For many people who are arrested, the number-one thing they dread isn’t the possibility of jail time or the large fines, but the possibility that their driver’s license may be suspended. Even first-time offenders will lose their driving privileges for a full 90 days as a result of a DUI charge, plus the possibility of even more time depending on the outcome of administrative hearings. That means you have a lot to lose when you’re arrested and charged with this crime, and that means that you shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to a Birmingham DUI lawyer as soon as possible.
Here are the two ways in which your driver’s license could be suspended as a result of being arrested and charged with driving under the influence.
The first way your license could be suspended is one that will come up quickly: an administrative license suspension. What this means is essentially that if you are arrested and charged with driving under the influence and you either refuse to take a blood or breath test OR your test reveals a result of .08 or greater (for adult, non-commercial drivers), then your license will automatically be suspended.
For your first conviction, your license will be suspended for a minimum of 90 days, and for each subsequent conviction the suspension will last longer and longer, with the maximum of up to five years if you are arrested for driving under the influence for the fourth time within a five-year period.
However, if you fail your blood alcohol content test or you refuse to take the test at all, you’ll have 10 days to appeal your automatic suspension through an administrative hearing. This means you’ll need to act quickly and retain an attorney who can fight back against your license suspension on your behalf. An attorney can represent you at your hearing, and work to actively fight back against your suspension in order to save your ability to drive. That being said: your administrative hearing has no bearing on your criminal trial, and just because you avoided a license suspension in your administrative hearing doesn’t mean you’re on your way to a not-guilty verdict at a trial.
The Alabama Department of Public Safety can opt to suspend, revoke, or cancel your license if you are convicted of driving under the influence in criminal court. These suspensions are different from administrative suspensions in that they are almost completely up to a judge’s discretion based on the outcome of your case. If you’re found guilty, you could have your case referred to the Department of Public Safety and have your license revoked all the same.
Just like in the administrative hearing, your license suspension will depend on several factors, including the number of prior offenses you have on your record within a five-year period. First-time offenders will likely receive a 90-day license suspension, while subsequent offenders will likely receive the following penalties:
- Second-time offenders: mandatory minimum one year suspension
- Third-time offenders: mandatory minimum three-year suspension
- Fourth-time offenders: mandatory minimum five-year suspension
Losing your ability to drive is an extremely detrimental penalty that can have serious ramifications on your life. Those who have their license suspended lose their driving privileges entirely for an indicated period of time, which could impact your ability to go to work and earn a living, travel to pick up food or other living necessities, and much more.
Don’t leave your case up in the air; fight back against your license suspension by contacting Tidwell Law Group, LLC to schedule a case evaluation. Call us today by dialing (205) 536-7770.