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Are the Penalties for a Loss at Both the DMV Hearing and Your Court Case Like Double Jeopardy?


Interviewer: What about the license consequences? What’s the point of having a DMV hearing if the court is just going to re-punish you in terms of your driver’s license loss?

Aaron: Well, that is a very good question, and most DUI lawyers would tell you that the DMV process is like double jeopardy. It’s like going through it twice. It’s not necessary because something is going to happen to you in court if you lose anyway, so why make the person who’s arrested, why make the lawyers go through this other process?

It’s costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars a year to have these hearings, and they’re repetitious. Everything should be able to be taken care of in court. The whole purpose of the DMV hearing – long ago, it was to get drivers off the road when their court cases were going on, when judges were not giving them any kind of consequences, if someone was out on bail on a case and they go and get another DUI. It was trying to keep these drivers off the road and penalize them if they didn’t get a penalty from the court.

Well, it’s very easy nowadays now that there are other means available to these courts to make sure that someone is not going out and drinking and driving while their case is going on. These are situations for repeat offenders and high blood alcohol levels that the courts deal with all the time. They put people on supervised OR, being supervised on their own recognizance, reporting in to a probation office while their case is going on. They can wear SCRAM bracelets, or put ignition interlock devices on their vehicles. They make them attend AA meetings.

There are so many different things that the courts can do that would appease the whole purpose behind a DMV hearing. And it’s just that the DMV is a big waste of resources. It’s costing taxpayers in every state, especially in California, many hundreds of millions of dollars a year because these hearings are going on for most DUIs. It’s ridiculous. Like I said, it’s a very good question, and I could go on and on about that one all day.

Is the DMV Hearing Any Benefit To the Defense of the Court Case?

Interviewer: Is there any benefit to these DMV hearings? Does it give you a glimpse at how hard the case will be to win? Or does it let you cross examine the officer?

Aaron: When I’m fighting a DUI case, sometimes I will get to evaluate a case before it goes to a trial or make a decision whether or not to go to a trial. I can evaluate it better if I have a police officer at DMV who is testifying.

I can see how the police officer comes across. I can cross examine them and see if they really did see what they’re claiming they did, or find out what they’re going to add in. It can be helpful to me and it can be helpful to the client.

That’s how we can use it to our advantage as defense attorneys. But again, the bottom line is they are a waste of taxpayer money. I know I’m on my soapbox about this, but you got me started.

By Aaron Bortel

Aaron Bortel

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