How To Prepare For A DMV Hearing
Interview Witnesses Early On
If your case needs a witness to testify (such as the true driver of the car or the person you were with when law enforcement said you were driving), consider interviewing the witness early on with a tape recorder or a third person who could testify if the witness changes his or her mind. Even friendly witnesses can get busy and decide that taking a day off work to testify for you is not worth it. If you end up having to subpoena witnesses, you’ll be glad you have a way to force them to stick to their story.
Issue Subpoenas Early
If you decide you do need subpoenas (either for documents or for witnesses), do it early. Consider issuing subpoenas even for friendly witnesses who may change their minds later on.
Be Prepared To Enforce Your Subpoena
If you have a witness who disobeys your subpoena (and law enforcement frequently does), be ready to insist that the hearing officer enforce the subpoena. This will be a battle, but you have the right to do it, and tenacity here often wins the case.
Submit Declarations And Discovery Timely
You may submit sworn written statements known as declarations in lieu of actually bringing the witness to testify, but you must send the declaration to the Department of Motor Vehicles 10 days in advance with a notice that the witness will not be present unless DMV sends a request for cross-examination.
Review Discovery Early On
Review the discovery sent by DMV as early as possible. The sooner you develop a plan of attack, the sooner you can start putting things into motion to make that plan successful. For example, after reviewing the police report, you may decide you need to submit a declaration or subpoena a witness. There are deadlines for each of these actions, so early review minimizes the chance that you might not take action timely.
Prepare A Script
Consider putting your words down on paper before you go to the hearing. That way, even if you get nervous, you will be confident that you say what you need to say to beat DMV.
The areas of the case that lend themselves to a written script are an opening statement (recommended just so you can relax a bit before testifying or making objections or argument), objections to DMV’s evidence, questions of witnesses and closing arguments. We do not recommend you script your testimony, as it will seem rehearsed and phony.
Consider working with a lawyer to maximize your chances of beating DMV. The Law Office of Rodney Gould in Sherman Oaks has a strong track record of many successful outcomes. Call 818-570-6989 or email us at to schedule a consultation.