Saving ones driving privileges following an arrest for drunk driving or operating while intoxicated is quite often the most challenging thing to do. In our society, driving has become nothing less than a necessity although it is still characterized and treated in the law as a “privilege” as opposed to a right. Because driving is a “privilege” it is not subject to the same strict due process requirements as are in place when attempting to take away a fundamental right.
Immediately upon an arrested person taking a test and “failing” or refusing to consent to chemical testing, law enforcement confiscates and destroys the person’s driver’s license. They are then served with a Notice of Revocation, advising them that effective 10 days from that date, their driving privileges will be disqualified. The notice also contains directions and instructions on what the person may do to appeal the license suspension. IT IS ABSOLUTELY IMPERATIVE THAT AN APPEAL GETS FILED WITHIN 10 DAYS. If the appeal is not filed within 10 days the license suspension becomes final and the licensee forever gives up the right to challenge the suspension. Once the appeal is filed, the Department of Transportation sends the licensee a Stay Order that informs them that the suspension of their driving privileges has been stayed or put on hold until a final decision can be made pursuant to the appeal. The Department of Transportation has 45 days within which to provide the licensee with a hearing to contest the suspension of their driving privileges. The hearing is via telephone. If an attorney is involved, often times the attorney will conduct the hearing without the licensee needing to be personally present. At the hearing the burden is on the licensee to provide one of two things:
that the officer did not have reasonable grounds to believe that the licensee was intoxicated
that the officer violated the licensee’s right to place phone calls or to consult or see a family member or attorney.
There are a few other issues that can be raised but those two are far and away the most common. Once the administrative law judge issues his ruling, the licensee then has another opportunity to appeal that ruling to the director of driver services. If that appeal is lost the Department of Transportation then issues a final notice advising the person of when the suspension will begin, ordinarily in 7-10 days from the entry of the final decision.
If the licensee does not prevail at the administrative hearing, they have one last possibility of saving their license. Under current Iowa law, if a judge in the criminal prosecution finds that the breath test result or refusal is inadmissible in the criminal prosecution than the Department of Transportation must honor that decision and rescind the person’s license suspension. For this reason, motions to suppress evidence are a common avenue by which competent Iowa DUI lawyers will attempt to save their clients driving privileges. It is important to understand that it is the successful suppression of the evidence that saves the license not mere dismissal of the criminal charge. A person can be acquitted of the criminal charge and so long as the test result or refusal was admissible, the license suspension may still stand.
owi-dui.com can help
If you have been arrested for drunk driving in the state of Iowa, your driver's license is at risk of being suspended or revoked (depending on the circumstances, as mentioned above). The mere fact of an arrest is often an overwhelming emotional situation rendering a feeling of helplessness - that's very common. The numbers of attorneys who claim to understand and routinely defend people against drunk driving charges is nearly as staggering as the police officer's testimony that is sure to result at a trwil. To help you find highly qualified, very experienced, impeccable, quality Owi defense attorneys, we have gathered Iowa's best together on this site so that you can rest reassured that you are choosing a lawyer that is rated as one of Iowa's best Owi attorneys.
Important notation: The judicial system may seem to work very slowly, but when you are the person being charged, please don't make the mistake of assuming it will move slowly to take action with you. The wheels of justice have a way of speedily hurrying towards anyone charged with a drunk driving offense. You should seek the advice of one of the highly qualified attorneys on this site as soon as possible.