There are many ways to appeal the actions of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). There are departmental reviews, writs of mandate / mandamus, and when necessary, there are appeals that can be argued - all the way to the Supreme Court.
However, deadlines are the master key to success or failure in preserving the opportunity to file all of the various mechanisms of appeal.
The administrative actions by the DMV include the initial suspension of your driver’s license as a result of a DUI arrest. This is not to be confused with the suspension that results from a conviction for DUI in criminal court. There are two separate suspensions that can result from the DUI arrest and the level of confusion as to how the two are handled together is ever-present.
The administrative suspension is based on two possibilities:
The driver was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) and failed to request a hearing within 10 calendar days from the date of the arrest. This triggers the administrative suspension automatically on Day 31.
The driver was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) and requested a hearing within the requisite 10 days. After the hearing, the DMV upheld the suspension of the license, through the Hearing Officer at the Driver Safety Office of the DMV, and triggered the administrative suspension to begin.
The conviction-suspension of the driver’s license is based on what it’s name suggests: a conviction based on the arrest for driving under the influence (DUI). This suspension can be served concurrent with the administrative suspension, but in some instances can replace or supersede the initial, administrative suspension.
There are times when the appeal in criminal court is necessary. However, due to the fact that the DMV answers primarily to the Civil Courts - not the Criminal Courts - it is necessary to file a writ of mandate/mandamus on the civil side of the Superior Court.
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