The right to a DMV hearing is written in both Federal and State Constitutions: individuals cannot have property taken from them without due process of law. Drivers are thus lawfully entitled to a DMV hearing prior to having their driving privilege taken or suspended, regardless of whether or not they must also appear in court for a criminal trial. If you have been wrongly arrested of DUI, you should request a DMV hearing to attempt to increase the chances that your record may remain clear and that a fee for license reinstatement may be avoided.
It is important to note that a DMV hearing handles the conditions regarding an arrest for DUI. It is not required after a DUI arrest, however, and is separate from a criminal court hearing. A court trial instead addresses whether or not you committed a criminal act.
The hearing must be requested right away following a DUI arrest, and you only are allowed 10 days to do so. Otherwise, your license will be suspended automatically within 30 days after the arrest date. Being prompt regarding this matter has several benefits for drivers who may have been wrongfully arrested: it can provide more time, it can act as an opportunity to avoid ABS suspension prior to the trial, and there may be a higher chance of keeping your license if you win.
The following points may be helpful for those seeking to win a DMV hearing following a DUI arrest.
Guideline #1: Review the evidence against your case
Requesting discovery from the DMV should be done right away in writing, as they are lawfully required to share evidence with you. Your recorded blood alcohol levels and the arrest report should be shared along with any other proof that the DMV may present in court.
Guideline #2: Request to have the arresting officer present
It may be worthwhile to pay a fee (typically $275) to have the law enforcement officer present to answer further questions or to locate any weak points in the investigation if you believe that you may have been wrongfully arrested.
Guideline #3: Consider collecting new evidence
The crime lab and police agency may be subpoenaed to establish support against the sources that the DMV will use in court. Drivers who had their blood tested can have all chromatography and lab results summoned, in addition to miscellaneous data regarding the maintenance history and overall performance of the machines that conducted the breath or blood tests to see if they were working properly at the time of the test. Under circumstances where the equipment was faulty or the results were skewed, a forensic toxicologist can testify regarding the inaccuracy of the test.
A hearing can be requested at your local DMV Driver Safety Office. Since it can be a severe and sometimes unwarranted punishment to have your driver’s license taken, it is important to keep it intact under circumstances especially when rights may have been violated.