Arrests for D.U.I involve both criminal and civil consequences to a drivers license
The criminal consequences of a DUI arrest involve a case in county court or in circuit court in the event of a third DUI within ten years. The administrative side of a DUI involves the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Civil and criminal consequences of a DUI arrest can result in a person’s drivers license being suspended.
In order for a drivers license to be suspended in a criminal court case, a person must either accept a plea that results in their drivers license being suspended or they must be found guilty after trial and the judge order that their drivers license be suspended.
When it comes to the administrative side, a person loses his or her driver’s license as the result of either refusing to submit to a breath, urine or blood test or by blowing a .08 or higher. If a person wants to try to have the suspension invalidated, they must request a formal administrative hearing within ten days of being arrested.
Attorneys often subpoena the arresting officer to appear at the formal administrative hearing where they can be cross-examined and the hearing officer can decide whether or not to invalidate the suspension.
In the past, if the officer was subpoenaed and did not appear for the formal administrative hearing, the hearing officer would often invalidate the suspension. For the most part, hearing officers are now refusing to invalidate a suspension simply because the officer did not appear pursuant to the subpoena.
Now more than ever it is important to determine what advantage if any, there is to subpoena an officer in a particular case. If the officer does not appear at the formal administrative hearing, then he is bound by whatever information he provided in his reports, as well as any deficiency found in the required paperwork. Therefore, it is essential that those reports or documents be carefully reviewed to determine if they are sufficient to support the suspension. If the reports do not clearly establish that the person driving was the person that refused the breath test, if that refusal is not sworn or attested to or if the reports are deficient in some other way, then an attorney has grounds to ask the hearing officer to invalidate the suspension. If the officer does not appear at the formal administrative hearing, then the case lives and dies by the contents and omissions from the documents available to the hearing officer.