How to Get a DMV Court Hearing on a DUI Ticket

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Last year, as the state geared up for the coronavirus pandemic, DMV offices and bureaus closed. This allowed them to shift the hearing process to online only.

A DMV hearing is an administrative proceeding about your driving privileges. It has a lower burden of proof than a criminal court DUI case. Visit website.

How to Request a DMV Hearing

When you receive a DUI ticket you have the right to request a hearing with the DMV within 10 days of the date of your arrest. This is an administrative review and it is separate from the court case.

Unlike a court trial where you have the right against self-incrimination, at a DMV hearing the officer can be asked to testify about the facts of the incident. It is also permissible for the hearing officer to rely on documents such as police reports, laboratory reports and the officer’s sworn affidavit.

Although it is possible to lose a DMV hearing, it can be a valuable tool for your attorney to evaluate the strength and weakness of the State’s case in your criminal case. In the legal world, it is not uncommon for the hearing officer to use the magic words, “Set Aside.” That means that they have rebutted the State’s case and any further action against your driving privilege will be halted.

What to Expect at a DMV Hearing

Many people are unaware that their license can be suspended even before their criminal case reaches the court. This suspension can occur if they refuse a breath or blood test for alcohol, have a high level of drugs in their system, or fail field sobriety tests.

At the DMV hearing, the driver has an opportunity to review and challenge the evidence used by the arresting officer to suspend or revoke a driving privilege. The hearing officer is a state employee who has specialized training and does not have a law degree.

The hearing officer will consider whether the arresting officer had reasonable suspicion of DUI and if he or she saw true indications of intoxication such as slurred speech or bloodshot eyes. The officer will also bring in the results of any chemical testing that was taken and recount observations of the person being stopped.

The DMV is obligated to weigh all of this information and make a decision about the driver’s driving privilege. A good NYC DMV lawyer can make sure that the hearing is as fair as possible.

Representation at a DMV Hearing

Every person has the right to a hearing before DMV to challenge any discretionary action taken against their driving privileges. Generally, you must request the hearing within 10 days of receiving notice of the action from DMV.

In a hearing, a Driver Safety Hearing Officer from DMV will conduct the administrative review of your case. The hearing is conducted somewhat like a miniature trial, but without a jury and with different rules of evidence. The hearing officer will examine the original police report, the breath or blood test records, and other relevant documents.

Normally, you will not be required to testify at the hearing. However, if you choose to testify, anything that you say can be used against you later on in your DUI criminal case.

A skilled lawyer can often win a DMV hearing based upon an illegal stop or a problem with the breath, blood, or urine test. Winning the DMV hearing can often lead to your license being set aside and can have a positive impact on the outcome of your criminal DUI case.

Appeals to the DMV

When a person is arrested for DUI, their license suspension will typically go into effect automatically unless they request a hearing with the DMV within a certain time period. In many cases, a successful DMV hearing can prevent your license from being suspended while your criminal case is pending and can keep you driving during this critical time.

Unlike the criminal court, where the burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt, the DMV hearing has a lower standard, by the preponderance of evidence. This can make it easier for the government to win a hearing, especially when the defendant is not represented by an experienced attorney.

If you lose a DMV hearing, you have 42 days from the date of the record on review to file an appeal with the district court where your hearing was held. Your brief should contain detailed arguments as to why the DMV or court was wrong in its decision.