The state of Louisiana has taken great strides in combating intoxicated driving. Since they passed an all-offender ignition interlock law in 2007, DUI fatalities have dropped by nearly 40 percent. However, there are still roughly 225 alcohol-related traffic fatalities each year.
Because of the devastation drunken driving can cause, it is only right that these drivers face serious consequences. In addition to a potential civil suit filed by a personal injury lawyer, an intoxicated driver also risks losing their driver’s license. But do you lose your license immediately after a DUI? While it is true law enforcement will immediately seize your license; the answer is more complicated.
Importantly, there are two different types of DUI suspensions under Louisiana law. The first type of suspension only comes upon a criminal conviction. Until you plead guilty or are found guilty at trial, this suspension will not apply. The second type of suspension is known as an administrative suspension, and it is triggered immediately upon an arrest for DUI.
What happens to your license after a DUI arrest?
Upon arrest, and under suspicion of DUI in Louisiana, the arresting officer will seize your driver’s license. However, that does not mean your ability to drive is gone. After seizing your license, the arresting officer will issue you a receipt of a license form issued by the Louisiana Department of Safety and Corrections. However, this form is more than a receipt for your property. The receipt also serves as a temporary driver’s license. It gives you the right to operate a motor vehicle for up to 30 days following your arrest. What happens next depends on how you respond to the administrative suspension.
If you do nothing, your license to operate a motor vehicle will be suspended after the initial 30-day window closes. However, if you appeal your administrative suspension, you could delay the enforcement of the suspension or potentially avoid it altogether.
Appealing an administrative suspension
Following the issuance of a temporary license following a DUI arrest, you have 15 days to apply for an administrative hearing. If 15 days go by without a formal hearing request, the administrative suspension goes into effect after the 30th day following the arrest. Without a hearing, the suspension for a 1st offense DUI is typically 90 days for a first offense. If you refused a breathalyzer test or have prior convictions, that suspension could be longer.
Instead of going into effect after 30 days, your administrative suspension will be put on hold until after the hearing. At the administrative hearing, you can make your case that you were not intoxicated at the time of your arrest. While this may sound similar to a trial, it is far more informal. The rules of evidence are lax, and the hearing is not heard in a court of law.
At the hearing, you have the right to submit evidence you believe will prove your innocence. Likewise, the state is entitled to argue that your arrest was appropriate and that the administrative license suspension should stand. If you prevail at your hearing, the suspension is lifted. Otherwise, the suspension will go into effect. During every stage of the administrative suspension process, you have the right to an attorney.
If you are facing a potential administrative suspension following a DUI, you might benefit from discussing your options with legal counsel. But if you suffered an injury from a collision with a drunk driver– you need not just any personal injury attorney. Be Smart, Get Bart ®
Injured by a drunk driver? Get Bart.
If you are seeking Lafayette personal injury lawyers to assist you in pursuing monetary compensation from a DUI accident injury, attorney Bart Bernard can help. Following a collision with a drunk driver, recovering from your injuries, can be a costly burden. To discuss your legal options with an experienced Lafayette car accident lawyer, contact attorney Bart Bernard right away.