Come Prepared to your Oregon DMV Hearing to Protect Driving Privileges
Driving under the influence of intoxicants – known in Oregon as DUII for short – is a serious offense. There are many types of penalties that can come with a drunk driving conviction.
Yet, even if you are not ultimately convicted, you may face upsetting consequences simply by being arrested for DUII. If you are pulled over for drunk driving and fail a chemical test for alcohol, or if you refuse a breath, blood or urine test, the arresting officer may confiscate your license and issue a 30-day temporary driving permit. After the 30 days, if you take no action, you will no longer be able to legally drive, even while your DUII case is still pending in court.
However, you are entitled to an important procedural safeguard in the days following your DUII arrest: a DMV hearing. DMV hearings are generally important for two reasons. First, your lawyer can appear for you and try to prevent your license from being suspended. Second – and potentially even more importantly – your DUII lawyer can gain important information through the DMV hearing at a critical early stage. This information may be the tool that helps you defeat drunk driving charges.
DMV hearing allows your lawyer to gather information important to your defense
Under Oregon law, you only have 10 days from the date of your DUII arrest to request a DMV hearing. After those 10 days, if the DMV headquarters has not received your request, you forfeit the right to a hearing. It is extremely important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after your arrest so that you do not lose this right.
The DMV hearing is held before an administrative law judge. From the judge’s perspective, the purpose of the hearing is to determine whether your license suspension is appropriate under all of the applicable statutes and rules. From your perspective, you may certainly want to argue that your license suspension is invalid – but even if your license is suspended, the DMV hearing can be an important venue to win a strategic victory.
As a part of the DMV hearing, your lawyer has the opportunity to question the arresting officer under oath. While your trial may not be scheduled for weeks or months after the arrest, a DMV hearing typically occurs shortly after the arrest when the officer’s memory will be clearer. If the officer’s testimony at the time of your trial differs from testimony offered at the DMV hearings, it can provide a powerful boost to your defense.
DMV hearings are also a great venue to gather the building blocks of your defense. Through the discovery process, your lawyer can get a fuller picture of the facts and circumstances surrounding your arrest soon after the event itself. You might not get another chance to acquire this information until the early stages of trial. An informational head start gives your DUII attorney more time to craft your defense.
Get legal help for a DUII charge before the 10 day hearing window expires
Defeating a DUII charge is no easy task. But, being proactive and getting legal help in time for your DMV hearing can substantially increase your odds.
If you’ve been picked up for drunk driving in Oregon, call a lawyer as soon as possible and ensure that you do not forfeit your right to a DMV hearing.