Client Guide: What to expect at your DMV hearing

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In Oregon, after a DUI arrest, two distinct processes unfold simultaneously. The first is the criminal case, occupying most people’s thoughts. The second is the Implied Consent process, often called the DMV hearing process. Just like navigating the criminal court system, stepping into Oregon’s DMV hearings may feel like venturing into the unknown. That’s why Reynolds Defense Firm is here to accompany you every step of the way, offering understanding and reassurance.

When you hire an attorney, they can handle the DMV hearing on your behalf, primarily because your testimony isn’t always necessary for this type of hearing. Most often, Reynolds Defense Firm clients opt to have our attorneys appear for them. However, there are instances where our lawyers may advise you to appear and testify. So, this blog aims to address some of the common questions we hear from clients who need to attend their DMV hearing:

What’s the point of the DMV hearing?

After every DUI arrest, the officer must submit paperwork to the DMV for your driver’s license to be suspended. The suspension can be for anywhere between 90 days to three years.  The length of your suspension depends on your prior driving record and other circumstances. A DMV hearing is your only opportunity to contest that suspension. And, more than just contesting a suspension; it’s a chance to gain valuable insights into your case. By examining the state’s evidence, you not only build a stronger defense but also gain clarity for the road ahead.

Is it the same judge that handles my criminal court case?

As we explained above, the DMV hearing process is entirely separate from your criminal court case. The decision-making authority in DMV hearings lies with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), who is different from any judge presiding over your criminal court matter. While the administrative law  judges may not wear traditional robes, they are experienced and dedicated to ensuring fairness in every case they hear. These judges specialize in DMV administrative proceedings, which operate independently from criminal court proceedings.

Do I lose my driving privileges right away if we lose the hearing?

The ALJ will not make a decision about your suspension at the hearing. Instead, they will mail a written decision to you which must be post-marked before your suspension begins. Your proposed suspension is usually slated to start on the 30th day after the date of your arrest, typically lining up with the start date of the temporary license (the long yellow piece of paper that the officer gave you after your arrest, called the Implied Consent Combined Report  or “ICCR”)

Should I talk to the arresting officer while we wait for the hearing?

While waiting for your DMV hearing, you might encounter the arresting officer. While it’s tempting to engage in conversation in an effort to be courteous, it’s better to remain respectful, but refrain from chit chat. Officers are trained to listen for any slip-ups and make comparisons to your demeanor now versus the night of the arrest, so tread carefully and keep your interactions polite and brief.

Reynolds Defense Firm on Your Side

As with any court or DMV appearance, if you have any questions before your hearing, contact your legal team who will be happy to address all your concerns before you appear in front of the judge. We want to prepare you for success, both in the courtroom and in life. We’re your guide through the DUI process, empowering you every step of the way.

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