The first think you need to do is make sure you understand both deadlines
that initially apply to your case. Many DUI charges are actually two separate
cases, and when a deadline is missed in either case it can have a drastic
effect on your case, your driver’s license, and even your liberty.
So what are the two cases?
The first, and the only one most people think about, is the criminal case
pending in court. The criminal case is where you are determined to be
“guilty” or “not-guilty” of DUI.
The second is the civil case pending before the DMV’s administrative
hearing office. Many cases have this second component, it will apply in
your case if you either refused a breath, blood, or urine test, or if
you provided a breath sample in excess of 0.15. The administrative case
is what determines if your driver’s license is to remain suspended
related to the testing procedure.
You need to immediately calendar the initial deadlines in both cases. If
you are late, even by just one day, it can result in you losing your driver’s
license, or even a bench warrant being issued for your arrest. The initial
deadline for the criminal case is usually written on your ticket (and
can be as soon as just a week and half after your arrest). The administrative
deadline will be thirty days after the date of your arrest.
After you make sure you understand both dates, your next step should be
to hire a lawyer for your case. When someone hires us for their case the
first thing we are going to do is to make sure that everything that needs
to be done to protect our client’s rights for both cases is done.
In fact, we usually have an employee hand-file the necessary documents
the same or the following business day after we are hired to make sure
that nothing is missed.