Being arrested for DUI can be a distressing and incredibly disorienting experience, especially if this is your first time dealing with the criminal justice system. Even if you understand the basics of what is about to happen to you, such as the facts that you will be required to submit to a Breathalyzer test and that a bail hearing will likely occur, you are probably unaware that a determination about whether or not your driver’s license will be suspended will be made in a parallel, but entirely separate, process. Rather than the courts, this process goes through an agency of the Department of Public Safety (DPS) known as the driver’s license division (DLD). Furthermore, the onus is on your to request a hearing before this division or your license will automatically be suspended not long after your arrest.
At Overson & Bugden, our veteran Salt Lake City attorneys for a driver’s license division (DLD) hearing have years of experience successfully helping our clients to request this hearing and making the best possible case for them to keep their licenses. We will leave no stone unturned making your case before the DLD, and can then turn our attentions to helping you get the underlying charges against you downgraded or dismissed. Contact us today for a free consultation at (801) 758-2287.
What Happens to Your Driver’s License after a Salt Lake City DUI Arrest
If you are arrested for DUI in Salt Lake City, your license will typically be confiscated by the police and your citation for the offense will serve as your temporary driver’s license for the next 30 days. 30 days after your arrest, this temporary license will automatically expire and a license suspension will begin. The only way to prevent this is to request, within 10 days of your arrest, a hearing before the DLD. The quicker you contact a skilled criminal defense attorney like those at Overson & Bugden after your arrest, the more time we will have to make sure that you file all the necessary paperwork to request this hearing in a timely manner. If requested correctly, the hearing will be held within 29 days of your arrest, before the 30 day cutoff for your temporary license.
If you fail to request this hearing or if the hearing does not go your way, the suspension will take effect on the 30th day after the DUI arrest. The length of the suspension will depend on your age, whether you have been previously convicted of DUI, and whether you refused to take the Breathalyzer test as required by law. For those 21 or above, a first time offense will come with a 120 day license suspension. A second or subsequent offense will come with a 2 year license suspension. Those under 19 receive an automatic 6-month license suspension and those who are 19 or 20 receive a 2 year suspension. If you refused the Breathalyzer test and had an administrative revocation or a criminal conviction for refusal, you will face an automatic 18-month suspension for a first offense and a 36-month suspension for any subsequent convictions.
How The Driver’s License Division (DLD) Hearing Works in Salt Lake City
As noted above, if properly requested, the DLD hearing will be scheduled within 29 days of your arrest. This hearing is run by someone known as administrative law judge, who will make the ultimate decision about whether your license suspension should take effect after hearing from both sides. An administrative law judge is not an actual judge or even a lawyer necessarily, but is rather a bureaucrat who works for the DLD. As such, the way arguments work and decisions are made at this hearing are different from what goes in an actual court of law. For this reason, it is vital that you have an attorney, like those at Overson & Bugden, with experience making the case for clients at DLD hearings in particular.
At the hearing we will have an opportunity to refute or call into question the strength of the evidence against you, including challenging what is in the police report, challenging the way the Breathalyzer test was administered, pointing out mishandled paperwork or chain of custody issues, and generally arguing to the administrative law judge that the case is not certain enough to justify taking away your right to drive a vehicle without a full trial in a court of law. The officer will usually appear via calling in over the phone, but sometimes the officer fails to call in on time. If this happens, the judge will typically grant your request to keep your license, as a decision is difficult to make without the testimony of the complaining witness.
If we are not successful at this hearing, our skilled lawyers can file a motion for reconsideration, which will go before a panel of DLD employees. However, your license suspension will take effect in the meantime, beginning on the 30th day after the arrest. If we are successful at the hearing, you will be able to get back your license and continue driving while your case proceeds through the system. However, if you are ultimately convicted of or plead guilty to DUI, the license suspension will still take effect. As such, it is important to have a skilled DUI defense lawyer like those at Overson & Bugden fighting to get your underlying charges dismissed at the same time we are working on your DLD hearing.
Contact our Seasoned Salt Lake City Attorneys for a Driver’s License Division (DLD) Hearing Today
For many people, not having a driver’s license would make it impossible to get to work, take their kids where they need to be, or complete other tasks that are part of their daily lives. As such, it is important after a DUI arrest that you not forget to request the DLD hearing and fight to keep your license from being automatically suspended. At Overson & Bugden, our skilled Salt Lake City attorneys for a driver’s license division (DLD) hearing can help you request the hearing a timely manner and fight for you at this proceeding to convince the administrative law judge that your license should not be suspended. After that, we can turn our attentions to the underlying charges in criminal court. Contact us at (801) 758-2287 today for a free consultation.