DUI: Court Trial vs. DMV Hearing

After a DUI charge, you may face two different things- you may face action on the part of the Department of Motor Vehicles and you may face criminal charges brought by a prosecutor. The DMV, or Department of Motor Vehicles, is an administrative agency that governs drivers license rules. It is separate from the criminal justice system, and any actions brought about by the DMV are distinct from actions done by law enforcement officials such as judges and prosecutors. This means that, after a DUI arrest, you may have both a DUI court trial and a DMV hearing.

Understanding a DUI Court Trial and a DMV Hearing

There are several important differences that you need to be aware of between a DUI court trial and a DMV hearing:

  • A DMV hearing is generally optional. If your drivers license is automatically suspended when you get a DUI in the state where you live, then you will need to have a DMV hearing in order to try to get it back. When you receive the automatic license suspension, you'll also be told how to request a hearing in front of the DMV to try to get your license back. If you request such a hearing, you'll have to go and make an argument to an administrative representative from the DMV about why you must have a drivers license, even if it is a restricted drivers license. The DMV can then either decide to give you your license back (often on a restricted basis) or that your suspension will stand, usually for a period of one year
  • A DUI court trial is not optional. When you are arrested, you'll be arraigned and a court date will be set for your trial. At this trial, the prosecutor will present his evidence against you to the judge. You'll be given the opportunity to make arguments and to either prove your innocence or to show that there were factors that mitigate your guilt. The judge or jury will consider all of the information and sentencing on the DUI charges will then occur. At this trial, you will find out whether you have to go to jail or what other criminal penalties, such as fines or required counseling, you will have to face.

Getting Legal Help

After being arrested for a DUI, you face a lot of legal challenges. It is vital you consult with a qualified lawyer who can help you to deal with these challenges and who can try to assist you in minimizing the impact a DUI conviction can have on your life.

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