Working To Protect Your Driver’s License
For many people, the most damaging consequence from their DUI arrest is the loss of their driving privileges. Often, getting to and from school and work via public transportation is not a good option, and the loss of a driver’s license can result in a serious hardship.
At the office of Eric A. Sunness, Attorney At Law, we have extensive experience working with clients who have been charged with DUI or a related crime. We have nearly 30 years of experience practicing law, and more than 23 of those years in Colorado. We know the law and understand what it takes to preserve the driving privileges of our clients.
For a free initial consultation with a Fort Collins suspended license lawyer, please call 970-493-3600 or toll free 888-830-9445.
Working To Protect Your Driving Privileges
In Colorado, a DUI arrest will result in actions by the courts as well as the Division of Motor Vehicles. Before driver’s license consequences are imposed, you will be entitled to a hearing.
If you fail to request a hearing within seven days of receiving the notice of revocation, the right to a hearing is waived. It is in your best interests to request a hearing in person at the DMV within seven days of your arrest.
In most cases involving refusal of a breath test, the seven days begin running the day after the driver is arrested because the notice is served immediately by the police officer. The hearing must be scheduled within 60 days of the day it is requested; however, this deadline may be extended at the request of the police officer. The unexcused failure of the police officer who filed the affidavit and notice of revocation to appear at the hearing in response to a subpoena or DMV notice results in the dismissal of the action against the driver’s license.
The driver need not appear in person at the hearing; a lawyer may appear on his or her behalf. At the hearing, the issue will most often be whether the driver (except minors) was operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of greater than .08. The revocation periods are harsh:
- On a first revocation with a BAC of between .08 and .169, the revocation period is nine months. However, the driver (except for minors) may reinstate early with an eight-month ignition interlock restricted license.
- On a first revocation with a BAC of greater or equal to .170, the driver (except minors) may have his or her license reinstated early with an ignition interlock restricted license for two years. In this situation, there is no time taken off the ignition interlock requirement for good behavior. The two-year ignition interlock requirement is an absolute minimum.
- On second administrative revocations, the driver will be faced with a one-year revocation with no early reinstatement.
- On third or subsequent administrative revocations, the driver will be faced with a two-year revocation and can reinstate early after one year with an ignition interlock restricted license. However, reinstatement or early reinstatement will include a two-year interlock requirement.
Representing Commercial Drivers
In cases dealing with a commercial driver’s license, the penalties are more severe. For a first revocation, the commercial driver’s license is revoked for a period of one year. However, if the driver’s BAC was equal or greater than .170, the driver will not be able to again obtain a CDL until after the interlock requirement is removed — at least two years and one month. It does not matter if the vehicle driven was a commercial vehicle or a passenger vehicle. If the commercial vehicle is required to be placed under the hazardous materials regulations, regardless of whether it contains any hazardous materials, it is a mandatory three-year revocation for a first offense.
The interlock may be removed if four consecutive monthly reporting periods show the interlock did not prevent the operation of the vehicle due to excess alcohol, there have been no reports of tampering or circumvention, and there are no grounds to extend the interlock. A driver who meets the criteria for interlock removal but is not notified of that fact may request a hearing to determine eligibility to remove the interlock.
There are several defenses applicable at the DMV hearing. Where the central issue is whether the driver’s blood or breath alcohol was at or greater than the applicable limit, one defense is to attack the validity of the blood or breath testing procedure or result.
If a driver refuses to take a blood test or a breath test (first refusal), the driver’s license will be revoked for a period of one year with no driving allowed. In cases involving a second refusal, the driver’s license will be revoked for a period of two years, but the driver can reinstate early with an ignition interlock restricted license for the remaining year. In cases involving a third refusal, the driver’s license will be revoked for a period of three years, but the driver can reinstate early with an ignition interlock restricted license for the remaining two years.
Helping Those Under 21 Years Of Age
If a minor driver has a BAC of between .02 and .05, the revocation is for a period of three months. A provisional driver’s license (PDL) may be issued after 30 days; however, the total restraint remains three months. For a second offense, the revocation is for a period of six months, and no PDL may be issued. For a third or subsequent offense, the revocation is for a period of one year, and no PDL may be issued.
If a minor driver has a BAC of between .051 and .079, the revocation is for a period of three months and no provisional driver’s license may be issued. For a second offense, the revocation is for a period of six months, and no PDL may be issued. For a third or subsequent offense, the revocation is for a period of one year, and no PDL may be issued.
If a minor driver has a BAC of greater than .08, he or she is treated the same as in an adult case, except there is no early reinstatement with an ignition interlock restricted license on a first offense.