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Two Actions in a DUI Case

Posted on:7/3/2012
There are two separate actions in a DUI case - the criminal case against you and the administrative license suspension. In the criminal case, you will be charged with DUI, i.e. driving or operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.


The criminal case is just like any other criminal case but there will not be a jury. The judge will hear the police and you and then decide on whether or not you are guilty as charged. Like any other criminal case, you as the defendant will have the right to fight the charges against you. You can plead not guilty.


In administrative license suspension is an administrative act. This is not done by the court. Instead the state DMV will suspend your license for a certain number of days. In most states, you can request an administrative hearing before the suspension.


The administrative hearing will be conducted by an administrative officer. You can have an attorney assist you with the hearing. In most states, an attorney can represent you at the hearing. If you are able to convince the administrative officer that your license should not be suspended, your license will not be suspended.


While a license suspension can alter your life, the more important  reason to fight a license suspension is to establish   the  police officers testimony at your DUI trial. At the license suspension hearing, you or your attorney can ask questions from the officer. You can then repeat the same questions at your DUI trial. This gives you and your attorney a chance to counter the evidence offered  by the police officer at your DUI trial. If you don’t have such  testimony,  you really don’t have much evidence at your DUI trial. Only a competent attorney can  take advantage of a license suspension hearing  to impeach a police officer at a DUI trial.

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