Dealing with a Suspended License and DMV Hearing

A driver's license can be suspended for many different reasons. In some states, a person gets points for each traffic violation she has. Each state has different consequences for different point totals but all have license suspensions at a given number of points. The length of the license suspension varies from state to state, as does the remedy for reinstating the license.

Reasons for Suspending a Drivers License

Some states don't have points, but they suspend a license after one or more specific violations. Reckless driving is one of those violations which can result in immediate suspension. DUI license suspension is another one of the many DUI penalties. Some states allow suspension of a driver's license if the driver has not paid child support, or if the driver has a court judgment against her which she refuses to pay. Before a license is suspended, the Department of Motor Vehicles in the state where the license was issued will hold a hearing to allow the driver to offer any reasons why the suspension should not occur.

Reinstatement: DMV Hearing

At a DMV hearing DUI, a driver awaiting license suspension has the opportunity to explain to the court why his license should not be suspended, or why he deserves to have a provisional license due to the DUI hardship he might incur with a suspension. A person who cannot get to work or school without a car can make the argument that the hardship of not having a license will be too great for the offense with which he has been charged. All hearings are recorded and the driver and police officer will both be sworn under oath to tell the truth. The ticket violation details will be read into the record and the official violation will be noted.


The ticketing police officer will offer his testimony first and then the driver will have the opportunity to give his version of events as well as offer a reasonable explanation or excuse for the violation. It would be wise for the driver to hire an attorney to represent him. An attorney would know how to cross-examine the police officer and would know how best to present the reasonable excuse a driver might have to justify the traffic violation.

Defendants Evidence

Whether or not a driver has an attorney, the DMV will need to see evidence to support the driver's case. Some types of evidence to bring are as follows:

  • Photographs
  • Diagrams
  • Witnesses
  • Receipts
  • Hospital Records if excuse is a medical emergency
  • Policen Report if available

DUI and other Serious Offenses

In California, the standard for finding someone guilty of a DUI at a DMV hearing is "preponderance of the evidence" which essentially means that the evidence indicates it is more likely than not likely that someone was driving while under the influence. The preponderance of the evidence is the lowest of all standards to meet, which means it is fairly easy for the DMV to suspend a license for a DUI violation.

The DMV looks at the police report to determine the existence of evidence determining probability.

On the criminal side of a DUI or DWI, the court's standard for conviction is much higher. In order to criminally convict someone of a DWI/DUI, the evidence must offer proof beyond a reasonable doubt. This standard is the highest and the hardest for the court to prove.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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