During the driver’s time at the police station, an officer will review a form with the driver regarding the driver’s right to refuse a breath or blood test and the consequences of refusal. The form essentially informs the driver that s/he can refuse to take the requested test and receive a 6 month license suspension. In the alternative, the driver can agree to take the blood or breath test. However, if the result is 0.08 bac (0.02 in some circumstances) or higher, the driver also receives a 6 month license suspension. It’s a very difficult decision and it must be made right away without the benefit of any consultation or other information.
Once the driver has either refused to submit to a breath or blood test or tested over the legal limit, the driver will be given a pink carbon copy of a form to be used as a temporary driver’s license. From that moment, time begins running on a series of deadlines for challenging the “automatic” license suspension. DUI law is replete with deadlines and other mechanisms built in to DUI law that discourage drivers from exercising their rights to challenge the accusations both at the administrative agency and at the courthouse. The whole process will seem unfair.
Knowing that the process is unfair and that the rules are stacked against the driver and heavily in favor of the police, one must take every opportunity to uncover a thread that will demonstrate that the accusations are inaccurate. The fight begins with the request for a hearing on the police Petition for Administrative License Suspension (ALS). If that request is not filed quickly, the driver’s license may go under suspension for some period of time even if s/he is successful at challenging the petition. The suspension begins in 30 days whether the hearing on the petition has been held or not. The ALS request should be submitted immediately in most cases. A for hearing request received by the Bureau more than 30 days from the date that the ALS notice is issued will be denied.
The Bureau of Hearings will review the request, determine whether it meets every criteria that Bureau has for such requests, and either reject it or schedule a hearing. Assuming that the hearing request is eventually accepted by the Bureau and a hearing is scheduled, a defense must be prepared. The defenses that a driver can present are restricted and the restrictions are strictly enforced.
The scope of the hearing will be limited to the issues of jurisdiction and:
Those are the issues that the driver is allowed to raise during a hearing. There are many stumbling blocks before the driver even gets a hearing and more when the driver arrives to attend his/her first ALS hearing. The rest of the people at the hearing are experienced and trained in DUI law and hearings. The ALS hearing is not something that the driver should attend without counsel.
For a free initial consultation, call Shawn Sweeney (603) 589-8015. Bring experience on board early.