DUIs & Your Driver’s License According to the Colorado DMV

If your blood or breath alcohol content was between .08 and .15 within two hours after you were driving and it is your first offense, you will be subject to a revocation of your driving privilege. There are different revocation conditions for second offense, you refused a chemical test or your BAC was .150 or higher. You are entitled to request a hearing on the revocation of your license.

 

What is a hearing?

  1. Your attorney and you have an opportunity to present evidence as to why your license should not be revoked. This occurs at a telephonic hearing in front of an administrative Hearing Officer.
  2. During the hearing, your attorney or you will have the opportunity to cross-examine the arresting office and make an argument based upon applicable statutes and case law.
  3. The Hearing Officer will most likely issue a ruling orally. In some cases, the Hearing Officer may also issue a written order at a later point.

 

How does this relate to my criminal case?

  1. Your criminal case and license revocation are completely separate from one another. While some of the same arguments may be advanced in your criminal case and your license revocation, the DMV takes no part in your criminal case.

 

How do I request a hearing?

  1. If you took a breath test, you must request an express consent hearing within seven days of your arrest. You can make the request at your nearest DMV. You will receive a temporary license at this time. If you are a client of RKV Law, we can make the request on your behalf. A copy of your temporary license will be sent to us.
  2. If you requested a blood test, you must request a hearing within ten days from the date the Notice is mailed by the DMV. That’s right: ten days from the date the Notice is mailed, not the date you receive the notice. Thus, it is extremely important the DMV has your accurate address. It never hurts to call and check with the DMV to see if the notice has been mailed if you are concerned you may not have received it.
  3. Ensure that you request to subpoena the arresting officer to attend your hearing.

 

Why should I request a hearing?

  1. First, you receive a temporary license and are able to drive while awaiting your hearing.
  2. Second, there is always the chance the officer will fail to appear. If that happens, your case will be dismissed.
  3. Third, though the DMV process and criminal process are entirely separate, the DMV Hearing allows us to cross-examine the officer who arrested you and create a record. This gives us the chance to see how the officer will hold up on cross-examination. Additionally, we can use the record from the DMV Hearing to impeach the officer during your criminal case, if you do not accept a plea offer, should his testimony change or differ.

 

When will my hearing occur?

  1. The Hearing will occur between 40 and 60 days after your request. In the interim you will be issued a full-privilege temporary driver’s license which will be valid until the day of your express consent hearing if you had a valid driver’s license when you were arrested.

 

What does the Hearing Officer consider?

  1. The Hearing Officer will decide the following issues:
    • Were you driving a motor vehicle in Colorado?
    • Did the arresting officer have probable cause to stop or contact you?
    • Did the arresting officer have probable cause to request you to submit to a blood or breath test?
    • Was a valid blood or breath test administered with 2 hours of your actual physical control of the vehicle?
  2.  Without getting too technical, probable cause means that the police officer must have enough information to deduce that a certain facts are probably true. In the case of your license revocation, the officer must have probable cause to initially stop you (usually a traffic violation), and must have probable cause that you are under the influence of alcohol.
  3. The Hearing Officer will consider the officer’s testimony and your arguments before making a determination on each of the issues above.

 

What will be the result of the hearing?

  1. The reality is that the Hearing Officer will most likely revoke your license.
  2. The Hearing Officer only needs to determine the above issues by a “preponderance of the evidence.” Preponderance of the evidence means “more likely than not,” which is a relatively low burden of proof. For comparison, the burden of proof you are most likely familiar with is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is the burden of proof required in a criminal case. It is much more difficult to prove a case “beyond a reasonable doubt” than by a “preponderance of the evidence.”

 

My license was revoked, what happens now?

  1. Effective immediately, your license will be revoked for nine months for first offenses.
  2. You have two options. You can either serve the nine months without driving, or you can apply for early reinstatement.
  3. You MUST wait 30 days before applying for early reinstatement. This means that you should make plans NOT to drive for 30 days after your scheduled hearing date. More on early reinstatement below.
  4. You will also need to enroll in and complete a Level II alcohol class. Level II education consists of 12 classes that are two hours each. You will also have to attend 21 group sessions. The cost of the course varies by provider. Your nearest mental and behavioral health center will likely offer this course.

 

Early reinstatement with the Interlock Device

  1. Should you decide you would like to reinstate your license early, you can apply 30 days after your license was revoked.
  2. However, you have to get an interlock device installed in your vehicle. See here for approved interlock vendors.
  3. The interlock will stay in your vehicle for the rest of your revocation period – eight months.
  4. However, if after four consecutive months of interlock showing no violation or tampering, you can request to have the interlock device removed.

 

What happens after my license is reinstated?

  1. Congratulations, you are now able to drive without restriction.
  2. Keep in mind that the ramifications for a second alcohol-related license revocation are much more stringent. Your driving record will show your alcohol-related revocation regardless of the outcome of your criminal case.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any additional questions you may have. You can also visit the DMV’s website or call (303) 205-5600 to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles directly.

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