If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, you might feel inclined to do one of two things: immediately find and contact a lawyer or, perhaps more commonly now, assume that the DMV’s recent and notorious months-long response time for dealing out a hearing date provides you with plenty of time to sign up for a DUI hearing long after your arrest. Further, in the current environment of COVID-19, you might feel even more discouraged to go to the DMV yourself to schedule a hearing. We’re here to expose the potential drawbacks of delaying a scheduling, and we can even sign up for you if you do not want to do so in this time of quarantine.
How Long Do I Have to Schedule a DUI Hearing?
You should be aware that you only have 15 days after your arrest to schedule a civil ancillary DUI hearing, despite how long it takes the DMV to issue an administrative hearing. So, there is much urgency after an arrest to schedule a DUI hearing. While typically a DUI arrest results in court dates within 3 weeks for a misdemeanor or 10 days for a felony, court dates are currently being given out months later. As a result, as in the opening scenario, people figure this means they have just as much time to schedule a hearing. However, do not be fooled by the DMV’s long response time; it does not reflect how long you have to sign up for a hearing in the first place.
Any delay in requesting a DUI hearing will have drastic consequences. The DMV gives no leeway on the 15-day timeframe. If you fail to sign up you will lose your license and have to take a DUI class regardless of the case, and even a “not guilty” verdict will not resolve the issue.
What Are the Consequences of Not Scheduling a Hearing in Time?
As driver’s license suspension is the most common DUI-related penalty, like most people you might be primarily interested in maintaining your driving privileges while your criminal case is still pending. Requesting the discussed civil ancillary DUI hearing (sometimes referred to as an “administrative per se” hearing) is the only way to do this.
Note that, as mentioned earlier, such a hearing is automatically suspended after arrest unless you manually sign up for it within 15 days of your arrest. Once this request is accepted, the DMV will put the suspension on hold until after the hearing. So, if you do not request a hearing within the allotted 15 days, you automatically forfeit your opportunity to challenge the automatic suspension.
We urge you not to wait when signing up for an administrative hearing with the DMV. If you have been arrested for a DUI, contact Abram and Hutchison for a consultation, and we can schedule a hearing for you.