If the police pull you over, and the officer alleges that you were under the influence of alcohol, drugs or intoxicating medication, they may have taken your drivers’ license. They probably gave you notice of your right to a DMV administrative hearing on the suspension of your license. If this happened to you, you might have wondered what a DMV administrative hearing is, and how it’s different from criminal DUI proceedings.
The difference between the two hearings
The main difference between the two hearings is that a DUI criminal hearing is mandatory, while a DMV administrative hearing is optional. In other words, you must attend your criminal hearing, but a DMV administrative hearing is an opportunity that you can choose to take advantage of if you want to.
A DUI criminal proceeding is when a judge in a criminal court oversees a case concerning your alleged violation of the law. The prosecutor will present evidence of why you should face legal penalties, while your attorney will present your defense.
A DMV administrative hearing, on the other hand, is when a civil judge looks over the facts of your case in order to determine whether they should suspend or revoke your drivers’ license, or if they should return it to you.
What happens at the hearing
If you choose to attend this hearing, you can schedule it within 30 days of the offense. You can have the same attorney with you who will be representing you in your criminal trial. If needed, the attorney can also assist you in filling out and filing the proper forms and paying the necessary fees.
At the hearing, your attorney will be given a chance to make your side of the story heard and present your case for why you do not deserve to have your license suspended. With luck, you may be able to recover your drivers’ license until your criminal hearing.