One of the main reasons to immediately call a DUI Defense lawyer is that in Utah, if you are arrested for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or a Measurable amount of a Controlled Substance (DUI) and have no previous DUI convictions, the Driver License Division will automatically suspend your license for 120 days, unless you request a Driver License DUI Hearing within 10 days of being arrested. However, if you have a previous conviction, the Driver License Division (DLD) can revoke your license for up to three years.
If you have been arrested for DUI, you, or your attorney, must request a Driver License DUI Hearing within 10 days of your arrest in order to prevent the suspension or revocation of your license. Once requested, the DLD will schedule an administrative hearing to be held no later than 29 days after the date of your arrest.
At the administrative hearing, the hearing officer must find that there were reasonable grounds (“Probable Cause”) for the officer to believe that you were not only operating (or, in actual physical control) the vehicle at the time of the arrest but that you were also doing so in violation of Utah’s DUI statute.
Since the DLD hearing is civil in nature, and not a criminal proceeding, the DLD hearing officer merely has to determine that the arresting officer had probable cause (not proof beyond a reasonable doubt) to believe that you were driving under the influence of alcohol or a measurable about of a controlled substance in order to suspend or revoke your license.
In 2012, the DLD conducted 5,070 hearings. Out of the 5,070 hearings that the DLD conducted, only 789¹ of those hearing resulted in No Action being taken against the charged individual’s driver’s license. With Utah DLD’s high driver license suspension rates, immediately hiring a DUI Defense attorney after being arrested should be one of your top priorities if you want to count yourself among those 15% that were able to keep their driving privileges.
Additionally, hiring a DUI Defense attorney to represent you at both the DLD hearing and the criminal trial drastically improves your chances for success in both venues. Since the Prosecutor is not present at the DLD hearing, a DUI Defense attorney can extensively cross-examine the officer and discover important facts about the case that can help during the criminal trial. For instance, while cross-examining the officer at the DLD hearing, it is not uncommon for a defense attorney to uncover that the officer improperly preformed one of the field sobriety tests or improperly administered the intoxilyzer breath test. Once this evidence is uncovered, your DUI Defense attorney will be able to use to this evidence to get the field sobriety test results or the intoxilyzer breath test results suppressed (“thrown out”), thereby crippling the State’s case against you.
If you are not planning on hiring an attorney, you can request a hearing from the DLD by filling out this form and faxing the complete form to the DUI Section at (801) 964-4499.