Thursday, December 30, 2010

DUI Charges and DLD Hearings

When you are facing charges after a DUI arrest, you first need to worry about the DLD hearing. At the DLD hearing, a hearing officer determines whether you can keep your driver's license, even before you are convicted of DUI. In fact, you could lose your license at the hearing, and later be acquitted of the DUI.

At a DLD hearing, the hearing officer will hear testimony from the officer who arrested you to determine whether you should lose your license, based on his or her determination of whether there was evidence that you were driving under the influence. This is a critical stage in a DUI case and one that many overlook.

Once you have been arrested for driving under the influence, you only have a limited time to request a hearing. Many people do not read the small print in their citation, and miss the deadline. If you do not request a hearing, your license may be suspended without you ever getting a chance to challenge the grounds for the suspension.

Hiring a lawyer to assist you with the DLD hearing is an important first step in your defense. Not only can the attorney ensure you don't miss your deadline, and that you get your hearing, the lawyer can also cross examine the officer, and get a feeling for what his testimony would be if your case went to trial. Because county attorneys and district attorneys do not attend these hearings, this gives your attorney an advantage at your DUI trial, and further allows your lawyer to impeach the officer with any testimony that is inconsistent from the hearing.

Another important reason to request a hearing is that it is your best opportunity to keep your drivers license pending the outcome of your DUI case. The DLD hearing officer is the one who subpoenas the officer. If the officer is busy and doesn't show up, then the hearing officer will rule in your favor, and you get to keep your license pending the outcome of your DUI case. 
(435) 654-9529

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Why Hire a DUI Lawyer?

A DUI arrest is a serious charge which could result in the loss of your driver's license, thousands of dollars in court fines, the loss of your job, time in jail or even prison. A DUI conviction also acts as a prior, meaning that if you get a second or third DUI conviction, the penalties are drastically worse.

Despite these serious consequences, I am surprised on how many people try to represent themselves in court to save the costs of attorney's fees. In so doing, they often miss the deadlines to request a DLD (driver's license division) hearing, lose their license, and then get the standard DUI punishment, even when a reduced punishment could have been negotiated.

If you are arrested for a DUI, you need a lawyer! A lawyer will help you schedule a timely DLD hearing which could help you keep your license. If a charge is filed against you in court, your lawyer's knowledge of the law could help you get your case dismissed, even if there is sufficient evidence for a conviction. For example, if the evidence in your case was obtained illegally, a lawyer can get it suppressed, which will usually result in the case being dismissed. Only someone well versed in the law, however, could recognize those types of errors.

In some cases, a lawyer is able to negotiate the DUI to a lesser offense that can save your license and have reduced penalties. If your case goes to trial, a lawyer can cross examine the prosecution's police and expert witnesses and point out limitations on the evidence.

I have been able to help my clients avoid the consequences of DUI, even when their cases seemed initially hopeless. For example, I had a client who refused to take an alcohol test at the police station. Normally, such a refusal results in the automatic suspension of a driver's license for an extensive period of time. I represented her at the DLD hearing, and she was able to keep her driver's license.

In court, I had a client who had multiple prior DUI's, and was looking at harsh penalties on the new DUI I was representing him on. Due to mistakes made by the police, however, I was able to get the entire case dismissed.

If you have been arrested for DUI, you need a lawyer as quickly as possible. 
(435) 654-9529