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How Administrative Driver's License Hearings Work

In some DUI/DUAC cases, there are two parts, court and administrative. The administrative portion is heard in a different court and is concerned only with the Breathalyzer suspension. If you refused or registered over .15 on the Breathalyzer, the officer likely took your license and issued a notice of suspension.

You have 30 days to request the administrative hearing. The blue form you were given tells you on the back in the first paragraph that if you complete the form and submit it to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), in most cases, you will be eligible for a temporary alcohol restricted license (TARL). The form asks that you provide information about your attorney, but you do not have to have an attorney to submit the form and you should not wait as that will only delay getting back on the road.

The hearing will likely be set in the next 60 to 120 days. If it takes more than six months to schedule the hearing, the temporary license can be extended.

Limited Issues In Administrative Hearings

The issues in the hearing are limited and the rules of evidence that apply are different from those used in criminal court. You may not even need to be present. You should discuss that with your lawyer. Even if you are not required to appear, there may be valid reasons you should be present.

The hearing officer must determine if there was probable cause for the arrest and if the Breathalyzer was administered in accordance with South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) regulations. The arresting officer and Breathalyzer operator must be present and will testify. Your attorney can ask questions and make arguments to the judge why the suspension should be overturned (rescinded). If the officers are not present, you will win the hearing as there is no evidence upon which the judge can uphold the suspension.

If the judge upholds the driver's license suspension, you may be eligible for a route-restricted license, but no driving privilege will be available to you until you successfully complete the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP). If you win the hearing and the suspension is rescinded, you will be eligible to get your regular license back.

Fight Both Parts Of A DUI/DUAC Case

Please remember what was said at the start of this — there are two parts to a DUI/DUAC and if you win the hearing, it does not mean the ability of the state to proceed on the ticket is affected in any way. By the same token, if you lose, it does not mean you are guilty in criminal court.

To get individualized legal advice, please email or call 864-236-4631 for a free consultation.