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California DMVs Arbitrary Powers to Revoke Licenses under Spotlight

Posted on in Criminal Defense

An analysis of data from the California Department Of Motor Vehicles from 2012 found that employees at the DMV either suspended or revoked the licenses in at least 135 DUI cases. In all these cases, the persons arrested had never been charged with any DUI-related crime, nor had their criminal cases dismissed because of lack of evidence.

Los Angeles DUI lawyers have found that DMV employees are often allowed to act as a prosecutor and judge, when they decide whether to revoke or suspend licenses. Attorneys have always believed that allowing a single employee to decide on a matter like this amounts to a violation of an individual's constitutional rights. Now, a lawsuit that has been filed by a group of attorneys against the California Department Of Motor Vehicles, targets these arbitrary powers that are granted to employees at the agency.

The lawsuit claims that allowing employees to act as both the prosecutor and judge about which person’s licenses will be suspended or revoked, is a violation of their rights. At the California Department Of Motor Vehicles, a single employee is given the task of advocating for the DMV's interests, and making the decision in administrative proceedings. That makes it a clear conflict of interest, and means the system is tilted against drivers in the state of California who have been arrested for DUI.

According to the statistics, in 2011, there were 186,712 DUI arrests in California, and approximately 20% of these persons were able to get their DUI-related charges dismissed in court. Yet in spite of this fact, thousands of them still lost their licenses. The DMV is not even aware of the exact number of drivers who got their licenses suspended when their criminal cases were dismissed, because it does not maintain accurate data.

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