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Napa County Driver's License Reinstatement Lawyer

Napa County Driver's License Reinstatement Attorney

Keeping your Driver's License After a DUI Arrest in Napa County

When you are arrested for DUI in Napa, there are several legal consequences. In addition to fines, penalties, and possibly jail time, the California DMV automatically suspends your driver's license. For many people, the loss of their driving privileges means the inability to drive to and from work or school, take their kids to daycare, and perform other essential tasks. In the case of commercial drivers, it can also cost them their livelihood.

For out-of-state residents charged with DUI in Napa County, the process is slightly different. If you are a tourist on a business or pleasure trip to wine country, the state DMV suspends your driving privileges within California, then sends your DUI arrest information to the DMV in your home state. Depending on the state you live in, your DMV may take further action to suspend or revoke your driver's license.

Fortunately, there are ways to keep your driver's license after a drunk driving arrest in California. This is a complex and nuanced area of the law, however, and very few attorneys get into it. If you want to succeed in challenging your suspension or, at the very least, obtain a restricted driving permit, you need a DUI defense lawyer with in-depth experience with administrative DMV hearings.

The DMV Administrative Hearing Process

Following a DUI arrest, your California driver's license (if you have one) is confiscated and you are served with a "notice of suspension" giving you 30 days of temporary driving privileges before the automatic suspension takes effect. If it is a first-time DUI, the administrative suspension period is usually four months. For multiple DUI offenses, the suspension or revocation period can be up to three years. If you refuse the mandatory chemical test after your arrest, your license is suspended for a minimum of one year. The only way to prevent the automatic suspension from going into effect is to request an administrative hearing from the DMV. You must act quickly, however, because you have only 10 days from the date of your drunk driving arrest to request a hearing. Once the 10-day window is passed, there is usually no further opportunity to prevent the suspension from occurring.

It is almost always in your best interests to request a DMV hearing, because, at the very least, you can delay the suspension for several weeks or even months while you await your hearing date. This buys you much needed time, and in some cases, you may be able to favorably resolve your criminal case while your hearing is pending.

To win your DMV hearing, you must have an effective legal defense to present to the hearing officer. It is important to understand that the officer is not a judge, and he/she is not there to decide your guilt or innocence regarding the DUI charge. What the officer wants to know is whether or not there were sufficient legal grounds to lawfully arrest you for drunk driving in the first place. If you can show that there was an insufficient legal basis to detain and arrest you for DUI, or that you may have not been driving with a .08 percent or higher alcohol content, the hearing officer may "set aside" the suspension.

Some potential defenses for your administrative DMV hearing include:

  • You were not driving;
  • Lack of probable cause to pull you over for DUI;
  • You were not lawfully arrested;
  • Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was below the "per se" limit of .08 (or .01 if you were under 21 or on probation for a prior DUI).

Speak with a Skilled Napa County Driver's License Reinstatement Attorney

Since 1985, attorney Paul Burglin has successfully represented clients from Napa and elsewhere (including out of state tourists) in DMV administrative hearings. Attorney Burglin has filed numerous writs before the California DMV for improper license suspension or revocation and unlawful denial of a restricted license, and he has obtained reinstatements in many of these cases. Paul Burglin is one of only five lawyers in the state of California who is Board-Certified by the National College of DUI Defense, as approved by the American Bar Association, and his in-depth knowledge and successful track record make him the "go to" attorney for DMV hearing officers when one of their family members or close friends has had their license suspended after a DUI arrest.

If you have been arrested for drunk driving in Napa and are serious about avoiding a driver's license suspension, contact us at 707-320-4007 now for a discreet and confidential consultation with attorney Paul Burglin. He serves clients throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Napa County, including Napa, American Canyon, St. Helena, Calistoga, Yountville, Rutherford, Pope Valley, Deer Park, Oakville, Angwin and surrounding Napa Valley communities.

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