DUI is one of the most commonly charged crimes across the state of Utah, and it is also a crime that can come with very serious penalties, even for a first offense. While people arrested for DUI will understandably focus their attentions on the prospect of jail time or large fines, there is also the often-overlooked issue of the automatic license suspension that comes 30 days after a DUI arrest. The only way to challenge this suspension is to request a hearing in front of the Driver’s License Division (DLD) of the state public safety office. Below, our skilled Utah attorneys for a driver’s license division (DLD) hearing at Overson Law, PLLC explain how this parallel process works, what is required to request this hearing, and how we can help you try to prevent your license from being suspended.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Utah Driver’s License Division (DLD) Hearing?
Upon being arrested for DUI, if you have a Utah driver’s license it will be confiscated by the police. Your citation for DUI will serve as a temporary driver’s license until 30 days after the arrest, at which point an automatic suspension of your license will take effect and you will not be permitted to drive until the suspension period ends. However, you do have the opportunity to request a hearing with the driver’s license division within 10 days of your arrest to challenge the suspension of your license. The onus is completely on you to make this request by filling out and submitting the proper paperwork, and if you miss the deadline extensions are almost never granted, meaning that your license is going to be suspended at least for some period of time until your case is resolved.
By contacting a skilled Salt Lake City DUI defense lawyer like those at Overson Law, PLLC as soon after your arrest as possible, you will give us the chance to make sure that you file this request in a timely and complete manner. Then, we can begin to assess the evidence, such as whether an illegal search and seizure occurred, and develop an argument for why your license should not be suspended prior to your conviction of any crime. This hearing will be scheduled within 29 days of your arrest, and the hearing officer will be an administrative law judge (ALJ), who is not an actual criminal judge or even necessarily a lawyer, but rather a bureaucrat from the DLD. As such, it is important that you have a Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer like those at Overson Law, PLLC who has specific experience with these types of hearings, which are conducted differently than criminal court.
What is a Utah Driver’s License Division (DLD) Hearing?
At the hearing, we will have a chance to challenge the evidence against you including the police report, the results of any chemical tests conducted, and any failures by the officer to follow procedure or respect your rights. The arresting officer will usually appear over phone rather than in person. If the officer fails even to call in, the hearing officer will usually grant the request for you to keep your license while the case is pending. If the officer does appear, we will work to make the most persuasive arguments that the case against you is weak and unlikely to result in a conviction at a potential trial.
If the judge rules that the suspension will go forward, it will take effect on the 30th day after your arrest. We can file a motion to reconsider in front of a panel of DLD employees, but the suspension will usually take effect before this hearing can be held. At this point, our experienced West Jordan criminal defense lawyers are likely to shift our attentions to getting your underlying DUI charges downgraded or dismissed, which will typically result in the suspension being lifted. On the other hand, it is also important to note that, even if the ALJ allows you to keep your license at the DLD hearing, it will still be suspended if you end up pleading guilty to or being convicted of DUI.
How Long Does a License Suspension Last after a Utah DUI Arrest?
The length of time for which your license will be suspended will depend on a number of factors, including your age, any prior convictions for DUI on your record, and whether or not you refused to submit to a breathalyzer or other chemical test as required by law. If is your first DUI offense, the suspension period will be 120 days, and for a second or subsequent conviction the suspension will be for 2 years. However, those under 21 will have longer suspensions. For those under 19, you will have an automatic suspension of 6 months, even for a first offense, and if you are 19 or 20 the suspension will be for 2 years.
Refusal to submit to a chemical test is a separate crime in the state of Utah with separate punishments, including increased amounts of time for your license suspension. If you receive an administrative revocation or are convicted at trial for refusal, your license suspension will be for 18 months. For a second or subsequent refusal, the suspension period will increase to 36 months.
If You Are Facing a Driver’s License Division (DLD) Hearing, Contact Our Skilled Defense Lawyers Today
It is imperative that you retain a skilled DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible after a DUI arrest for a multitude of reasons. One of the reasons is so we can help make sure you file a timely request for a DLD hearing and fight to convince the judge that your license should not be suspended. At Overson Law, PLLC, our battle-tested Salt Lake City DLD hearing lawyers for a driver’s license division have the experience and knowledge to give you the best chance at success at this hearing. We can also assist you in working to get the underlying DUI case dismissed so that a suspension will not take effect later. Call our office today at (801) 758-2287 for a free consultation.