DMV Procedure in Colorado DUI Cases
When facing a DUI or DWAI charge in Colorado, you have to be prepared for two parallel legal proceedings — one in the court of the county in which you’re charged, and one at the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV). Being prepared for both proceedings will be vital to your ability to maintain your freedom and ability to drive. Oftentimes, the impact of losing one’s license is greater than any sentence a criminal court could impose. That is why having a Denver DUI attorney who knows how to navigate the DMV is critical in your DUI or DWAI case. Mr. Martinez has successfully represented many people at the DMV, enabling them to keep their license despite being charged with DUI.
The procedure at DMV for a DUI first begins when a police officer contacts an individual who he or she claims was operating a vehicle with a BAC in excess of .08, or an individual who the officer claims refused to submit to a chemical test after the officer believes he or she had probable cause to require the individual to take such a chemical test. In these situations, and depending upon the type of chemical test the driver selects, the officer will either immediately confiscate the driver’s license, or will do so at a later time. More specifically, if an individual submits a breath sample in excess of .08 BAC, or if the driver refuses to take a test of either his blood or breath, then the police officer will immediately confiscate the driver’s license. If, however, the driver chooses a blood test, then the person’s license will be invalidated only if, once the blood sample is analyzed, the test reveals an excess BAC.
Once it has been alleged that the driver has tested above the legal limit, or once it is alleged that the person refused a chemical test, the driver will be provided with a notice that he or she must request a DMV hearing within seven days. Otherwise, the person’s license will be revoked. During that seven day window, the individual will be allowed to continue driving. Obviously, it is critical that the driver make a timely request for a DMV hearing. If he or she does not, then his or her license will automatically be revoked.
Once the individual makes a timely request for a DMV hearing, he or she will be given a temporary permit, which will enable the driver to continue driving up until the hearing. DMV hearings are conducted either at the DMV itself, or by telephone, and they are overseen and determined by a DMV hearing officer.
At the DMV hearing, the DMV hearing officer’s analysis focuses on three key areas. First, the hearing officer has to determine whether the police officer had a reasonable basis in fact to contact the driver in the first place. Secondly, the hearing officer determines whether the police officer had probable cause to believe that the driver was operating while at least impaired by alcohol, drugs, or both. Lastly, the DMV hearing officer determines whether either a test was reliably conducted and revealed an excess BAC, or whether the driver refused to take a test after the police officer established probable cause for the driver to take the test. Within each stage of analysis, there are numerous specific factors that the hearing officer must consider. The driver is allowed to present evidence at the hearing, as is the state. If, at the conclusion of the hearing, the DMV hearing officer concludes, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the state has met its burden regarding those three areas of inquiry, the individual’s driver’s license will be revoked. If, however, there is a problem with the state’s evidence in one of those three areas of inquiry, it is possible that no DMV revocation will be effectuated, and the proceeding will be dismissed.
Having a skilled Denver DUI attorney such as Jacob E. Martinez present with you at the DMV hearing ensures that each piece of evidence in your case will be carefully scrutinized, and if there is a problem for the state with its evidence, Mr. Martinez will find it and utilize it in defense of your driving privilege.