DC DMV Administrative Hearings For DUI Suspension
The administrative hearing for a license suspension is fairly formal. It is held in a small courtroom and presided over by a judge. At an administrative hearing, attorneys offer testimony and evidence and make legal and factual arguments on behalf of their clients. Then the hearing examiner makes a ruling. It happens fairly quickly and as soon as the evidence is presented, a decision is rendered by the hearing examiner. There is no wait to find out if your license is revoked.d
Location of Administrative Hearings
Administrative hearings are held at the DC DMV Adjudication Branch located at 301 C Street, NW. It is located in the basement of the police station, which is convenient for the officers, but not necessarily for all those who must attend. You will be assigned to one of the adjudication branch’s 20 hearing examination rooms. When you check in on the day of your hearing, the clerks will inform you of the room where your hearing will take place.
Administrative Hearing Impact on DUI Cases
The outcome of an administrative hearing can impact a DUI case, but it varies. If the officer who made the arrest attends the administrative hearing, it will allow the person’s attorney the opportunity to cross-examine the officer ahead of the trial. This opportunity to gather additional evidence or information that the officer left out of their report can be very helpful for trial. In many ways, the hearing can be a dry run for the trial and can be helpful for many defendants.
Also, if the officer attends, he will provide sworn testimony at the DMV, meaning the proceeding will be conducted under oath and in accordance with municipal regulations. If that officer is caught, for example, fabricating something at that hearing, it can be used to attack the officer’s credibility at trial. In addition, the officer may not prepare as diligently for a hearing and may offer testimony that contradicts what the officer says at trial. This can weaken the government’s case.
When a Criminal Case Occurs in Comparison to an Administrative Hearing
An administrative hearing does not occur at the same time as a criminal case, even though they are parallel proceedings. This means when you are arrested, your case is referred to the attorney general’s office in DC where they make a decision about whether they will charge you with the crime. The officer will only refer charges to the prosecutor’s office. At the same time, they are submitting their paperwork to the DMV who will begin proceedings against your license.
These DUI court appearances occur at the same time during the six months or so after you are arrested. You will have the DMV portion and the DC Superior Court criminal portion, but the proceedings themselves will not necessarily happen on the same day.
Role of the Hearing
Once a person has requested a formal review hearing with the DC DMV, the person’s driving privileges remain in full effect up until the hearing. Prior to the DC DMV hearing, a person is entitled to hire legal representation to assist them at the DMV hearing. Their lawyer can appear without their client’s presence for the DMV hearing. This is different from DC Superior Court hearings which require a defendant to be present with their lawyer at every hearing.
A DC driver who has their DC license revoked by the DC DMV following a DUI arrest is not entitled to drive anywhere for the duration of the revocation period. A person who loses at an administrative hearing on their driver’s license, but has a non-DC license will only have their driving privileges inside the District of Columbia revoked. However, that revocation could transfer to their home state, at which point their home state could take adverse action against their driving privileges based on their own local rules.
Obtaining a Restricted License
Unlike many other states, Washington DC does not allow a person to receive a restricted or limited license or a work or school permit if the revocation of their driving privileges was a result of a DC DUI. There are no exceptions to that rule and a revoked license is mandatory for every single person who has been convicted of a DUI.
Other Forms of ID
If a person’s license has been revoked as a result of a DUI, that person would still be eligible to receive a DC ID card that is purely for the purposes of identification, but would not grant that person any driving privileges. A DC ID card will be accepted as a government form of identification and can be used for traveling by flight or any other situation in which a government issued ID is required.