Recently on our DUI forum a user asked, “I was stopped for DUI two nights ago and after I was arrested the police officer immediately confiscated my driver’s license. I don’t understand why I would lose my license even before I have been convicted of driving under the influence (DUI). What do I do now?”
Administrative license suspension and losing your license
Without more details about your DUI arrest it’s difficult to say for sure why your license was confiscated, but we’ll discuss the main reasons most drivers lose their license immediately after a DUI arrest and it has to do with what are called implied consent laws.
Most drivers are unaware that if they are operating a motorized vehicle in any state they have given their implied consent to submit to a chemical test following a DUI arrest. This test does not include a preliminary breath test that you may have been asked to take prior to the arrest but rather a more advanced blood, breath, or urine test following the arrest.
Identify what happened following the DUI arrest
So the first thing you need to determine is whether you were legally arrested for DUI and whether the officer asked you to submit to a chemical test following the DUI arrest. If the officer did in fact arrest you and then asked you to submit to a chemical test, which you declined or you took and failed with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher, then your license has been administratively suspended.
If this is the case you now have several options. You can do nothing- which allows the state to suspend your license for a specified time period as outlined by state law, or you can contest the suspension by requesting a court hearing. The amount of time you have to take this action varies by state so you can either review your state’s laws or contact a DUI lawyer immediately.
Why does the state have the right to initiate an administrative suspension?
Administrative penalties have been implemented by states as a deterrent for drivers to refuse DUI chemical testing. Chemical testing provides the state with the best evidence for a DUI. Prosecutors who have no solid chemical testing often have to rely on more subjective evidence such as witness or police testimony.
To avoid this, states have decided to create administrative suspension penalties which they could use to punish drivers arrested for DUI, even if those drivers were never actually convicted of driving under the influence.
What do you do now?
As mentioned above, you can have your license suspended even if you are never convicted of DUI. This might not seem fair, but this is the law. Proponents of administrative penalties would argue that DUI is a serious problem and drunk drivers kill thousands of people each year. Driving is also not a right; it is a privilege, one in which the state gets to make the rules.
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