If You Want To Stay On The Road After a DUI, You Need To Act Fast – And Hire An Experienced DUI Defense Lawyer
Keeping your license after a DUI is neither automatic nor easy. To overcome the immediate suspension of your driving privileges that follows a DUI arrest, you need to take affirmative steps to get your license back and do so quickly. An experienced Colorado Springs DUI defense attorney can help you keep your license after a DUI and get you back on the road.
You Face Automatic License Suspension After a DUI Arrest In Colorado
Once police arrest you for suspicion of driving under the influence, Colorado law requires the automatic suspension of your license. How long that suspension will last depends on whether this was your first DUI arrest and charge or a second or subsequent one. Specifically:
- A first-time DUI will get you a nine-month license suspension
- A second DUI offense will yield a one-year license suspension
- For your third or more DUIs, you face a license suspension of two years
You will also forfeit your right to drive and have your license suspended should you refuse to submit to the request for a chemical test after an officer stops you for suspicion of DUI. Whether you know it or not, by driving on Colorado roads and highways, you have already given your consent to a chemical test if an officer pulls you over and has a reasonable suspicion you are intoxicated or impaired.
As with a DUI, withdrawal of that consent and refusal to submit to the chemical testing process requested by an officer will do little toward keeping your license after a DUI. You can expect to be hit with a one-year driver’s license suspension if it is your first refusal. Another refusal will get you a two-year suspension, and your license will gather dust for three years after a third or subsequent incident.
What Happens To Your Driver’s License and Driving Privileges After A DUI?
While a Colorado Springs police officer may have the authority to pull you over, ask you to submit to testing, and ultimately arrest you for DUI, they don’t have the power to suspend your license. Rather, the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has the authority to suspend your license and holds the fate of your driving privileges in its hands. And if you act quickly, one of those potential fates can be the retention of your license and driving privileges while your DUI criminal case proceeds. Here’s how keeping your license after a DUI works.
If you consent to a chemical test and your BAC (blood alcohol content) exceeds Colorado’s legal limit, the officer will issue you two notices, both of which are filed with the DMV: a Notice of Revocation and a Notice of Express Consent Affidavit. Upon receipt, the DMV then sends a letter advising you of the test results and notifying you that you have to request a hearing within ten days of the date of the letter. If the DMV does not receive that request request, they will exercise their authority to revoke your driver’s license on the 11th day from the date of their letter.
Suppose a police officer arrests you for DUI, and you choose to refuse to submit to the chemical test to determine your BAC. In that case, the arresting officer will still provide you with, and submit to the DMV, a Notice of Revocation and a Notice of Express Consent Affidavit. Again, these documents notify you that you can request a hearing about reinstating your license. However, the time you have to make that request is shorter – you have only seven days from the date of your arrest to subject the request. If you do not request a hearing within that time, the DMV will revoke your license on the eighth day after the arrest.
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How Hiring a DUI Defense Attorney Is The Key To Keeping Your License After a DUI
The DMV must hold a hearing about restoring your driving privileges within 60 days of receiving your request for a hearing, during which time period you are still able to drive legally. At the hearing a DMV appointed administrative hearing officer will preside over the proceedings and decide whether or not to remove your license suspension.
While this hearing is not a criminal proceeding (that is a separate part of your defense), it is a critical moment in your DUI ordeal: your ability to drive to work, drop off or pick up your kids, and live your life without daily inconvenience and disruption for weeks, months, or even years hangs in the balance. This is not a proceeding to take lightly, nor one you should go into without experienced counsel.
At the license hearing, your lawyer can argue for keeping your license after a DUI by presenting testimony and evidence that you were not driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs, or the officer made errors or violated your rights during the traffic stop or the testing process.
If you prevail at your DMV license hearing, you are again able to legally drive. If the hearing does not conclude in your favor, the DMV will suspend your licenses for the length of time discussed above. While an ongoing suspension is undoubtedly unwelcome, the hearing can still be a valuable opportunity to challenge and poke holes in the prosecutor’s case. The hearing can essentially serve as a “practice run” for your DUI case, putting you in a stronger position to avoid a conviction.
Don’t Leave Keeping Your License After a DUI to Chance
After your arrest for drunk driving, time is not on your side. As noted, you have minimal time to request a hearing that can restore your driving privileges. That is why immediately contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney after your arrest is so essential. The best DUI defense attorney in Colorado Springs will represent you in both the criminal proceedings and at the DMV hearing, giving you the best shot of keeping your license after a DUI.
If you face DUI charges in Southern Colorado, contact the experienced criminal and DUI lawyers at James Newby Law for your free, confidential initial consultation.