If you are arrested for DWI or DUI, you will have two cases to deal with. The criminal case is held in criminal court where there is a judge and prosecutor. This is what you may see in movies and TV. Since DWI is a crime, your case will be heard alongside other criminal cases in court. The appearance date on your summons or otherwise in your arrest paperwork is the court date for the criminal case.
The second case you will have is the DMV Administrative Hearing. There is no court date in your paperwork for this. Your attorney will have to request that the Administrative Hearing be scheduled. Most importantly, you only have 30 days from the date of arrest to request this hearing. Otherwise, you waive that right to a hearing and you can never have it.
When you have a DWI arrest, the police officer may have asked you to submit to chemical testing, whether it be blood, urine, or breath. If you refuse any of these tests, the DMV will propose to suspend your license for at least one year. If you submit to the test(s) and your blood alcohol content exceeds the legal limit, you license could also get suspended.
The way we fight a suspension is by having an Administrative Hearing against the DMV. At the hearing, the DMV must provide sufficient proof that meets the elements required at the hearing. There are many technical issues that must be addressed at this hearing. However, it is unlike the criminal case where the standard of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt and the issue is if the defendant committed a DWI.
The scope of the license hearing is to determine if the police officer had reasonable cause to believe the driver you under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. Additionally, the DMV must prove that the testing procedure protocol was followed as well as many other specific factors that the statute requires.
We always request the hearing for a clients. Even if you think you have a poor case to defend, there is still a chance that we can at least save your license for now. Plus, when we request the hearing for our clients, we get the reports from the DMV so we can help determine a strategy for the criminal case which we will have to deal with later. It is a right that you have, so do not waive your right.
After the hearing is requested, we will receive a notice stating the date and time of the hearing. The hearing will be conducted by an administrative law judge who will make a ruling with two weeks after the hearing. If the judge affirms the suspension, the DMV will get notice and then send notice to the driver that their license will be suspended starting on a particular date. If the judge recalls the suspension, the driver will be contacted by the DMV stating that their driving privileges will be reinstated.
You could but it is definitely not recommended. The issues in the DMV Administrative Hearing become so technical and the scope of the hearing is so narrow that you would not know what to do. In fact, lawyers that don’t handle these hearings regularly would not know what to do. They would probably just argue like they are in criminal court which would not be relevant.
We know how to win a DMV Administrative Hearing because we’ve conducted hundreds of them over many years. We have a very detailed checklist that we use to examine the information as well as the statutes and caselaw that applies. We know which arguments work and the ones that don’t since we have a database of rulings from hearings that we’ve conducted over the years. Feel free to contact us at 225-964-6720 if you received a DWI.