In most states, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will immediately suspends the person’s driver license after a Drunk under the Influence (DUI) arrest. A DMV DUI proceeding must take place within a short time frame, usually ten (10) days from the arrest. This is the civil part of the case and the accused has the right to bring his or her DUI attorney to the hearing.
Issues Addressed by the DMV
The DUI DMV hearing is a civil hearing that allows the driver to present relevant testimony and evidence surrounding his or her arrest. This is not a criminal process and therefore the DMV is not concerned with determining whether you are innocent or guilty. The questions to be addressed in this procedure include:
· Was the driver legally placed under arrest?
· Did the police officer have a good reason to believe that the driver was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs?
· Did the driver truly refuse to take the chemical test or just failed to complete the test?
· Was the driver informed that refusing to take the chemical test would result in a suspension of his or her driving rights for a given period of time?
Law enforcement officers will ask you to blow into a breathalyzer machine in order to obtain a BAC level. There are certain times that people fail to blow the breathalyzer machine hard enough to get a reading. The officer in charge may write this down as a refusal of the test when in fact you failed to complete it.
Preponderance of Evidence
In all the DMV proceedings, drivers must have the privilege to present witnesses, evidence and testimony on their behalf. Drivers are additionally allowed to be represented by a lawyer although this is not a must. Witnesses who may be unwilling to testify can be compelled to appear. The task of proof rests upon the Department of Motor Vehicles, which is obligated to prove beyond reasonable doubt the following:
· The driver was legally arrested
· The officer had reasonable reason to stop and arrest the driver
· A test confirmed that the driver had a BAC of 0.8 or higher at the time
· The driver was knowledgeable about the consequences for chemical test refusal
The DMV proceeding officer will suspend your driver’s license if it is proven that the above is true. Additionally, the officer can choose to dismiss or set aside the case, in which case you will be allowed to keep your license.
Understanding a DMV Hearing and a DUI Court Trial
There are many vital differences that you need to know about a DMV hearing and a DUI court trial:
A DMV proceeding is usually optional. If your driver’s license is immediately suspended when you get a DUI arrest, then it is important that you have a DMV proceeding to try to get your license back. When you receive the automatic driver’s license suspension, you will additionally be told how to request for a DMV hearing to try to get it back. If you request for the hearing, you will have to go and make a statement to an administrative representative from the Department of Motor Vehicles about why you need your license back, even if it’s a restricted license. The Department of Motor Vehicles can either decide to withhold your license, usually for a period of one year or give it back to you (usually on a restricted condition).
A Drunk under the Influence (DUI) court trial is not optional. When you’re arrested, you will be charged and a court date will be set for your hearing. At this court trial, the prosecuting attorney will present their evidence against you to the judge. You will be given the chance to make statements and to either show that there were issues that contributed to you being guilty or to prove your innocence. The jury or judge will take into considerations all the information that you provide and sentencing on the DUI charge will then occur. At this proceeding, you’ll find out whether or not you are going to jail or about any other criminal penalty, such as compulsory counseling or fines.
When to Get Legal Assistance
Since the standard of proof in A DMV proceeding is less strict than in a criminal charge, it’s more probable that the officer in charge will rule against you. When you hire a reputable DUI attorney, he/she may be able to keep incriminating evidence from being presented. It is therefore important to talk to an attorney when you have been arrested and charged with a DUI offense.