DUI Administrative Hearings
Many people who are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) are unaware that there are actually two components to the charge. The criminal component involves determining innocence or guilt as well as assessing any penalties for conviction. However, there is also an administrative component to a DUI arrest that affects whether a person charged for this crime will be able to continue to operate a motor vehicle. The administrative aspect of a DUI is time sensitive and if not performed correctly can result in you losing your license.
Under law, for example, anyone who is arrested for driving under the influence has their driver’s license automatically suspended. However, you are given a temporary license that lasts for 10 days from the day of your arrest. This allows you to drive for business, employment, and personal purposes but not for social driving. Within this 10-day period, you and your attorney must file for an administrative hearing if you wish to keep your driver’s license while the DUI case against you is ongoing.
In order to participate in the administrative hearing, you must file a petition for a “Formal Review Hearing.” Once the request is made, the temporary 10-day license is extended to an additional 42 days. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles must then give you a formal hearing date within 30 days of the date that the petition was filed.
At the formal hearing, you have the opportunity to present witnesses and evidence that prove why you should be allowed to retain your driver’s license while the DUI case proceeds through the court. If you are successful, then your driving privileges are fully reinstated beyond the limited scope of the temporary license.
Penalties for Administrative Suspension
If you fail to appear for your administrative hearing or do not meet the qualifications to retain your driver’s license, the administrative court can suspend it for a period of time. For a first DUI offense, your license will be suspended for up to six months, and second or subsequent DUI arrests can result in your license being suspended for up to one year.
In addition, if you refuse to submit to chemical testing for a DUI and then fail to appear at the administrative hearing, the court can suspend your driver’s license for up to one year. If you refuse the testing during a second or subsequent arrest, the license suspension can be up to 18 months. However, if you complete an alcohol education program and present an application to the court, you can be considered for a hardship license after another 30 to 60 days of license suspension.