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.