When a person is arrested for driving under the influence, he or she could face immediate consequences, such as having driving privileges suspended or revoked. This often is one of the hardest parts of a DUI arrest because it could create issues with employment and education. However, there are options and ways you can fight to keep your license.
When a person is arrested for a DUI, law enforcement officers often ask they submit to a chemical test. Under Pennsylvania law, the Department of Transportation Driver and Vehicle Services can suspend or revoke your driving privilege for many reasons, including violating the implied consent law.
Implied consent is a legal concept related to DUI that has been adopted in several states. Under implied consent, any time a person drives, operates or is in actual physical control of a vehicle, he or she agrees to a chemical test of his or her blood, alcohol or urine.
When a person refuses to take the test, the officer then will document the refusal and send it to the Department of Transportation. From that point, you driver’s license will be suspended 30 days after the correspondence. The suspension for a first refusal could last up to a year.
It is important to understand the process of reinstating your driving privileges because drivers only are allowed 30 days to request a license suspension hearing. It is at the hearing the driver and his or her attorney can make a case as to why he or she should retain driving privileges.
To appeal, drivers must file an appeal with the Civil Trials Division of the Court of Common Pleas in the county in which the refusal occurred. The appeals process will require forms and a filing fee, much like a criminal court. If your hearing is granted, PennDOT will need to prove:
- The officer had reasonable cause for a stop
- The officer had reasonable cause to believe the driver was intoxicated
- You refused a chemical test after an officer asked you submit to one
- The officer read your O’Connell warnings
- The arrest was valid
Your administrative suspension could be revoked if these things cannot be proven. If they are, there still may be defenses to argue your defense. However, even if your administrative suspension is overturned, you still could face criminal penalties.
DUI convictions carry severe penalties, including a driver’s license suspension. If it is a first offense, a person only may be faced with an administrative suspension. A second or third DUI could mean a one-year suspension, plus administrative penalties.
In certain cases, a person convicted of a first-time DUI may be eligible for an Occupational Limited Licenses after serving 60 days of his or her suspension. Those sixty days are sometimes called the “hard suspension,” meaning the individual cannot drive for any reason. This license would allow a person to commute only for an occupation, work, trade, medical treatment or study
However, the best way to avoid having your driving privileges revoked is to avoid a DUI conviction. A skilled Chester County DUI defense attorney can work with you at the beginning of the case and help you build a strong defense against the charges. Protecting your future is important, and the attorneys at Skinner Law Firm understand that. Call (267) 388-3476 for a free consultation.