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Getting Your License Back after a DUI Arrest

Did the police officer keep your license or give you a “Notice of Suspension” as part of your DUI arrest? If so, our DUI defense team can get you back on the road again as fast as legally possible. This suspension is not one that can be contested in court, but instead must be challenged through a special procedure.

We can help you restore your legal driving privileges in South Carolina in just a few business days. Here’s how:

  • As soon as we are retained a DUI defense attorney will prepare a petition to be filed with the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings in downtown Columbia. We have programmed our computer system to automate this process, generating the necessary legal petition in just a few minutes.
  • Once prepared and signed by an attorney the petition is given to an employee for hand-delivery to the hearing office. Hand delivery is preferable to mail (even overnight), since it will be processed the same day. Often, we are able to have the petition filed the same day that we are hired.
  • Within a few business days the DMV computer system will be updated with your case information.
  • You can obtain your legal driving credential (called a temporary alcohol license) directly from the DMV. You can now drive anywhere in South Carolina, 24 hours a day without restriction.

CAUTION: If the officer kept your license of gave you a “Notice of Suspension” form do not drive until you read and understand the following information.

Will I get my license back if my DUI is dismissed or reduced?

No. Once the “Notice of Suspension” form is issued, your license remains suspended no matter what happens in Court. Even if your DUI is completely dismissed you are still facing this suspension. The only way to clear it is by following the procedures described in this article.

How long do I have to begin this process?

You only have thirty days to initiate this process. If you fail to meet this deadline, even by just one day, you will not be eligible for this process. Instead you will have to agree to enroll and complete the ADSAP program, and then obtain a restricted license and\or ignition interlock device. This is even if your DUI charge is ultimately dismissed.

When we file the paperwork for our clients to obtain their license back we hand-carry it for filing to avoid any risk of lost or misplaced mail. Our office will also scan the clocked copy of the petition in and e-mail it to our client so that they can verify that their paperwork was timely submitted.

Why the officer took your license

In South Carolina there are two ways you can lose your driver’s license as part of a DUI charge. One is by being convicted of DUI. This only happens at the end of the case, and after you have gone to court.

The other is by triggering an implied consent violation. This happens if you agree to a breath test and provide a sample of 0.15 or higher, or the officer alleges that you declined to give a breath, blood, or urine sample. When this happens the officer is legally allowed to issue a Notice of Suspension form, immediately suspending your privilege to drive in South Carolina. A copy of that notice will be provided to the DMV.

The information in this article relates to those whose licenses were suspended as a result of an implied consent suspension. If that applies to you, it explains why you didn’t get your license back from the officer after your arrest.

Can’t you just go to the DMV and get a duplicate license?

Some people think that they can just go to the DMV after an arrest and obtain a duplicate license. This actually is true, the DMV won’t know about the suspension for a few days. If you rush out to the DMV straight from jail they’ll give you a replacement license. However this doesn’t mean that it is legal for you to drive. If you are caught driving on that duplicate license you will be arrested for driving under suspension.

It’s true that another police officer who runs your license won’t see the suspension either, but if you’re bad luck continues the same officer who arrested you (and you’re your license) sees you driving in the next few days and he’ll know you’re doing so illegally, and can re-arrest you.

How does this work for CDL holders?

The implied consent suspension also applies to CDL holders. However the temporary alcohol license, or any other hardship license issued by the DMV, only restores privileges to operate non-commercial vehicles. This means that you won’t be able to drive anything that requires a CDL while this is pending. For this reason it is important that your favorable resolve both the implied consent suspension and underlying DUI charge in order to be allowed to restore your full CDL privileges.

What if you don’t have a South Carolina license?

In the event that you are licensed by another state you still must be mindful of these procedures. If you qualified for an implied consent suspension (either by a 0.15 or higher BAC or a refusal), then the officer should not have taken your license. They are however able to still issue the “Notice of Suspension” form to you.

Immediately, your license is not suspended but your privilege to drive in South Carolina is. For example, if you are licensed by North Carolina and refuse the breath test, then your North Carolina license remains valid. However you are not allowed to drive in South Carolina, but you can continue to drive in every other state.

You still must ensure that the petition with the Office of Motor Vehicles is filed on your behalf. If you do not, after approximately thirty days the South Carolina DMV will notify your home state that you did not challenge the “Notice of Suspension.” Your home state will then take adverse action against you, which normally will include a suspension and requirement that you obtain alcohol counseling.

If a petition is timely filed however your home state won’t immediately suspend your license. You also will be allowed to obtain a non-resident driving credential form from the DMV (currently only available from two specific DMV locations). You’ll keep this credential form with you to establish that you are legally allowed to drive in South Carolina.

As a parent, what if you don’t want your child driving?

Many parents are concerned about the poor choices that lead to their children’s DUI arrest. They may be satisfied with the license suspension, and may not think it is a good idea to try to get another license right away. We believe that whether or not your child actually gets the replacement license should be a decision that you make as a family. It is not something that our lawyers would encourage or pressure you or your child into doing.

What is important is to have the petition filed with the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings to challenge the implied consent suspension. Your child does not have to actually get the replacement license after, but it is important to file this paperwork. The reason is that many times we can utilize the implied consent hearing procedures to gain an advantage in the underlying DUI charge. Maybe we will learn some details about the case that can help us fight the case. Maybe the officer will agree to dismiss the DUI if we give up the implied consent challenge. There are a lot of possibilities.

The one thing that is always true however is that the effects of an implied consent suspension are only temporary. In a few years the insurance rates and driving record will go back to normal. A DUI conviction however is lifetime, and can have consequences for your child for the rest of their lives.

Contact a Lexington DUI Lawyer Today

If your license has been suspended for an implied consent violation it is important that you do not drive until your license is officially reinstated by the DMV. If you are caught driving you could be arrested and charged with driving under suspension, a separate criminal offense. If you choose to hire our office for your case we will immediately file a challenge on the implied suspension to get you driving legally again as quickly as possible.

We offer free consultation to those arrested for DUI, contact our office today for the representation you deserve.

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