In Colorado drivers licenses can be revoked through either the court system through convictions or by the department of motor vehicles through an administrative process. The DMV administrative process is especially important to be aware of when it comes to accusations of DUI involving alcohol. Under the Colorado Express Consent Law a person can have their license revoked from refusing to take a chemical test. An adult Driver's License can also be revoked if a person has a breath alcohol content .08 or above within two hours of driving or a blood alcohol content of .08 or above within two hours of driving.
What do I need to know if I pulled over and cited for DUI?
- If you refused to talk a chemical test you have seven days to ask for a hearing from the DMV to ensure that law enforcement followed procedures and that evidence supports a revocation. The officer would have taken your driver's license and given you a notice of revocation.
- If you took a breath test and blew above a .08 you have seven days to ask for a hearing from the DMV to ensure law enforcement followed procedures and that evidence supports a revocation. The officer would have taken your driver's license and given you a notice of revocation.
- If you took a blood test the results will not be known for weeks or months. Therefore you would have been able to keep a valid driver's license. It is vital that the Colorado DMV has your accurate address on record. That way you will receive a letter notifying you if you were above a .08 BAC and given seven days to ask for a hearing to keep your license.
- This a website that explains the process in greater depth: https://noduicolorado.org/
Can I drive while awaiting my hearing?
- Typically if you had a valid driver's license you are able to drive legally while awaiting your administrative hearing. Check with the DMV to ensure you have a valid driver's license status at https://dmv.colorado.gov/purchase-motor-vehicle-record-mvr-letter-clearance
- After your hearing you will either be able to keep your license if you win or you will be given requirements for reinstatement if it is suspended.
Do I lose anything by asking for a hearing?
- Absolutely not. The hearing officer cannot make a suspension more severe if you contest it at a hearing. It is essentially a free swing at potentially keeping your license. Even when the evidence is strong sometimes a technicality or failure of a law enforcement officer to show up can result in a citizen keeping their license.
What is a DMV revocation hearing like?
- It is somewhat similar to a court hearing with some key difference. There is no prosecutor. Only a hearings officer from the DMV. They preside over the hearing and render a decision. They keep a formal record by audio should there be an appeal. You are given the option to have the officer who wrote the ticket appear or not. If you elect to have them not appear then the officer can render a decision based on the police reports. The evidentiary standard is by preponderance. So they simply have to show that a person either refused to take a chemical test when the officer had legal authority to ask for one. Or in the case of a test that there is enough evidence to show that you were driving within two hours of the test and that it was reliably done. Preponderance roughly means a 51% likelihood that something occurred. So that is much lower than a trial where the jury must decide issues by a standard of beyond a reasonable doubt.
Can you have a lawyer represent you at a DMV hearing?
- Absolutely. Smith & Weidinger provide representation at DMV hearings at no additional cost as part of the flat fee in any DUI retainer. You can always chose to represent yourself in DMV hearings just as you could in a court of law. Unlike in a court of law, you are unable to get a public defender to appear at a DMV hearing since it is administrative in nature.
Even if I win the DMV hearing can I still lose my driver's license?
- Unfortunately yes. Even if you win a DMV hearing, you can still lose your driver's license if you are convicted of DUI or any other combination of traffic offenses that put you over 12 points in a year or 18 points in two years. That said, winning a DMV hearing could provide you leverage to get a better plea offer from a prosecutor that could help you keep your license. Each case is different and it is important to have a strong advocate at your side.