The majority of traffic violations are fairly straightforward, and they merely require that drivers pay a fine and perhaps attend safe driving classes — but these light penalties are only given if a driver rarely makes traffic violations, and if the violation in question neither put others in serious danger, nor caused significant property damage.
But sometimes accidents happen, even to the best of us. You happen to get a few speeding tickets, maybe you have a couple red light violations too (those traffic cameras are never where you’d expect them to be). You go out after work for drinks one night, and you’ve been so stressed out lately that you forget you haven’t eaten all day — and when you see the flashing lights in your rearview mirror as you’re driving home, you realize that you’ve messed up.
If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), you’ll likely find yourself confronted with a big decision: whether to file for a DMV hearing and fight the accusation, or whether to accept the charge and the punishments. If you decide not to file a DMV hearing after your first or second DUI charge, at the very least, you’ll have your license suspended for a while.
But if you do choose to fight a traffic ticket where you’ve been charged with DUI, you’ll have 10 days after the initial arrest to file for a hearing in court. If you aren’t familiar with legal proceedings at all, not to worry — here are a few things regarding what to expect at a DMV hearing:
- Many drivers choose to work with a DUI defense attorney after being arrested, and this is often a wise choice. Not only will your attorney be able to find small gaps in potentially incriminating evidence, but he/she attends DMV hearings regularly and can even represent you at this hearing — you don’t actually have to be there yourself.
- After being arrested for a DUI, your license will likely be confiscated and you’ll be given a temporary license that’s good for 30 days. However, because DMV hearings often cannot be scheduled within 30 days of the initial arrest, your temporary license can be extended until the hearing takes place (because what if you’re actually completely innocent, and your license is taken away? This is all part of that “innocent until proven guilty” thing).
- Although every case is different, most DUI attorneys recommend that the driver always requests a hearing after being charged. This is because DMV hearings allow uninvolved third parties to examine all the documents closely and see if anything looks fishy — everything from breathalyzer test results, to blood test results, to official police documents will be inspected.
It may take a while for your hearing to be organized and to take place, and you’ll have to be ready to pay lawyer fees and court fees. But ultimately, if you’ve been charged with reckless driving or DUI, DMV hearings are one of your constitutional rights. Research more here.