Utah Attorney for a Driver’s License Division (DLD) Hearing

Salt Lake criminal defense lawyer

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. However, you will have a chance to 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 & Bugden, 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 consultation, call Overson & Bugden today at (801) 758-2287.

What Happens to Your Driver’s License When You Are Arrested for DUI in Utah

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. If you are an out-of-state resident, your license will not be confiscated. At this point, you will have ten days from the date of your arrest to request a hearing with the 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 (DLD) 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.

Your license may not be revoked or suspended for out-of-state drivers, but your driving privileges in Utah will be affected. 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.

What Happens at a Utah Driver’s License Division Hearing?

If requested, the DLD hearing will be held within 29 days of your DUI arrest, as the license suspension will automatically begin on the 30th day if no action is taken. At this hearing, you and your lawyer 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 way the stop and any roadside tests were conducted, the way paperwork was completed, and the testimony of the officer, who 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.

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 is very different from those in a normal courtroom. This is why it is important have legal counsel with experience at these particular proceedings, like the skilled attorneys at Overson & Bugden. 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 with the DLD will only focus on your driver’s license and whether it should be suspended. The criminal hearing will focus on other factors and determine things like criminal penalties. At the DLD hearing, the arresting officer must prove that their belief that you violated Utah DUI laws was reasonable. This is a very low burden and very easy for the officer to meet. The criminal hearing has a higher burden 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 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. Demonstrating your rights were violated is key to winning the appeal. Additionally, you may call witnesses to testify on your behalf and 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.

Reinstating Your License After a DUI Suspension from the DLD in Utah

If your driver’s license is unfortunately suspended, 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 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. 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.

Call Our Skilled Utah Attorneys for a Driver’s License Division (DLD) Hearing Today

Most Utahns 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. For a free consultation, contact our Utah attorney for driver’s license division hearings today at Overson & Bugden at (801) 758-2287.