Okay, so it’s not really without a fight; it would have been more precise to say without having to fight all the way. Let me explain.
When I go to court to seek a writ, I carry a very big stick. That stick is the one weapon DMV hates most of all: the brutal club of attorneys’ fees. You see, when I win a DMV writ after an arbitrary hearing officer suspends my client’s license, DMV has to pay my attorneys’ fees. On this point our legislators in Sacramento got it right: a motorist should not have to pay five thousand dollars to prove DMV shafted him at the hearing.
We can use the threat of attorneys’ fees to our advantage. Where I can make a convincing showing to DMV that they’re going to be paying my fees, their attorney usually calls me up and offers to return my client’s license without any more fighting. In exchange for the license, DMV asks my client to waive her right to reimbursement of attorneys’ fees.
So far, every single client offered this deal has taken the sure-thing license return and avoided the chance, however slight, that she would lose in court. As a lawyer, I always have to recommend the sure thing over rolling the dice in court, but I am waiting for that client to come along who will refuse the offer and take one of these cases all the way to the judge.