Driver’s License Procedures
There are two types of license suspensions you may face during a DUI investigation. The first is an administrative suspension, the second is a court ordered suspension.
There are two ways to get an administrative suspension.
If you refuse the test:
First, if you refuse to submit to a chemical test after you have been arrested for a DUI, your license will be suspended for a period of 12 months if it is your first refusal to submit to such testing. If it is the second time you have been stopped and refused to do these tests, the suspension is for 18 months and you will face a possible criminal charge for refusing the test, depending on the circumstances in your case.
The first 90 days of that suspension is commonly referred to as a “hard” suspension, where under no circumstances can you legally drive anywhere. After at least 90 days, you may be eligible to apply for a hardship license that would let you legally drive to and from work, school, medical appointments, and other limited locations for the remainder of your refusal suspension.
If you take but “fail” the test:
Second, if you submit to the requested post-arrest chemical testing, and your BAC Level is determined to be over the legal limit, your license will be suspended for 6 months for a first offense, 12 months for a second offense.
The first 30 days of that suspension is commonly referred to as a “hard” suspension, where under no circumstances can you legally drive anywhere. After at least 30 days, you may be eligible to apply for a hardship license that would let you legally drive to and from work, school, medical appointments, and other limited locations for the remainder of your failure suspension.
Both of these are administrative suspensions. Notice, they have absolutely nothing to do with whether or not you are convicted of the charge of DUI. If you are charged with a DUI offense, one of these two types of suspensions will almost always come into play, unless you blow below the legal limit and a urine or blood test is taken but the results are not available at the time of your arrest.
What to do about an administrative suspension:
If you receive an administrative suspension, you have 10 days to challenge the suspension. This is done through an administrative review hearing at the DHSMV where one of their employees will act as a hearing officer. Your hearing will be scheduled, generally, within 30 days of your request for a hearing.
At issue in these hearings will be whether or not the officer followed proper procedures in requesting you submit to the test or in the administration of the tests, or if you allegedly refused the tests, whether or not you in fact did refuse the test. Again, the issue of whether or not you were actually DUI will not be decided or possibly even matter during these proceedings.
If you win your administrative hearing, your administrative suspension will not take effect. If you fail in your efforts to invalidate your administrative suspension, your suspension will go into effect. Regardless of the outcome, the administrative hearing does not control what happens in your criminal case. That is a separate proceeding actually handled in criminal court.
There are a number of reasons why you might want to consider challenging the administrative suspension of your license. However, recent changes to how DHSMV handles these suspensions and hearing requests could mean that, in your particular case, the fastest route to getting some kind of driver’s license back is to not challenge the suspension. You should consult with an experienced DUI attorney before deciding how best to proceed. Contact us today for a free consultation and we will be happy to discuss all your options with you.
COURT ORDERED SUSPENSIONS:
You will not receive a Court ordered suspension until and unless you are found guilty of or plead guilty or no contest to your DUI charge. The judge in your case will sentence you on your case, and part of your sentence will include a suspension of your license of at least 6 months. Depending on aggravating factors and prior DUI convictions, you could face even longer periods of suspension. Please see the chart located here.
Like an administrative suspension, you may be eligible to apply for a hardship license. In some cases, such as a first time DUI, you may be able to apply for the hardship license the day you are sentenced so that you can drive for limited purposes the entire length of your suspension.
As discussed above, a hardship license may be an option in your case. If you can get one, it will drastically reduce the potential impact a DUI may have on your day to day life. Having a hardship license means you can drive only for specific limited purposes, but those include work and school. This might mean the difference in keeping your job or staying enrolled in school for many people. Before you can apply for a hardship license, there are certain things you will have to do first, including successfully completing the DUI School appropriate for your case. Contact us today for more information on obtaining a hardship license.