DMV Hearings

It is critical that you hire a Santa Barbara DMV Hearing Lawyer within 10 days of the date of your arrest so that he may contact the DMV on your behalf and request a DMV hearing (also known as an “administrative per se” hearing”). If you or your DMV hearing attorney fail to contact the DMV within 10 days of the date of your arrest, then your driver’s license will be automatically suspended and you will forfeit your right to a DMV hearing.

Once your Santa Barbara DMV lawyer has requested a DMV hearing, he will receive what is known as “discovery” from the California Department of Vehicles. Discovery encompasses any and all evidence that may be used against you, including the police report and any chemical tests result (blood, breath, or urine). Your attorney will review the discovery, discuss the facts with you and then research and prepare any defenses that you may have.

Santa Barbara DMV Hearings are conducted by a California DMV Hearing Officer at the DMV Driver’s Safety Division in Oxnard, California. While you may assist in the preparation for this hearing, it is usually not necessary that you accompany your attorney at the DMV hearing.

The DMV hearing is limited to the following issues, only:

  1. Did the officer have reasonable cause to believe licensee was driving in violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23152 or relate sections?
  2. Was the licensee placed under arrest lawfully?
  3. Was the licensee driving with .08% blood alcohol content or higher?

If the driver refused a chemical test (breath, blood, or urine), then the following two issues would also be evaluated and determined:

  1. Did the officer follow all statutory requirements in advising the licensee regarding the consequence of refusing a chemical test?
  2. Did the licensee refuse to submit or complete a chemical test?

If your attorney is successful at the DMV hearing, then your driving privilege would not be suspended. On the other hand, if your attorney is not successful, then you would lose your driver’s license pursuant to the following:

DMV Penalties for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs (CVC §§133522315223612)
First offense0.08 or greater6-month suspension. CVC §13352(a)(1)
Refusal to submit to testing1-year suspension. CVC§23612(a)(1)(D)
Second offense within 10 years0.08 or greater2-year suspension. CVC §13352(a)(3), (6) (effective July 1, 2010)
Refusal to submit to testing2-year revocation. CVC§23612(a)(1)(D)
Third offense within 10 years0.08 or greater3-year revocation. CVC §13352(a)(5), (7) (effective July 1, 2010)
Refusal to submit to testing3-year revocation. CVC §23612(a)(1)(D)
Fourth offense within 10 years or second offense following prior DUI felony0.08 or greater4-year revocation. CVC §13352(a)(9)
Refusal to submit to testing4-year revocation. CVC§23612(a)(1)(D)

***It should be noted that you may be eligible for a restricted driving license after serving a portion of your driver’s license suspension. For example, after a first-time Santa Barbara DUI conviction, one is usually eligible for a restricted license, allowing travel to and from work, after serving only 30 days of outright suspension. The restricted license is predicated on enrollment in the applicable DUI class and submitting proof of vehicle insurance (SR 22).

DUI and Auto Insurance

If you are arrested for DUI there is no mechanism that automatically notifies your car insurance company. There are only two ways in which your vehicle insurance company will learn of your DUI. The first instance is when your auto policy is up for renewal or when you apply for a new policy. In either circumstance, your car insurance company will obtain a DMV printout, which will display any and all convictions for the past 10 years.

The second way that your auto insurance company could learn of your DUI is if you have to apply for what is known as an SR-22. An SR22 signifies proof of insurance and is required after your license has been suspended for a DUI conviction and must be obtained before the DMV will reinstate your driver’s license. Since only your insurance company can issue an SR22, your insurance would certainly learn of your DUI conviction prior to the reinstatement of your driver’s license.

While California insurance companies cannot raise your auto insurance premium in the middle of a term, they may do so upon renewal or application for new coverage. If you have a DUI conviction at the time of application for renewal or new coverage, it is highly likely that your insurance premiums will rise; however, your insurance rate is ultimately based upon the combination of a number of factors.