Latest News 2017 December DMV Hearings & DUI Stops

DMV Hearings & DUI Stops

If you were arrested for DUI, the arresting officer should have taken your license and given you a Notice of Suspension (a pink piece of paper that acts as your temporary driver's license for 30 days—after which, you lose your ability to legally drive until/unless you are found not guilty of DUI. Of course, you could be waiting for months before trial begins. Most people can't afford to lose their license for months at a time, especially if they have a job or are attending school.

Losing your ability to drive is one of the most costly and inconvenient parts of being charged with DUI. For ten days following the date of your arrest, you have the ability to protect your driving privileges and prevent the suspension of your license altogether. However, if you let 10 days elapse without taking action, you'll lose your license at the end of 30 days—no exceptions.

Here's what you need to do and why:

Request a DMV Hearing Within 10 Days

Immediately after your DUI arrest, call your local DMV branch and request an administrative hearing. If you hire a DUI attorney, they'll be able to schedule the hearing on your behalf. If you end up not testifying on your own behalf, you may not even need to attend the hearing—your lawyer can handle it for you.

Why are there two "trials" for your case?

Because your DUI arrest triggers two different legal processes: the criminal process and the DMV process. The criminal process asks whether you were guilty or innocent of DUI, but the DMV process is an administrative one—their question is "should you have your license suspended for your DUI arrest?" It's a small difference, but with an important legal distinction: DMV hearings require less evidence for a successful result.

The hearing, which takes place before a DMV official with no formal legal training, can be held in a DMV office or over the phone. Don't be fooled; an over-the-phone hearing is still a formal action. The hearing will work as a sort of mini-trial: you're able to subpoena witnesses (e.g. the arresting officer), present or challenge evidence, or speak on your behalf (or have your attorney do it).

The questions you'll be asked include:

  • Did the officer have probable cause to stop you or arrest you?
  • Was your BAC actually .08% or higher?
  • If you refused the blood or breath test, were you informed that your license would be suspended?
  • Did the officer actually observe you driving?
  • Was the DUI checkpoint legally conducted?

If you can build a case that your BAC did not exceed the legal limit, that the officer never witnessed you driving, that there was no probable cause to arrest you, or that the DUI checkpoint was illegal, the DMV official may undo your license suspension. Undoing your license suspension will allow you to legally drive until your trial concludes, letting you continue with normal life.

Hire a DUI Lawyer for the DMV Hearing & Your Criminal Trial

If your trial ends with an acquittal, you'll be able to keep your driver's license. However, a DUI conviction will result in a 6-9 month suspension without an option for appeal—with possible exceptions for driving to/from work or school. While you may be able to handle your DMV hearing without professional help, it will have been for nothing if you lose your criminal case.

Having a DUI lawyer handle your DMV hearing comes with the added benefit of building a stronger case during your criminal proceedings. While the DMV and criminal court have two difference processes, a favorable result in the DMV hearing could positively affect your trial.

In either case, you need to make a call within the next ten days—either to an experienced DUI attorney or to your local DMV to request an administrative hearing.