What If the Officer Does Not Show Up to Your DMV Hearing?
So, what if the officer does not show up to your DMV hearing? Professionals from Scrofano Law PC can provide answers to all your legal questions. Call now!
What Happens If the Arresting Police Officer Skips Your DC DMV Hearing?
Driving under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance is prohibited throughout the country due to the danger it poses to the driver and to other road users.
If you drive in such circumstances, a DC law enforcement officer could get you arrested for a DUI and charge you to court. You could face possible jail time, among other criminal penalties, if convicted.
Your driving privileges may also be revoked or suspended by Washington, DC’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). In that case, you would need to participate in a DMV hearing to get your driver’s license reinstated. DMV hearings are not a walk in the park, and in many cases, the testimony of your arresting police officer is required to determine whether or not your license suspension/revocation should continue.
But what happens if the arresting police officer fails to attend the hearing? Generally, the hearing process would proceed regardless. Your presence is what’s most important.
What Is a DMV Hearing?
A DMV hearing is an administrative procedure that takes place to determine whether a person’s driving privileges should be reinstated or not. It is different from a DUI hearing which is a criminal proceeding that takes place in court.
In a DUI hearing or trial, the district attorney will present the official report from the arrest. If they prove guilt, the court may suspend the defendant’s driving privileges, and they may face other criminal penalties, including jail time. While the burden of proof rests with the prosecution in this scenario, the accused person also has to defend themselves against the charges or risk conviction.
In contrast, DMV hearings are held to resolve cases involving major and minor traffic violations resulting in a license suspension. When a driver violates traffic laws or regulations, such as driving while drunk or under the influence of drugs, or when parking tickets are not paid, their license can be suspended or revoked.
You will receive a letter from the DMV informing you if your license is revoked or suspended, as well as all the steps you need to take to reinstate your license.
Due to COVID restrictions, the DC DMV now allows for virtual hearings so that you can participate in the hearing from any location.
What Happens at a DMV Hearing?
A hearing examiner handles each DMV case. The hearing examiner listens to the facts and reviews the documents or evidence from you and the government representative before making a decision.
The examiner would determine whether or not you deserve to have your license reinstated or revoked after the hearing.
If the decision is not in your favor, you can appeal to the Traffic Adjudication Appeals Board either independently or with the help of a DC DUI lawyer.
Is the Arresting Officer Required to Go to the DMV Hearing?
The officer who arrested you for DUI is not required to go to the DMV hearing. This is because the DMV hearing is a separate proceeding, and it is not a part of the criminal court proceedings. However, the officer may appear virtually to give evidence in your case on behalf of the government.
Your presence, on the other hand, is important. If you fail to attend the hearing, the hearing examiner will reach a decision in your absence based on the government’s evidence and any documents you may have provided beforehand.
How Do I Challenge My License Suspension or Revocation After a DUI in DC?
To challenge the suspension or revocation of your license and get a reinstatement, you need to follow the required steps as stated in your DMV notice of suspension or revocation. The steps may include the following:
Paying the reinstatement fee. This fee can be paid online.
Completing a State Certified Alcohol Awareness program and obtaining a Completion Certificate.
If the court ordered your license suspension or revocation or you were acquitted of your DUI charge, you may also need to present a court disposition document.
At your DMV hearing, you will have the chance to provide evidence that shows that you are not a risk to public safety and that your license should not be suspended. You need to take advantage of this and furnish the tribunal with any relevant information. Having legal assistance here could improve the outcome of your case.
If your case is successful, you may get a full reinstatement of your driving privileges, although you may need to repeat the steps for obtaining a new license. In some cases, you may be allowed to get a restricted license, enabling you to drive to certain necessary locations like work or school.
How Can a DUI Lawyer Help at Your DMV Hearing?
The DMV process could be complex and difficult to handle alone. Hiring a DUI defense lawyer to represent you could make things much more manageable. You would no longer need to worry about making mistakes that could cost you the case. Your lawyer would know how to present your case and give you a good chance of getting your license reinstated.
If you’re also dealing with a criminal DUI charge at the same time, you might benefit from having the same lawyer or law firm represent you in both cases. If your DMV hearing takes place before the DUI arraignment hearing. In that case, it could be an opportunity for your attorney to gain insight into the government or prosecution’s case against you and the available evidence. That way, your defense could be strengthened further.
If you wish to fight your DUI charges in DC and you think you’ll need a more robust criminal defense than you would be able to provide for yourself, or if you’ve received a DMV license suspension/revocation notice, consider contacting a DUI lawyer from Scrofano Law to get help. You can reach out to us at 202-946-5783 to get started. We’ll be glad to hear from you.
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