The cost of a driving under the influence charge in the U.S. is roughly $10,000. This price tag includes fines, penalties, and various fees.
One of the biggest expenses included in that $10,000 is the hike in your insurance premium, which could spike by more than 300%! What’s also not covered is your lost wages and income.
So if you feel that you have been charged in error or want to fight your suspension, it is in your best interest to take your case to a DMV DUI hearing.
In many states, the driver’s license suspension is automatic or occurs upon conviction of the DUI offense. In other states, like South Carolina and Nevada, a separate DUI administrative hearing is held.
In the following article, we’ll examine what these administrative hearings are and how you should prepare.
What Is a DMV DUI Hearing?
DMV hearings are almost like small trials. On the line at these hearings is your driver’s license’s standing. These hearings are conducted by administrative officers or judges with the state Department of Motor Vehicles.
These hearings are separate from the criminal proceeding where a judge could saddle you with fines or sentence you to jail time.
You are not mandated to participate in one of these DMV DUI hearings, but it may behoove you to do so. You have to request the DMV hearing within a certain time period after you have been charged with your DUI in many states.
In South Carolina, for example, it is within 30 days of the charge or arrest. In other states, like Nevada, your time frame is much shorter. There, you need to request the hearing within a mere 7 days from the arrest.
If the proceeding goes in your favor, you could avoid a license suspension. In many cases, this can occur because there was a problem with the police report or an issue with witnesses. An experienced DUI lawyer
In many cases, there’s nothing to lose by fighting the suspension at the hearing. Penalties and suspension are not more severe or longer for challenging the suspension at the hearing.
Not Easier to Win
Unfortunately, the DMV administrative hearing is actually harder to win than the criminal proceeding in most states.
This is because the administrative hearing officer or judge is usually weighing only two factors. The first is whether the defendant was charged with DUI by a police officer, and the second is if the driver had alcohol in their system at the time of their arrest.
The DMV officer or judge is not weighing extenuating circumstances or considering if the arrest or stoppage was lawful. On the other hand, prosecutors in the criminal case have to prove that the defendant committed the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.
How Do I Request a DMV DUI Hearing?
In most states, you either return a notice that you want to proceed with a DMV DUI hearing or you download a form and submit it to request one.
One more reason to request a hearing? Your request may take weeks to process. And, in many states, you’ll have full driving privileges while the scheduling and hearing take their course.
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Andrea Parker is a reporter for Zobuz. She previously worked at Huffington Post and Vanity Fair. Andrea is based in NYC and covers issues affecting her city. In addition to her severe coffee addiction, she’s a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.