Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Utah DUI and Your Driver License: The Saga Continues

In a previous post we talked about the Driver License Division taking away your license after you receive a DUI in Utah and what to do about it. 

Just to make it more difficult, they change the laws and rules every few years, sometimes every year, and many people don't know what to do after getting a DUI in order to keep their license. While you're busy hopping from one foot to the next, they suspend your license and make it much more difficult to keep your job, get to school, or shuffle your kids around. 

Here's a few additional tips and updates on DUI's and your license to try and prevent the DLD from suspending. If you haven't read our previous post on DUI's and your license, read that first here:

REQUEST A HEARING

It's just amazing to me how many people do not request a driver license hearing after getting a DUI. An attorney can and should do it for you but it has to be done within 10 days. No exceptions. Not even if your grandma's in the hospital. Not if your dog's sick. Not even if the series finale of Breaking Bad is on and you just can't get down to the Driver License Division. You just have to do it. 

If you can't hire an attorney right away (and as I wrote in my previous post, everyone should hire a good DUI attorney right after receiving a DUI. Most firms offer extremely flexible payment plans so take advantage of them) then you will need to request it yourself. It's easy: just go down to your nearest Driver License Division Office and request a driver license hearing for your DUI. Many people choose to do it by mail. I wouldn't recommend this. Mail gets lost or misfiled and your driver license is too important to take that risk. Just go down there and do it or hire a good DUI attorney to do it for you. 

DON'T DO THE HEARING YOURSELF

This should go without saying but many people do the DUI driver license hearing themselves and predictably lose their driver licenses. I wouldn't install my own plumbing system: you hire experts for that sort of thing. Same thing goes here. Your best shot is to have someone in the DUI hearing that knows what they're doing. 

PRIOR DUI'S: AN EASY WAY TO LOSE YOUR LICENSE

Having a prior DUI is asking for you to lose your license. Even if you win the hearing, the DLD has been pulling some sneaky tricks lately. For example, lets say a good attorney gets your DUI dropped to reckless driving or impaired driving, which shouldn't suspend your license. Well if your current DUI is your second, it still suspends, even if you're not convicted of DUI but of something else! Also, even on a first DUI, if you have another alcohol related offense on your record, you may be required to get an ignition interlock device. When enter a deal on the DUI, the Driver License Division suspends your license indefinitely stating that you were required to have an interlock device and they won't give it back unless you get one installed and get them proof. The point is: if you got a DUI, the DLD wants to take your license and will do everything possible to take it from you. 

WORK EXCEPTION LICENSES

Many states have work exception licenses granted to people who receive DUI's. For example, Nevada allows you to drive to work after serving half of your 90 day suspension on a first DUI. Utah does have a work exception, but as one employee at the DLD told us, he has never seen it granted on a DUI. You have to get the DUI reduced to see if you even qualify and then you will have a hearing and be denied. I have never, in the over 1500 DUI cases I've handled as both a prosecutor and a DUI defense attorney, seen even one of these work exception licenses granted. Don't hold your breath if you think this is a way out of your suspension. A much better way is to hire a good DUI attorney and let them do their job. 

THE DLD WANTS YOUR LICENSE

DUI's are unique crimes. You have a massive lobby group, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, who are shaping the laws to be less and less favorable to DUI offenders. The license is where they hit you the hardest. If your license is important to you, and especially if you have a special driving privlege license like a CDL, don't roll the dice just to save a few bucks on a DUI attorney. Hire one and let them deal with the headache. 

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