Utah Attorney for a Driver’s License Division (DLD) Hearing
Driving under the influence, or DUI, is one of the most common criminal charges brought against individuals across the state of Utah. However, it is also taken very seriously because driving under the influence is incredibly dangerous and can result in some very harsh penalties. Aside from hefty fines and long jail sentences, you could also face a suspension of your driver’s license for months or years, rendering you unable to get around or get to work in some cases. You can fight this suspension of your license at what is known as a driver’s license division (DLD) hearing, a proceeding that you must request in a timely manner or the suspension will automatically take effect.
At Overson Law, PLLC, our veteran Utah attorneys for a driver’s license division (DLD) hearing have many years of experience working with clients to request this hearing in a timely manner and to make the most persuasive arguments to allow you to keep your license. We understand the factors that the hearing officer is going to find most compelling when deciding whether to make an exception to the automatic license suspension requirement for those arrested on DUI. Then, we can help you deal with the underlying charges.
For a free case analysis with our attorneys for DLD hearings, call Overson Law, PLLC today at (801) 758-2287.
What Happens to Your Driver’s License When You Are Arrested for DUI in Utah
When you are arrested for a DUI in Utah, there is a series of events that is going to take place which could result in you having your license suspended or losing it altogether. This could make it very difficult to hold down a job or do other everyday activities. For that reason, it is important that you contact our attorneys for DLD hearings so that you have the best chance of getting a good outcome after being arrested for driving under the influence.
Immediately After Arrest
After your arrest for DUI, the arresting officer will typically confiscate your driver’s license and issue you a citation that will serve as your temporary license for the next month. Once that temporary license runs out, you cannot drive because you do not have a license. If you choose to drive anyway and are later pulled over, you can face criminal penalties beyond the DUI that resulted in a temporary license.
If you are an out-of-state resident, your license will not be confiscated. However, your license will be suspended for 120 days for a first offense or two years for a subsequent offense. If you are between 19 and 21 years old, the suspension will last for one year or until you are 21, whichever is longer.
Note that if you live outside the state, your driving privileges will be suspended in Utah only. You will still have a valid license in other states because you can only be charged under Utah’s state laws and not the laws of any other state. However, other states may be able to look up DUI convictions in other states and may consider them prior offenses for any infractions in their jurisdictions or automatically suspend your license for a DUI in another state.
Getting pulled over for a DUI in Utah when you have an out-of-state license will not result in your license being revoked by Utah police or the DLD. Utah cannot take away a driver’s license issued by a different state. However, Utah can restrict any driver from any state from driving on Utah roads and highways. This poses a serious challenge for people who are frequent visitors to Utah, have recently moved to Utah, or live in another state but work in Utah.
Requesting a Driver’s License Division Hearing
At this point, you will have ten days from the date of your arrest to request a hearing with the Utah Driver’s License Division, or DLD. If you fail to request this hearing, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for the prescribed statutory duration for your offense beginning 30 days after your DUI arrest occurred. Because of this limited time frame, it is vital that you reach out to our skilled Utah attorney for a Driver’s License Division hearing as soon as possible after your arrest. After we have dealt with getting you out of jail, we will get to work right away on helping you fill out and submit the form requesting this hearing in a timely and complete manner.
Felony DUIs in Utah
Most driving under the influence charges in Utah are misdemeanors. However, facts and circumstances can make DUI charges felony or “aggravated” DUIs. A felony due is a much more serious charge with significantly harsher fines and prison terms attached. Moreover, felony DUIs tend to be prosecuted more vigorously than misdemeanor DUIs.
Your license is far more likely to be suspended if you are facing felony DUI charges. Our lawyers are just as effective at representing clients with felony DUI charges as they are clients with misdemeanor DUI charges.
What Happens at a Utah Driver’s License Division Hearing?
The next step after being charged with a DUI and scheduling a DLD hearing is the hearing itself. The hearing is essentially a mini trial without a jury. The sole matter at issue is whether your license is going to be suspended. You cannot be convicted of criminal charges at a DLD hearing.
Contents of a Driver’s License Division Hearing
If requested, the Driver’s License Division hearing will be held within 29 days of your DUI arrest, and the license suspension will automatically begin on the 30th day if no action is taken. At this hearing, you and our attorneys for DLD hearings will have a chance to challenge all of the evidence against you, such as the results of your breathalyzer test or blood or urine tests, the method by which the stop and any roadside tests were conducted, the way paperwork was completed, and the testimony of the police officer who pulled you over. The officer will usually call in over the phone rather than appear in person. If the officer fails to appear at all, which commonly occurs in these cases, there is a good chance that your request will be granted, and your license will be restored, at least temporarily.
Administrative Law Judges
The decision at this hearing is made by an “administrative law judge,” who does not have to be an actual judge or even a licensed attorney. Instead, they are bureaucrats at the driver’s license division who often have no legal background at all. Because of this, the style and substance of the arguments at this hearing will be very different from those in a normal courtroom. This is why it is important to have legal counsel with experience present at these particular proceedings, like the skilled DLD hearing attorneys at Overson Law, PLLC. If the administrative law judge rules against you, we can file a motion for reconsideration, but your license suspension will take effect the 30th day after the arrest even if an appeal is pending.
Civil and Criminal Components of Your DUI Case in Utah
When you are arrested for a DUI, there will be both civil and criminal matters to deal with. The issue of your license suspension is a civil matter. According to Utah law, your license is automatically suspended when you are arrested for a DUI, and you have a limited time, about ten days, to request a DLD hearing to contest the suspension. This occurs separately from the criminal hearing, where you will be found guilty or not guilty of the DUI.
The civil and criminal hearings operate independently of each other. The outcome of one hearing will not impact the outcome of the other. This means if you are found guilty of the DUI charges in criminal court, you may still have your license revoked at the DLD hearing. Similarly, if your license is not revoked at your DLD hearing, you can still be found guilty of the DUI charges in criminal court. Our Utah attorney for driver’s license division hearings can help you fight your suspension and your criminal charges.
The Civil Hearing
The civil hearing with the DLD will only focus on your driver’s license and whether it should be suspended. At the DLD hearing, the arresting officer must prove that their belief that you violated Utah DUI laws was reasonable. This means that a reasonable police officer, under the circumstances, would suspect that you were driving under the influence. This is a very low burden and very easy for the officer to meet.
The Criminal Hearing
The criminal hearing will focus on other factors and determine things like criminal penalties At the criminal hearing, the court will be presented with evidence like officer testimony, eyewitness accounts, and the results of any breathalyzer or blood tests you underwent. Additionally, you can call your own witnesses and present your own evidence to establish your side of the argument. If you wish, you can testify on the stand yourself, although whether you should do so or not will be dependent on the facts of the case and is a matter to go over with our lawyers. The criminal hearing has a higher burden of proof in which a prosecutor must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Appealing a Driver’s License Division Hearing in Utah
If the DLD ultimately decides to revoke or suspend your driver’s license, you may have the option to appeal that decision. While the DLD hearing is a bit less formal than an ordinary hearing, the appeal is a bit more serious. Your appeal hearing will focus heavily on your due process rights. This generally refers to something that went wrong procedurally during the hearing. You cannot appeal simply because you do not like the result of your hearing. If you do, the appeal will be denied, the outcome will not have been changed, and you probably will have just wasted some time.
Demonstrating your rights were violated is key to winning the appeal. You need to show that there was some sort of problem with how the court or the other side’s lawyer handled things. For example, if evidence that was supposed to be suppressed was allowed into trial anyway, you may be able to appeal based on that error. Other examples of conduct that may warrant an appeal of your DLD hearing include witnesses saying things at your DLD hearing that they were not supposed to say or a misinterpretation of the law by the administrative judge.
Additionally, you may call witnesses to testify on your behalf. Moreover, more formal rules of evidence, such as the rule against hearsay, may be in effect. Contact our Utah attorney driver’s license division hearings for help with your hearing or your appeal.
Length of License Suspensions for a Utah DUI
If you are not successful in your appeal before the DLD, or any further appeals, or if you are successful there but ultimately convicted of DUI at trial, there will be an automatic suspension of your license. The amount of time your license will be suspended will depend on a few factors, the main one being whether you have any previous DUI convictions. For a first DUI offense, the suspension period will be 120 days. For a second or further conviction, the license’s suspension will be for 2 years. If you are under the legal drinking age, the length of time will be increased. For those under 19, you will have an automatic suspension of 6 months, and if you are 19 or 20, the suspension will automatically be for 2 years.
Furthermore, the automatic suspension period will also be increased if you refuse to take a Breathalyzer test as required by law. If you refuse to submit to a chemical test and there is an administrative revocation, or you are convicted of the crime of refusal to submit to a chemical test, your license will be suspended for 18 months for a first offense. For a second or subsequent offense involving a refusal resulting in administrative revocation or conviction, the suspension will be for a period of 36 months.
The suspension period can be further extended if you violate the suspension during its term. For example, if you decide to drive a motor vehicle anyway when your license is suspended, the suspension period will be extended. It can be extended further if you drive under the influence while your license suspension is in effect.
Reinstating Your License After a DUI Suspension from the DLD in Utah
If your driver’s license is unfortunately suspended despite your efforts, we will need to begin working on getting your license reinstated. For drivers at least 21 years of age, they simply have to reapply for a new license when the suspension is over. However, the rules are different for drivers younger than 21. In many cases involving underage drivers, they are arrested under Utah’s Not-a-Drop rule. This rule means that underage drivers can be arrested for having any alcohol in their system even if it is under the legal limits for a DUI.
A license suspended for a Not-a-Drop arrest can only be reinstated after an assessment and recommendation from a local substance abuse authority program. If the program recommends no further action, your license may be reinstated once the suspension period is over. However, if the program recommends further actions are necessary, there will be additional hoops to jump through.
If further action is recommended, you will need to complete whatever that further action is. For example, this could be additional substance abuse courses or completion of a treatment program. The recommendation must be completed before your license can be reinstated. Our Utah attorney for driver’s license division hearings can help you find a substance abuse authority program and begin the process of getting your license back.
Getting an Impounded Vehicle Released After a DUI in Utah
In many cases, when someone is arrested for a DUI in Utah, the police will impound their vehicle. Vehicles cannot simply be left along the side of the road, and the police will not allow a possibly drunk driver to drive the vehicle home. So, vehicles tend to be impounded after a DUI arrest. Getting a vehicle back does not actually require a DLD hearing. However, the outcome of a DLD hearing could affect the fees you must pay to get your car released.
To get your vehicle released after a DUI, you must have a legal photo I.D. ready that proves you to be the registered owner. Since most people’s most common form of legal identification is their driver’s license, and driver’s licenses are confiscated upon arrest for a suspected DUI, this could prove difficult. Fortunately, our lawyers can work with police and other entities to help you get photo identification to request the return of your impounded vehicle. You must also have a copy of the TC-540 Vehicle Impound Report. This will be provided to you by the officer who arrested you. This report must show that the vehicle is properly registered before it is released. If it is not registered, you will have to register the vehicle and pay any associated fees before getting your vehicle back. Finally, you will need to pay an administrative fee.
At your DLD hearing, the hearing officer will determine if your license will be suspended or revoked. If your license is not suspended or revoked for whatever reason, you can get the administrative fee refunded to you. You will need to bring a letter from the driver’s license division stating that your license is not suspended or revoked and you must submit that letter within 180 days of the letter being issued to you. Our Utah attorney for driver’s license division hearings can help you through this process and avoid paying extra fees.
Most Utah residents arrested for DUI do not realize there is an entirely separate process that exists for determining whether or not their license will be suspended, nor are they aware of the fact that they only have 10 days after their arrest to fight a suspension by requesting a DLD hearing. This is just one of the many reasons why it is important to reach out to an experienced Utah attorney for a driver’s license division (DLD) hearing as soon after your arrest as possible. We can make sure the hearing is properly requested and then work on a case to convince the administrative law judge that your license should not be suspended prior to an actual conviction.
Call Our Skilled Utah Attorneys for a Driver’s License Division (DLD) Hearing Today
For a free consultation, contact our Utah attorneys for driver’s license division hearings today at Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287.