Being arrested for a DUI is a scary, disruptive experience. It may not be the first thing on your mind, but an administrative license suspension that results from a DUI can be incredibly costly, could impact your career, and makes life much more difficult than it needs to be. While most people are focused squarely on limiting the criminal penalties that they experience after a DUI arrest, those who work with a skilled DUI attorney are likely to find that they can take certain timely steps to keep their license or have it reinstated months before it otherwise would be restored by the state.
States around the country empowered their DMVs to automatically suspend licenses after drivers are accused of drunk driving. In many states, the arresting officer will serve you with a notice of suspension and provide you with a temporary driver's license at the time of your DUI arrest. If you're looking to stay on the road, you'll need to quickly take action to protect your license. Many states require that people who wish to defend their license after an arrest file for an administrative hearing within just 7 days of their arrest.
Most complications involving administrative license suspensions stem from the fact that drivers accused of driving under the influence need to work incredibly fast to reduce or avoid administrative sanctions. While the criminal justice system can take months to resolve a case, a driver typically has less than 14 days to formally request an administrative hearing. Those who forget to request the hearing will automatically have their license suspended.
The hearing is run by an administrative judge or hearing officer. They will listen to the evidence that is being admitted against you, will consider your evidence, and decide whether your license should be suspended and, if so, for how long. The involvement of a DUI attorney is critical during this step to reduce the harm that can come from this proceeding. It should be noted that statements you make during this proceeding can typically be used against you during your criminal case. Understanding the major facts of your case and how the law governs your arrest will help you reduce your risk of self-incrimination.
The best DUI attorney will also have a better understanding of how complex facts, such as a history of license suspensions, aggravating factors, or a commercial driver's license impact your case and the duration of a suspension. If the hearing officer does suspend your license, many states allow you to petition for reinstatement or limited-use licenses that allow you to drive for work after only a few weeks of suspension time.