Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Drivers License Issues Associated with DUI's

Many of my clients are often confused about temporary driver's licenses related to being charged with a DUI. I am hopeful anyone charged with a DUI in South Carolina will read this and understand some basics with regard to how they may be able to get a drivers license once charged, depending on the scenario.

To begin with, if the Defendant has been charged with a DUI and either refused the breath test or took the breath test and blew a .15 or greater, then the Defendant will have their license suspended for 6 months AND be required to take the ADSAP (Alcohol & Drug Safety Action Program class). That having been said, your lawyer will explain to you that in most cases you will want to request an administrative hearing challenging the suspension of your license for your refusal of the breath test or for blowing a .15 or greater. Requesting this hearing is easily done. Most defense lawyers will have you request this on your own. You should have been given a pink piece of paper. On the backside of that piece of paper at the top you will see where you should sign your name and write in your address and phone number. There is also a place for you to add your attorney's name and address and phone number, although this is not mandatory. BUT, should you choose not to add your attorney's name on that pink piece of paper, you will want to forward the hearing notice to your attorney once you hire one. Below the signature and address lines is a paragraph that indicates the address in Columbia to mail a $150 filing fee check. NOTE: YOU MUST SEND CERTIFIED FUNDS IN THE FORM OF A MONEY ORDER OR CERTIFIED CHECK. The Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings does not take personal checks for obvious reasons.

Typically, within 7-10 days from the date that you mail that pink piece of paper into the appropriate address in Columbia, the OMVH (Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings) or DMV will mail you some paperwork that you can take to the DMV to obtain a Temporary Alcohol License. Please note that this license is not a provisional or route restricted license. It is called a Temporary Alcohol License and is different from a provisional license. Make sure you refer to it correctly at the DMV or you may confuse the person at the DMV trying to help you. The cost for the Temporary Alcohol License is $100 and is good for 6 months. You likely will not need that license for the entire 6 months as your administrative hearing is typically scheduled 2-3 months from the date of sending in the pink piece of paper. Your attorney will advise you as to whether you need to attend this hearing with him or her. The Temp. Alcohol License is unrestricted within the state of South Carolina. The Defendant can drive anywhere within the state, but not out of state at all. Further, this license does not apply to commercial drivers licenses (CDL). A CDL license remains suspended. Consult your lawyer for advice on a CDL issue.

The Provisional License is another type of temporary license. If ever any of my clients plead guilty to a DUAC (Driving with Unlawful Alcohol Concentration), they are eligible for a Provisional License. When a Defendant takes a guilty plea to a DUAC, they are required to enroll and complete the ADSAP course and obtain SR-22 insurance (extra car insurance which must be maintained for 3 years from the date it is purchased). The Provisional License should be called a "Contingency License" because it is actually an unrestricted license obtainable only after the defendant gets SR-22 insurance in place and enrolls in the ADSAP course (which costs $500 to enroll in and they do not do payment plans!)

These are two of the main licenses clients of mine look to obtain. I hope this article explains how they work a little better. In other circumstances a route restricted license may be appropriate for the Defendant. This type of license is a "to and from work" license. Consult with your attorney to discuss which license is appropriate for you.

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