Frequently Asked Questions About License Suspensions

What happens if I miss my court date?

If you miss your court date, you are out of luck. The case will proceed without your input and will move onto the next stage of litigation

What is a refusal?

A refusal is refusing to take a chemical test demanded by an officer at the time of a lawful arrest for a driving under the influence (DUI) violation. This refusal carries the penalty of a one-year license suspension and time in prison, should the arrest be deemed lawful. Despite the intuitive (and usually correct) thought that you cannot be forced to incriminate yourself or have your bodily sanctity violated, no such protections exist in this case. This is because of a California law known as "implied consent." In short, implied consent means that by driving in California, you are consenting to be tested (CVC 23612).

What is implied consent?

Implied consent is a term referring to CVC 23612, which states, "A person who drives a motor vehicle is deemed to have given his or her consent to chemical testing of his or her blood or breath for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of his or her blood, if lawfully arrested for an offense allegedly committed in violation of Section 23140, 23152, or 23153." This means that by driving in California, you agree to this policy. It's kind of like software agreements; if you are using it, you agree. If you refuse a chemical test when being arrested and suspected of DUI, you have in essence broken a contract and will receive time in jail and a license suspension if found guilty.

What is departmental review?

Departmental review is an administrative procedure to allow a motorist who is wrongly suspended to ask the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to review the suspension decision.

Departmental review is theoretically one way to obtain relief after an arbitrary DMV hearing decision. You obtain departmental review by sending a letter to Sacramento with a check for $120, and one of the DMV bureaucrats reviews the DMV file for any errors. The DMV is supposed to give you your license back if the hearing officer committed an error in suspending your license. While lawyers have heard stories of departmental review actually returning a license to a motorist, it is widely regarded as so rare as to be a waste of time. There is no provision for staying the suspension during the process of departmental review, so you cannot drive legally while you wait.

What a request for departmental review does accomplish is a 90-day extension of the time you have in which to seek a writ of mandate to overturn the suspension. Beat DMV can represent you through this process. Contact us at the Law Office of Rodney Gould in Sherman Oaks by calling 818-981-1760 or sending us an email through this website.