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DC DUI Administrative Hearings

If you have been arrested on suspicion of Driving Under the Influence, it is in your best interest to discuss the possible consequences to your driving privileges with an experienced DUI lawyer in DC.

Upon your arrest for driving under the influence, you will receive a notice stating that as a result of your arrest, you are eligible for a mandatory license revocation through the DC DMV.  This revocation is separate and apart from the criminal charges you face at DC Superior Court.  In order to prevent it from taking effect immediately, you must request an administrative hearing at the DMV within 10 days if you have a DC license and within 15 days for a non-DC license. Failure to request the hearing results in an automatic license revocation.

At the administrative DMV hearing, the defendant can be present with a DC DUI attorney who is experienced in DC DUI laws, to challenge any testimony offered by the arresting officer in your case.

Preparing for a DUI Administrative Hearing

It can be helpful to have a DUI lawyer represent you at an administrative license hearing in DC.  If your arresting officer is present at the hearing, he can provide testimony to the hearing examiner (the DMV’s equivalent of a judge).  If the hearing examiner finds sufficient evidence that you were driving under the influence, the examiner will revoke your driving privileges.  However, the officer’s testimony is subject to cross examination by your DUI lawyer, who can challenge the officer’s testimony and argue against penalties to your license. These hearings are recorded and under oath, and in some situations testimony provided by officers at the administrative hearing can be useful in challenging the government’s evidence in your criminal DUI case.

In the event no officer is present at your administrative license hearing, the DMV would take no action against your driving privileges at that time.  If, at a later date, you are convicted of a DUI in your criminal case, that information would be transferred from the court to the DMV, which could then take action against your license even though the administrative hearing never took place.

Your Attorney’s Defense Strategies

An experienced attorney who is well-versed in DC DUI laws can advocate for your interests in an administrative hearing. Listed are some of their defense strategies:

  • Cross-examining the officer regarding the circumstances of the initial traffic stop.
  • Challenging the manner in which the officer conduct field sobriety tests
  • Argue that procedural violations require that no action be taken against the driver’s license pending the outcome of the criminal case

Administrative Hearings and Its Common Misconceptions

In DC, the criminal court judge does not have the ability to issue driver’s license suspensions.  Only the DMV, through their administrative hearing process, can revoke driving privileges.  The DMV’s procedure for doing this is completely separate from the criminal case, but the two can be connected since DMV hearing testimony is potentially usable in DC Superior Court and because a criminal conviction can result in DMV action even without an administrative hearing taking place.

Work With a DUI Attorney Today

A DUI lawyer in Washington DC can assist you in understanding the key differences that identify all the possible defense angles to prevent you from having your driving privileges revoked. DMV administrative hearings can be extremely time-consuming and complicated. An attorney can aggressively work to question the officer’s credibility and can guide you through the very complicated DMV hearing system.

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