UTAH’S STRICT DEADLINES FOR DUI CASES
Most drivers arrested for DUI are not even aware that their case has been placed on two parallel, yet different tracks or paths. There is a “criminal” lane and an “administrative/civil” lane.
CRIMINAL PATH OF DUI CHARGES
Most drivers know that they have a criminal court appearance (called an “Arraignment” in Justice Court or an “Initial Appearance” in District Court). They are also aware that as a result of a DUI, a judge could impose criminal penalties, such as jail time, fines, probation, drug/alcohol screening, assessment and treatment, etc.
DLD HEARINGS IN UTAH, THE ADMINISTRATIVE/CIVIL SIDE OF DUI
However, hardly anybody knows about the Driver License Division (DLD) review hearing, because it’s in small print on your Citation. At the DLD hearing, a Hearing Officer will decide whether to take action against your Utah driver license and suspend or revoke your Utah driving privileges.
As soon as you are arrested for DUI, the clock starts for you to file a written administrative hearing request on DLD forms with the DLD (not the Department of Motor Vehicles or DMV). You only have a window of ten (10) days to file the request, otherwise, your driver license will automatically be suspended 29 days after your arrest! The DLD only rarely accepts late hearing requests for good cause. You must act quickly! You can request a DLD hearing by using this form, or you can request that my office file the hearing request for you.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I DO NOT REQUEST A UTAH DLD HEARING?
If you do not request a Utah DLD hearing within the 10 day window, or if you attend without an attorney and lose, your license can be suspended up to the following amount of time (for drivers over 21 years of age):
If you refused any chemical testing:
- 18 month in first offense cases
- 36 months in second or more offense cases
If you were arrested for DUI and did NOT refuse any chemical testing:
- 120 days for a first offense
- 2 years for second or more offenses
WHO ATTENDS A DLD HEARING?
- Your lawyer (if you’ve hired one)
- A Driver License Division Hearing Office (not a judge)
- Law enforcement office who arrested you (often appears by phone)
PREVIEWING YOUR CRIMINAL CASE THROUGH A DLD HEARING
When you hire an attorney to represent you in both the civil hearing and the criminal hearing, the attorney can use the information gathered during the DLD hearing to preview your case as it will appear in criminal court. This preview gives the attorney an opportunity to analyze the evidence and find weaknesses in the case against you, if they exist.
DOES THE COURT DECISION INFLUENCE THE DLD DECISION?
Yes! If your charges are reduced or dismissed in the criminal hearing stages, the DLD decision will be reversed, and your license suspension could be reduced or your licenses be reinstated. Similarly, if you were able to keep your driver license after the DLD hearing, and then you are convicted of DUI charges in court, the DLD will suspend your license for the period that fits the criminal sentence.