What to Expect From a DMV License Suspension Hearing in DC
When a person is scheduled for a license suspension hearing, they need to understand that there is a possibility that they may lose their license. On the day of the hearing, the hearing examiner will decide whether a person is liable for the arrest. If the DMV finds fault, then their license is revoked immediately. Unfortunately, there is no waiting period which is why a person should have someone drive them to the hearing or use another form of transportation.
When it comes to the hearing, most clients will not testify for the same reason that they would want the officer to testify. A driver’s testimony can be used against them at trial. This is why most people will simply have their DC DUI attorneys attend a hearing on their behalf and skip it altogether.
Administrative Hearings and the Public Record
Your administrative hearing will become part of the public record. Administrative hearing recordings are available and can be ordered for a fee. However, this does not mean that the hearing and outcome can be accessed online like in criminal cases where the DC Superior Court website has a case search feature that allows you to view the details of a person’s case.
The DMV does not have this feature. Hearings are made public in the way that if your license is revoked by the DC DMV, they will notify the national database containing the names of people whose licenses are revoked.
Revocation Hearing Attendance
The only people present at the revocation hearing are the hearing examiner, the police officer, and the defendant’s attorney. Very seldom will anyone else attend the revocation hearing.
The Hearing Examiner
The person who oversees the hearing and who makes the decision is the hearing examiner. This person is not a judge, as judges do not officiate revocation hearings.
When the hearing examiner decides to revoke your license, this is not the same as the judgment in your criminal case. This is because hearing examiners are not judges that are appointed to a lifetime term like at your average courthouse. They are strictly employees of the department of motor vehicles that function in a judicial role.
Even though hearing examiners are not judges, they also apply the law to the facts presented when making a determination of whether a person’s license should be revoked. Thus, the hearing examiner who hears the facts of your administrative cases at the DMV will not be the same person who will hear the facts associated with your criminal case at DC Superior Court.
The Police Officer at Your Hearing
At a revocation hearing, a police officer will provide the hearing examiner with his testimony without having a prosecutor ask questions. The officer will present their statement, their observations, and their evidence against the defendant. The examiner may ask the police officer questions. Then the defense attorney has the chance to offer their evidence and examine the officer. Everything is completed in front of the examiner and the examiner renders a decision immediately.