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As of this writing, the individual has ten days after service of the order within which to contact a local branch of the DTVIV's Office of Driver Safety and request a hearing.
Note: Previously, the licensee was given 30 days within which to request a hearing, but this was unilaterally shortened by the Department to ten days to decrease the number of requests and, thus, the growing caseload. See Vehicle Code § 13558(d). If the department cannot schedule a hearing within the 30 days and the applicant has made the request within ten days of notice of suspension, he will be granted a stay of the suspension. The stay of suspension in such a situation is not simply "departmental policy", but is required by law: Vehicle Code § 13558(e) mandate the extension.
The hearing will be conducted at a place designated by the department "as close as practicable to the place where the arrest occurred, unless the parties agree to a different location." [Veh C § 13558(b)] If the Driver Safety office nearest the arrest location is inconvenient to the client and counsel, a request for a transfer to a closer office can be made. The department will often grant such a request if they will not need the live testimony of the officer or other witness; conversely, of course, if counsel plans to subpoena the officer, witness fees will increase.
The issues at the administrative hearing are set forth in Veh C § 13558(c)(2) and 13557(b)(2):
If the hearing is for a refusal, the first two issues remain the same, and two others replace the third as per § 13557(b)(1):
It should be noted, that the issue of probable cause to arrest for drunk driving opens the door to cross-examination of the officer as to the entire range of symptoms observed: driving, appearance, field sobriety tests, statements, breath test, and the like.
Finally, the client who has received a 4-month admin per se suspension may wish to consider a procedure by which the suspension period can be reduced to 1 month, followed by issuance of a 5-month work-restricted license. This involves enrollment in a first offender DUI program, submission of an SR-22 (proof of insurance) and a $100 fee.
Return to License Suspensions
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