It is super important to understand that after a DUI there are two sides of the Army coin when it comes to suspending your driver’s license.
First is the administrative side suspending your license through the Utah Driver’s License Division. This happens first most often with your DUI arrest.
Second is suspending your license through the court’s sentencing and probationary terms.
You may prove your innocence at the administrative DLD hearing and keep your license. But later at the criminal case you lose and therefore you license is suspended through the court conviction.
Your driving privilege may be withdrawn on the 45th day after the date of arrest. See Utah Code 53-3-223(7). When the Utah DLD takes action against your driver’s license they will send you a letter at their best known address for you indicating the suspension, why and for how long.
Keep Your Address Updated with DLD. It is super important that the DLD has the correct address. If you recently moved you may miss the DLD letter suspending your license.
On the bottom of the DUI citation it states your rights to request a DUI DLD hearing to see if you can keep you license.
You have 10 days to request a hearing with a DLD hearing officer or your license will likely be administratively suspended for your DUI arrest.
The purpose of a Utah DLD DUI hearing is to determine the following matters:
(1). Whether a peace officer had reasonable grounds to believe the person was driving a motor vehicle in violation of Section 41-6a-502, 41-6a-517, 76-5-102.1, or 76-5-207;
(2). Whether the person refused to submit to the test; and
(3). The test results, if any.
See Utah Code 53-3-223(6)(c).
The standard of proof that the government carries is very low. A finding of reasonable grounds is even lower than a 51 percent preponderance standard often used in civil matters. The hearing officer controls the amount of debate and duration of the hearing and the Utah Rules of Evidence do not apply to an informal administrative procedures.
The following people show up at the DLD DUI hearing:
(1). Arresting law enforcement officer. Usually by phone, but sometimes in-person.
(2). The arrested person.
(3). The DLD hearing officer, who is often not law trained.
(4). Your Utah DUI attorney.
One huge mistake that people arrested for DUIs make is thinking that this hearing is world war three. It is not and it is limited in duration and debate. Further people arrested for DUIs often don’t understand the low burden needed to administratively suspend your license by the DLD. It is reasonable grounds, not the highest proof in the union—Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.
You can appeal the decision of the DLD hearing officer within 30 days by filing a petition for judicial review in the district court. See Utah Code 53-3-223(8)(b) which read:
(b) A person whose license has been suspended by the division under this section following an administrative hearing may file a petition within 30 days after the suspension for a hearing on the matter which, if held, is governed by Section 53-3-224.
The evidence burden on judicial review of an administrative finding is “substantial evidence.” A very low evidence standard. The evidence standard on appeal is very deferential to the hearing officer.
First DUI: 120 days for the first offense.
Second DUI: 2 years for the second offense.
1st Refuse to submit: Refusing a chemical test results in an administrative revocation – 18 months. 2nd refusal to submit is 36 months.
1st Refusal to submit conviction: A conviction for a refusal to submit to a chemical test – 18 months. 2nd refusal conviction is 36 months.
Is There any Limited License for a DUI Conviction of a DLD Hearing Suspension?
Every DUI lawyer would have around 15 limited license case going at all times if there were a limited license available for DUI convicted drivers. There is not as of 2023. See Utah Code 53-3-220 (2023).
Limited license to drive to work, school and church are found in Utah Code 53-3-220(4)(a). DUI like convictions are not listed on the approved convictions eligible for a limited license. It is a thick read, but worth it.
If you lose your administrative hearing that you request within 10 days of your DUI arrest there is a small exception where you can apply for a limited license pending the outcome of your DUI criminal case. See Utah Code 53-3-223(10)(2023). You have to jump through some hoops and then it is reinstated only until the outcome of the criminal case where it could be suspended again.
The reason to request a DLD hearing is twofold: (1). Try to keep your license until the outcome of the criminal case. (2). Use the hearing as a discovery tool to see the strengths of the government’s case.