January 30, 2014
Along with the criminal penalties associated with receiving a DUI, revocation of your driver’s license can “add insult to injury.” Being unable to drive is a huge inconvenience for those who work, have children, and do not like depending on others for transportation. However, knowing what to do from the moment you are arrested for DUI can mean the difference between keeping or losing your driving privileges. This post is dedicated to explaining the steps to take to retain your driving privileges after an arrest for DUI.
Once a person is arrested for DUI, they will likely face two battles. The first is against the criminal charge for DUI, and the other is the battle over the person’s driver’s license with the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety (DPS). The criminal case and the license revocation are two separate matters. The license revocation by DPS is an administrative process, which is lengthy, technical, and very involved. This process begins the date someone is arrested for DUI. I strongly recommend that anyone who is arrested for DUI retain an attorney to represent them as soon as possible following arrest.
ALWAYS Request a Hearing!
When arrested for DUI, you will receive a document entitled “Officer’s Affidavit and Notice of Revocation/Disqualification.” This document serves as a temporary driving permit for thirty (30) days, beginning the date of the arrest. After the thirty day period ends, consider your driver’s license revoked for a long while.
On the Officer’s Affidavit, usually in very fine print, there are instructions for appealing the driver’s license revocation. To do this, you must submit a written request for an administrative hearing to DPS (the request form can be found on DPS’s website) within fifteen days from the date of the arrest. Upon receiving and processing your request, DPS will notify you of a hearing date, and give you another temporary license for the interim period. You can also submit a written request to DPS for a modified license (same request form from DPS’s website). A modified license allows you to keep your driving privileges, but with certain restrictions, such as installing an ignition interlock device.
I find that many people consult with an attorney after the fifteen day period to request an administrative hearing has passed, and that most people had no idea about the fifteen day time limit. Even if you do not retain an attorney within fifteen days of being arrested, do your future counsel, and yourself, a huge favor by requesting the administrative hearing!
ALWAYS Attend the DPS Hearing!
Despite the reality that you are unlikely to win at the administrative hearing, it is extremely important that you, or your attorney, attend the hearing. At DPS administrative hearings, the arresting officer attempts to establish that there was probable cause to believe you were intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle. Whether this extremely low burden of proof has been met is determined by a hearing officer. DPS hearing officers are not judges, and are often not even lawyers. If you lose the administrative hearing, the hearing officer will enter an order sustaining the license revocation. I believe it is worth having the administrative hearing because of the remote possibility you could win, which will dismiss the license revocation entirely.
Even if you have the administrative hearing and lose, you can still obtain a modified license! To do this, you must file an appeal of the administrative order sustaining revocation with the district court in the county where you were arrested. DPS will, normally, offer you a modified license prior to the hearing on the appeal.
If you have further questions regarding this topic, please post your inquiry and I will do my best to answer it. If you have a suggestion for next week’s topic, let me know!