is required.

After your arrest, the officer will take your driver's license card. Either they or the DMV will issue a notice of suspension or revocation, stating that you have 10 days to request a hearing. You do not have to schedule a hearing. However, failing to do so means that your driving privileges will be lost without you first trying to show that such action is not warranted. Therefore, it's best to go through the administrative process and seek to avoid suffering a sanction that can create a substantial hardship in your life.

As noted above, the court case is not optional. You will be scheduled for this proceeding, and you must show up when required. If you don't, a judge can issue a warrant for your arrest, and you could face criminal charges for failing to appear.

What Are My Rights at a DMV Hearing and a Court Case?

Your rights for the administrative and criminal processes are similar.

For both, you have the right to:

  • Have a lawyer represent you
  • Review and challenge evidence
  • Present your own evidence
  • Present witnesses
  • Testify on your behalf

It's important to exercise your rights to ensure that decisions made at either proceeding consider the full story and not just that of the officer or prosecutor.

What's the Purpose of the DMV Hearing and the Court Case?

The administrative hearing and court case serve two different purposes. The hearing considers the circumstances surrounding your arrest to determine whether your driver's license suspension should be upheld.

The court case also considers the facts of your situation; however, a judge or jury hears the evidence to determine whether you're guilty or innocent of driving under the influence.

What Are the Possible Outcomes of a DMV hearing and the Court Case?

Because the DMV hearing is concerned only with your driving privileges, the outcome affects whether or not you get to keep your driver's license.

In contrast, the result of your court case affects your freedom, future, and finances.

If you're found guilty, you could be:

  • Incarcerated
  • Fined
  • Placed on probation

You will also have a criminal record that shows up when an agency conducts a background check on you. Additionally, you will be subject to a driver's license suspension as part of the criminal penalties.

The processes involved in resolving your DUI matter and protecting your license can be complicated and overwhelming. Allow our attorney to help you through your case in Bakersfield. To schedule your free consultation with Koenig Law Office, call (661) 793-7222 or submit an online contact form.