Driver’s License/Administrative Hearings
Interviewer: When you’re arrested, will your license be taken or will they just give you a notice that you have to appear for a hearing and it may be taken?
Brett Hollett: No. Actually, they physically take your driver’s license when you’re arrested. They’ll give you a yellow piece of paper which is called an AST-60. That AST-60 will give you notice, the Department of Public Safety has intent to suspend your driving privileges and those driving privileges will be suspended 45 days after the day of your arrest if you don’t take any further action.
Interviewer: People have what – ten days – to request a hearing with the Motor Vehicle Department?
Brett Hollett: Yeah. They have ten days to request a hearing with the Department of Public Safety. They’ll set these hearings with the state trooper. If you miss your ten-day window though, you can request an administrative review within the 45-days. If a review is granted in lieu of a hearing, someone from the Department of Public Safety will simply look over all of their paperwork to make sure it meets the statutory requirements to allow DPS to move forward and administratively suspend your license. Typically, the hearings are pretty uneventful but it is a procedural due process hoop that we have to jump through. If the DPS informs you they are still preceding with an administrative suspension after the hearing, we can file a civil lawsuit. We can file an injunction against the Department of Public Safety and have a circuit judge sign an order enjoining the Department of Public Safety from suspending your license. That person would be able to continue to drive until we’re able to have a hearing or until we’re able to settle your driver’s license case with the Department of Public Safety.
Interviewer: At these hearings, are you able to get people’s licenses back?
Brett Hollett: Unfortunately, the hearings are really just, a procedural hoop that we have to jump through. The hearings are very short. They last five to ten minutes, and it’s done by a state trooper who has no involvement in the case whatsoever. All they’re going to ask are, “Is this you?” “Were you the person driving your car that night?” “Were you traveling on a city, county or state road or highway?” “Did you have actual physical control of vehicle?” and “Were you asked to submit to a chemical test?” “If so, you either refused the test or if you didn’t refuse, you submitted a BAC result of 0.08% or higher?” Those are the only prongs that they have to meet to move forward with the administrative suspension, but like I said, going to that hearing gives us the right to then file a petition in the Circuit Court and have a judge sign an injunction that allows our clients to continue to drive.
Interviewer: If you lose this hearing, how long will it be suspended? Will it be suspended again if they lose in the criminal court?
Brett Hollett: Right now, we’re not going to win the administrative hearing. What we do after the administrative hearing is we file the civil lawsuit on your behalf and a judge will sign the order that will allow you to continue to drive. There’s a 90-day suspension at that point, and we can then start discussions with the attorneys at the Department of Public Safety to typically reduce those suspension times down from the 90 days to sometimes 45 days or less in a lot of cases.
Interviewer: It will just be a suspension; the Department of Public Safety won’t punish you as an add-on to the criminal court suspension, right?
Brett Hollett: Yeah. That is why it’s important if you can avoid a conviction on your criminal proceeding. If you’re found guilty or pled guilty in the criminal proceeding, they are supposed to stack that suspension on top of any kind of administrative suspension you’ve already served or we’ve already negotiated for you on your behalf. That’s why it’s important to either have your case pled down to something else or have your cases dismissed altogether so you’re not facing an additional suspension.
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