Getting your license back after DUI conviction might not be as easy as you think. Even first-time offenders can have their licenses suspended for a year or longer if they refuse to take the chemical BAC test or fail to schedule a DMV hearing within a short period of time. Depending on where you are driving, even a single drink could result in an expensive conviction that brings almost every aspect of your life to a halt. An experienced attorney can tell you how to get your license back after DUI conviction and some steps that you can take to have the charges expunged from your record.
License Suspensions and Revocations
The majority of drivers don’t realize how complex DUIs can be until they are arrested and booked. Getting your license back after DUI isn’t always as simple as sending in a new application to the DMV. Not only can the judge suspend your license, but you can also have an administrative suspension. In some cases, even the arresting officer can suspend the driver’s license as they are being booked. DMV administrative suspensions generally take place when a driver refuses to submit to a chemical BAC test.
Many of the states throughout the country now have “implied consent” laws. These laws state that all drivers must submit to a chemical BAC test if they are asked by a law enforcement officer. Even if you are from a different state, driving on public roadways within that state is considered consent. Drivers who refuse to take these tests will automatically have their licenses taken away from them on the spot. You will then need to speak with an attorney who can tell you exactly how to get your license back after a DUI arrest. In most states, drivers have around 10 days to contact the DMV to schedule an administrative hearing. During that hearing, they will need to present a compelling argument before a DMV panel or hearing officer. Getting your license back after DUI arrest will most likely require multiple hearings before the DMV panel and judge.
A Closer Look at The Administrative Per Se Hearing (APS)
Immediately after you are arrested and charged, the law enforcement officer is required by law to submit a report to the DMV. That report must include information such as your recorded BAC, what you are officially being charged with, and why you were originally pulled over. If you don’t schedule a hearing within 10 days, then an administrative panel will go over that information behind closed doors and come to a conclusion. Repeat offenders can have their licenses suspended by a DMV hearing officer for three or more years if they refuse to submit to a chemical BAC test. First-time offenders who don’t cooperate will typically have their licenses suspended for a minimum of one year.
Just as in a criminal hearing, you can have an attorney by your side during your APS. There will also be a “prosecutor” present who will try to establish a case against you. The biggest difference between a DMV hearing and a criminal hearing is that the DMV’s hearing officer has the final say. If they have any reason to believe that you might be dangerous while behind the wheel, then they can suspend your license.
Well before your hearing, your lawyer will tell you how to get your license back after DUI arrest. These initial hearings can be somewhat complicated, and only a handful of facts can be brought up against you. That includes why you were placed under arrest, the legality of your arrest, what your BAC was at the time of your arrest, if you refused to take the chemical BAC test, and any physical impairments that might have prevented you from taking the BAC test. The arresting officer doesn’t have to testify, but the DMV may ask them to be present or reach out to them for more information.
How To Get Your License Back After DUI Conviction
Getting your license back after DUI conviction is a much different process. Unfortunately, a driver won’t have their license automatically reinstated after they have paid their fines and completed their sentence. The first step is to schedule a new hearing with the court so that you can present your case before the judge. During this hearing, the judge will want to verify that you have fulfilled all of the stipulations of your sentence. That might include penalties such as taking alcohol abuse classes, installing an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, or completing community service hours.
Many of these penalties can be confusing, but your attorney will connect you with local businesses and organizations in order to make your transition as easy as possible. One of the first things you will need to do is contact an insurance provider to discuss your options for SR-22 insurance. Also referred to as a financial responsibility filing, this type of insurance is designed for high-risk drivers. That includes those who have been convicted of charges such as a DUI or reckless driving. Once you have proof of insurance, you might then need to contact a state-approved company to have the ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle.
Throughout each of these steps, you and your lawyer must keep copies of everything you do. Those who don’t have the proper paperwork to present before the judge and DMV might have to start the process over. Unlike other forms of insurance, SR-22 policies won’t automatically be forwarded to the DMV. You should also receive a signed document from the mechanic who installed the ignition interlock device. Multiple copies of this paperwork will be given to the DMV’s hearing officer, your judge, and the district attorney.
No Case Is Hopeless
Just because it seems like your case is hopeless doesn’t mean you need to accept these charges and penalties without a fight. Every state has slightly different laws regarding DUIs, and you might be able to apply for a temporary or restricted license so that you can continue to get to work or head to school. Due to the complexity of these laws, a driver shouldn’t go to a DMV hearing or court arraignment without a DUI lawyer by their side. Any mistakes that you make during these meetings could result in harsh penalties that will affect you for years to come.
A license suspension is only the tip of the iceberg, and that is why all drivers should contact an attorney before entering a plea. In addition to having your license taken away, you might be given a lengthy jail sentence as well. Once you have completed that sentence, you will then need to take additional sobriety classes and complete community service hours. After all of these expenses have been taken into account, many drivers pay $15,000 or more for a single DUI. They will also have these charges on their records for ten years or longer, and that is going to impact their career path and loan options. Your record will make it difficult to lease a new car, buy a new home, or event rent an apartment.
Reinstating Your License
During your initial consultation with the attorney, you will learn how to get your license back after DUI arrest or conviction. Those who are worried about the initial legal fees should use DUIWise’s free search tool to find a local attorney who offers free or low-cost consultations. The process of getting your license back might seem confusing, but these attorneys are trained to help their clients every step of the way. In as little as a few weeks, you could be back on the road as a legal and insured driver.