Neil Shouse (Defense Attorney) gives expert video advice on: When does a DUI license suspension begin?; What can I do if my driver's license is suspended as a result of a DUI?; What is a 'driver's license suspension hearing'? and more...
When does a DUI license suspension begin?
If your driver's license is suspended because of a DUI, you typically have to get notice of the suspension. You will be given a written notice which usually will come in the mail, and it will notify you that you are about to suffer the license suspension. The suspension period then goes into effect a few days later, often about five or ten days later.
What can I do if my driver's license is suspended as a result of a DUI?
If your driver's licence is suspended because of a DUI, you are entitled to have a hearing with the state department of transportation or department of motor vehicles to determine whether that suspension will stay in effect or whether you will get your licence back. Typically, after a DUI arrest you have a limited number of days in which to request that hearing. Sometimes it's seven days, sometimes it's ten days, and in some states it's 30 days. If you fail to request that hearing within that time period then you will forfeit your right to a hearing, and at the point there is not much you can do about the licence suspension.
What is a 'driver's license suspension hearing'?
A driver's license suspension hearing is a hearing that takes place with the state Department of Transportation or Department of Motor Vehicles, in which a hearing officer presides and decides whether or not to impose the driver's license suspension or to set aside the driver's license suspension. Typically, at a hearing, you have the right to be present, you have the right to be represented by an attorney, you have the right to testify, to present evidence, and you often have the right to bring in the police officers who arrested you and to cross-examine them about what happened.
Do I need an attorney for my driver's license suspension hearing?
You are not required to have an attorney at the driver's license suspension hearing. You may represent yourself. Many people do actually represent themselves. However, the reality is that with an experienced attorney you are more likely to prevail.
If my driver's license is suspended because of a DUI, can I appeal the decision?
If you have a driver's license suspension hearing, and you lose, and your license is suspended, there is a process by which you appeal that decision. That process is called "administrative review", and it's one where an independent panel will review the transcript of the hearing, review the evidence of the hearing, and determine whether the hearing officer that made the decision against you erred or made a correct decision.
How can a driver's license suspension hearing be useful to my criminal hearing?
Often, the driver's license suspension hearing will take place before the court proceedings are resolved, and you can use that hearing to collect evidence favorable to your case. For example, you can subpoena the police officers who arrested you; put them under oath; cross-examine them about everything that happened that night, getting them to admit things that you did that were consistent with sobriety, getting them to admit mistakes in their investigation, obtaining favorable testimony from them; and you can ultimately take the transcript from this testimony and other evidence that you generate from the hearing and use it as leverage when you negotiate with the prosecutor and the judge in court as to what happens to the criminal charges.
How is the length of my DUI driver's license suspension determined?
Most states have standard lengths imposed for a first offense, a second offense, and a third or subsequent offense of a DUI conviction. However, other things that can affect the length of a suspension can be the age of the driver. If the driver is a minor, it will be typically a longer suspension. Also, with the BAC level, oftentimes a very high BAC level will result in a longer suspension. And also, where there was a refusal to submit to a blood, or breath, or urine test; in many states, refusing to take one of those tests will result in a much longer suspension as well.
If my driver's license is suspended because of a DUI how can I get a temporary restricted license?
In most states you're eligible to obtain a temporary restricted license. If you go to the DMV, show to them that you have enrolled in an alcohol program, show them proof of liability insurance - which is a document called an SR22 - and pay a re-issuance fee for your driver's license.
What are the penalties for driving while my license is suspended?
If you are caught driving while you're license is suspended, particularly because of a DUI you're on probation for DUI already. It would be a violation of your probation and the judge could send you to jail for that. You can also be charged with a separate crime, a separate misdemeanour called "driving on a suspended license" and oftentimes face jail time because of that.