If you have been arrested for DUI you may still be in shock, wondering what you should do. It is common for drivers to wait and hope the problem somehow just goes away. Guess what? It doesn’t. You may know that you will eventually need to talk to a DUI lawyer, but did you also know you should immediately contact the DMV or Department of Motor Vehicles in your state to discuss how to avoid a license suspension.
The DMV and your license suspension
The DMV or the equivalent agency in your state administers the privilege of licensed drivers. If you have been arrested for DUI, in many cases, your license will be suspended by the DMV. This is an administrative license suspension and will generally occur regardless of whether or not you are ultimately charged with DUI.
To stop the license suspension you will need to take immediate action. The first step is to contact the DMV and request a hearing to challenge the administrative license suspension. The time frame to request a administrative license suspension hearing is generally several days from the date of the DUI arrest.
For example, in the state of California, you will have 10 days from the date of the DUI arrest to request an administrative license suspension hearing. If you do not request the hearing prior to the necessary date your license will be automatically suspended by the DMV.
Do I need to hire a lawyer to challenge license suspension?
Although you can request the administrative license suspension hearing on your own without a DUI lawyer, a DUI attorney can be helpful. Not only can the DUI lawyer help prepare your challenge for the suspension, they can also answer questions you have about your state’s laws and how best to defend your case if you are criminally charged.
What must I prove at my DMV hearing?
The DMV hearing does not address whether or not you were intoxicated and operating your vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This is not a criminal hearing, and they are not trying to establish guilt or innocence. In fact, the hearing will only address the following issues:
- Did the officer have reasonable cause to believe you were operating your car under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
- Did the officer lawfully arrest you?
- Did the police officer give sufficient information about the penalties for refusing to submit to a chemical test?
- Did you fail to complete the chemical test or did you refuse to take the chemical test?
- Was a chemical test given which determined your BAC was .08 or higher at the time of the DUI arrest?
Proving the case through a preponderance of evidence
If you request a DMV hearing the DMV is required to provide enough information to support their case. Like other trials, you are allowed to offer rebuttal testimony and evidence for your case.
If the DMV can prove the officer had a reasonable suspicion you were intoxicated, they arrested you lawfully, they provided the necessary information about the penalties for refusing to take the chemical test and you either refused to take the test or failed the test with a BAC of .08 or higher the DMV has the legal right to suspend your license.
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