Given the recent Halloween DUI checkpoints in Las Vegas, local jails in Las Vegas, Henderson, and North Las Vegas, have undoubtedly seen an influx of temporary residents. These men, women, and even minors are generally concerned with the immediate criminal charges they may face. A potential conviction may lead to heavy fines, lengthy jail time, installation of an ignition interlock device, counseling, or other penalties. However, the administrative driver’s license suspension also spells trouble since the temporary loss of driving privileges can greatly impact your lifestyle.
If you test .08 or higher on a breath test, the officer will immediately seize your driver’s license on behalf of the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). In the case of blood or urine tests, an order for license revocation will be sent to you if illegal alcohol levels or the presence of drugs are subsequently revealed. You have seven days to request an administrative license suspension hearing, which the officer will inform you of.
Please note that this hearing is not mandatory and there are no penalties for exercising this option as the administrative license suspension is automatic unless contested. Winning this administrative hearing will allow you to retain your license until the outcome of the criminal trial. Witnesses may be called (including the arresting officer); therefore, your attorney may gain valuable information to use in the later criminal trial, especially since the prosecutor will not be present during this hearing.
The administrative license suspension hearing is conducted by a hearing officer at the Nevada DMV Office of Administrative Hearings, located on 2701 E. Sahara Avenue, Las Vegas, NV. This civil hearing is much more limited in nature than the criminal trial. The hearing officer will determine if the license revocation should continue after considering whether you had an alcohol concentration level of 0.08 or higher in your blood or breath at the time of arrest. In the case of drug-related DUI, any blood or urine tests that showed prohibited substances will also be reviewed.
Unfortunately in an administrative hearing, the burden is on the defendant to show that he was not driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. This is a very tough burden to overcome and many hearings are lost, however the benefit of hearing evidence and the chance that we are successful is worth it.
It is the job of your attorney to use any weaknesses in these results and show that the evidence does not support the revocation. Results from blood, breath, or urine tests are not always accurate. Procedural errors, your physiology and medical history can be used by your defense lawyer to help you retain your license. It may therefore be in your best interests to consult with a Las Vegas DUI attorney as soon after arrest as possible, regardless of the DUI test results.