A DUI arrest can carry a whole host of serious consequences, and for many drivers, a license suspension is among the worst. A suspended driver’s license can interfere with your life in many ways, making it more difficult to get to work, drive your children to school, and run errands, to name a few. If you’ve had your license suspended, you can schedule a hearing at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) relatively quickly for a chance to have it reinstated. Here’s what you can expect from your DMV hearing.
The DMV in most states will issue an automatic driver’s license suspension following a DUI arrest. You can usually expect a license suspension when your breathalyzer result exceeds 0.08, or when you refuse to take a state-administered urine, breath, or blood test. In Georgia, the DMV requires a fee to schedule your appeal, which can cost between $150 and $250 depending on your suspension type.
- Always request your DMV hearing as soon as possible.
- Don’t confuse your hearing with your criminal case proceedings.
- Exercise your right to bring legal counsel to the hearing.
- The appeal focuses on the question of whether your license was legally suspended.
- The burden of proof rests on the DMV.
Your license suspension hearing is an administrative proceeding and is therefore entirely separate from the criminal court proceedings attached to your DUI arrest. One is optional; the other is mandatory. Because the hearing is not a criminal procedure, the DMV will not attempt to establish your guilt or innocence. Instead they will ask whether your driver’s license suspension was legal. You will be given a chance to present relevant evidence, testimony, and witnesses connected to your arrest. You should absolutely exercise your right to an attorney to maximize your chances of success.
The DMV carries the burden of proof throughout the hearing. The hearing officer must consider whether or not the evidence is predominantly in your favor, keeping several questions in mind. For instance, did the law enforcement officer have reasonable suspicion to stop you, the driver? Were you lawfully placed under arrest and informed about the penalties for a chemical test refusal? Did you have a BAC of 0.08 at the time, as proven by a reliable test? If you refused the BAC test, did the officer have just cause to request a test in the first place?
If the hearing officer is satisfied that your license suspension was unwarranted, they will dismiss the charge and allow you to keep your license. If the answer isn’t as clear, you could have your suspension reduced or obtain a “hardship license” that will provide you with certain privileges, like the right to drive to work, while you carry out your suspension.
It’s important that you request your hearing immediately, because you only have 10 days from the time of the suspension. We highly recommend that you fight your administrative license penalty with the backing of an effective lawyer. The attorneys at Savannah DUI will review the evidence in your case, use our extensive knowledge of the justice system to craft a strong defense, and give you the best possible chances of success. Give us a call to schedule your free initial consultation.