I was arrested for DWI, why was my license immediately suspended?
If you have a driver's license and you are operating a motorized vehicle you have given your "implied consent" to submit to a chemical test if you are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI). Implied consent laws can also be used to test an unconscious driver if they are unable to give their verbal consent to take the test.
Under implied consent laws drivers may be asked to consent to either a blood, breath or urine test. Refusal or failure of this test may lead to an administrative license suspension. Failure of the chemical test occurs if the drivers blood alcohol concentration is 0.08% or higher. If a driver consents to the test and their BAC or blood alcohol concentration is below the legal limit, no administrative license suspension is needed.
After a refusal or denial, depending on the state, the drivers license may be immediately taken by law enforcement, and the driver may be issued a temporary document by the states Department of Motor Vehicles. This document outlines the details of the suspension, and an explanation of the implied consent law for that state. This form may also serve as the drivers temporary license, which may be valid for a set number of days (generally 30 days).
If you have had your license suspended after a DWI arrest you may appeal the suspension to the DMV. The Administrative License suspension is considered an administrative action and will be separate and independent from subsequent criminal charges that you may face in a criminal DUI court. Talk to a DUI attorney immediately following a DUI arrest and administrative license suspension because there will be a set number of days that you will be allowed to appeal the suspension (in many states this may be a little as 10 days).
If you appeal your license suspension and lose your appeal, you may be able to request limited driving privileges from the court. The judge will have discretion to grant these privileges.
Should I appeal my License Suspension?
Most DUI lawyers suggest requesting a Department of Motor Vehicle suspension hearing. In many cases the drivers license suspension will be dismissed, and if it is not, the worst that can happen is the suspension will continue. Most DMV hearings are held prior to the expiration of the 30 day temporary license, and the courts that are unable to hold the hearing within that timeframe may be willing to extend the temporary license.
For the DMV hearing, testimony can be offered by both the defendant and the state. Police officers may present evidence such as their DUI arrest report, laboratory findings (if a chemical test was administered) and a sworn affidavit.
An administrative license suspension may be set aside by the judge for the following four reasons:
1. The police did not have probable cause to arrest the DUI suspect.
2. The suspect did not refuse to take the chemical test.
3. The suspect took the test and their breath, blood or urine was not over the legal limit.
4. The police failed to inform the suspect of the implied consent law.
Keep in mind that the administrative license suspension will not have any effect on future criminal charges for DUI, even if the DMV sets aside the administrative license suspension.
Hiring a DUI Lawyer
DUI laws are complicated and drivers may not understand the severe consequences of a DUI arrest. If you have been arrested for DUI and would like to appeal your administrative license suspension, contact a DWI lawyer for help. DUI attorneys can review the facts of your DUI case and let you know what needs to be done to fight the DUI charges.