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Utah Divorce Advice

I generally detest overused quotes and phrases. But this one seemed particularly relevant to my recent DUI defense work.

I have prevailed on my last three driver license suspension hearings. Although I like to believe that I can prepare a mean cross-examination, my lawyering skills were hardly responsible for my recent victories. The police officers did their jobs for the most part correctly, and in at least one case, the client failed her sobriety tests miserably.

In all three cases, my clients kept their licenses simply because I showed up and the arresting officer did not.

If you are arrested for driving under the influence, it is important that you take immediate action to avoid suspension of your driving privileges. You must request a hearing before the Utah Driver’s License Division within ten (10) days after the incident. Failure to request a driver license hearing will result in the automatic suspension of your driver’s license.

If you do timely request a driver’s license hearing, you will receive notice of the date and location of the hearing. The driver’s license hearing is an administrative rather than a criminal procedure. The hearing will occur at a Utah Division of Motor Vehicles office and will be heard by a hearing officer.

You are not required to have an attorney represent you at a driver’s license hearing. However, the driver’s license hearing operates similarly to a criminal hearing, and the penalty may be just as severe. If you fail to request or appear at a hearing or cannot successfully defend your case, your license will be suspended for 120 days or longer. A lengthy suspension can affect your ability to provide for your family.

It is difficult to navigate the process on your own. A criminal defense attorney can assist you in understanding your legal rights and fighting to obtain the best possible outcome in your DUI case.

Whether or not you retain an attorney, you should obtain and review the evidence and prepare to cross-examine the arresting officer prior to the hearing. As with my recent cases, officers sometimes forget or otherwise fail to appear. However, they frequently do appear, and you will want to be adequately prepared.

Since a driver’s license hearing is not a criminal proceeding and is based on the arrest itself, the state has a lower burden of proof. The state need only establish that the person was driving under the influence by a preponderance of the evidence. You may lose your license even if you are acquitted in your criminal trial.

Even if you do not prevail in saving your driver’s license, the driver’s license hearing can be helpful for collecting evidence to use at your criminal trial. By cross-examining the arresting officer, you can often get the officer to admit things that will hurt the state’s case. In addition, you can obtain a written transcript of the hearing to ensure the officer sticks to his story at later proceedings.

The bottom line is: you are entitled to a hearing and should request one immediately after your arrest for driving under the influence.

The bottom line is: you are entitled to a hearing and should request one immediately after your arrest for driving under the influence.

Schmidt Law Firm Law Firm

136 East South Temple Street #1500

Salt Lake City, UT 84111‎

(801) 895-3113

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