Arrested and accused of driving under the influence of alcohol? You are probable aware of the fact that you will be facing a DUI criminal case in court and fighting for your freedom; however, you may not know that you also have a driver’s license revocation that you must fight as well. In Oklahoma, you will face a driver’s license revocation proceeding with DPS, if you are arrested under suspicion of DUI or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while intoxicated. In this article, you will learn about the administrative side of a DUI incident and what DPS must prove in order to revoke your driving privileges after a DUI arrest.
Each Oklahoma DUI case has two aspects: the civil (driver’s license case) and criminal (DUI criminal case). The civil aspect refers to actions to be taken by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) on the arrested driver’s license driving privilege. The criminal aspect is the more familiar criminal court proceeding.
Following a DUI arrest, the arrested driver will get a notice of driver’s license revocation. The driver is expected to respond to that notice by filing an appeal within 30 days. Failure to file an appeal and request a DPS hearing will lead to a driver’s license revocation, lasting up to 180 days, unless you participate in DPS’s IDAP program.
District Court Appeals
You are entitled to due process regarding your driving privileges in Oklahoma. You may challenge the initial driving privileges revocation by filing an Appeal in state District Court through a civil action. The state District Court where you were arrested for DUI is the only county with jurisdiction to hear your appeal.
In order to initiate a civil district court appeal, you must file a civil petition, i.e. a lawsuit against DPS, and pay the filing fee, which is roughly $180.00.
What is the District Court Appeal Process?
After you file your civil petition, an Order setting a hearing date is provided to the assigned judge to set a hearing date within 30 days and DPS must be directed to pause/stay your driver’s license revocation, until the district court appeal is resolved. During this time, you will continue to have all your driving privileges.
During the hearing, the arresting officer or the officers at the scene of your DUI will testimony regarding the basis of your initial law enforcement contact for an APC charge or the basis of your traffic stop for a DUI. The state has the burden of proof to show that reasonable suspicion of the crime of DUI, APC, or another public offense took place, which warranted the initial police interaction.
Additionally, the officer must prove probable cause evidence to support the arrest for DUI or APC. Separate from reasonable suspicion to warrant the initial stop, the state must prove the Board of Tests rules were complied with concerning any Field Sobriety Tests, chemical tests, and/or refusals. This aspect of your district court appeal (DCA) is very important and highly complex. The rules governing Field Sobriety Tests and the other issues related to DUI testing, i.e. breathalyzers, deprivation periods, and blood alcohol tests, are complex and an officer’s failure to comply with the Board of Tests rules may result in the results be excluded.
Ahead of the district court hearing, questions like who has the burden of proof and what they are required to prove may come up. Read on to find answers to those questions and others related to driver’s license revocations and the process to protect your driver’s license after a DUI arrest.
Who has the burden of proof in a Driver’s License Revocation Hearing?
The state has the burden of proof in a DPS driver’s license revocation hearing. However, what the state is required to prove in such hearing depends on the answers to these questions:
- Is the driver aged 21 or below?
- Was the driver’s BAC at 0.08% or above?
- Did the driver refuse the state’s test?
Regardless of the answers to the questions above, common denominators for the state in a driver’s license revocation case are:
- Reasonable grounds to believe the driver was driving under the influence (DUI) or in actual physical control (APC) of the vehicle.
- That the driver had been placed under arrest.
Whatever the state provides as evidence during the driver’s license revocation hearing will build on the two factors above.
What if the driver’s BAC was 0.08 or above?
If the state alleges that the driver blew into the breathalyzer, one of two things would be considered:
- Is the driver over 21 and was their BAC 0.08% or over?
- Is the driver under 21 and was any amount of alcohol detected in their blood?
For drivers under the age of 21, the state must further prove that:
- The driver was not denied a blood or breath test
- The samples obtained and presented during the hearing as evidence were obtained within 2 hours of the arrest
- The driver was advised that their driving privileges would be revoked if any amount of alcohol was detected in their blood, and
- That the test results showed a detectable amount of alcohol in the driver’s blood.
What if the driver refused the state test?
If the driver refused the state’s DUI test at the time of arrest, the state would be required to prove two additional things:
- That the driver had indeed refused the test
- That the driver was informed that a refusal of the test would result in losing their driving privileges.
So, a driver’s license may be revoked if the state can prove that, indeed, the arresting officers offered the test, the driver refused, and the driver was advised of the consequences of refusing the DUI test.
What happens if I lose my District Court Appeal?
The short answer is that the judge will sustain your driver’s license revocation. However, you have the right to a modified driver’s license, if the judge sustains the revocation. Once you receive a modified driver’s license you will be required to install an interlock device in your vehicle, i.e. a blow and go. The period of modification lasts 180 days and DPS will monitor the interlock device during this time. A single violation of the interlock device may result in an additional six-months of the interlock device being required in any vehicle you drive.
Once your period of modification of your driving privileges ends, your full driving privileges will be restored, so long as you have completed the following additional requirements:
- Completion of an alcohol assessment
- Completion of an Alcohol and Drug Substance Abuse Course (ADSAC)
- Victim Impact Panel (VIP)
- Payment of the reinstatement fee, which is roughly $350.00 – $400.00
- Any other recommendation of the Assessor through DPS
The driver might face a longer driver’s license revocation term if they had a prior offense on record.
What happens if I win my District Court Appeal?
You win! The driver’s license revocation, which was initial suspended during the district court appeal process will be set aside or dismissed, if you win your district court appeal. Additionally, you will receive the following benefits, if you are successful in your district court appeal following a DUI:
- You will not have any additional fines or fees.
- You will not be required to complete the list of requirements above.
- You will not be required to install an interlock device on your vehicle
- Your full driving privileges will be restored
However, before you jump for joy because of winning your district court appeal following a DUI arrest, remember that the government gets two bites at the apple of suspending your license. In your criminal case, i.e. the separate jurisdiction and process discussed above, if you are convicted in your DUI or APC case then your driver’s license will be revoked.
The good news is that if you work with an experienced DUI defense attorney you may increase your chances of avoiding a DUI conviction by obtaining a dismissal of your DUI charges or be receiving a deferred sentence on your DUI. Both avenues afford you the opportunity to have your DUI or APC case dismissed. The deferred sentence route is a delay in the dismissal of your DUI case, which requires you to complete certain tasks prior to your case being dismissed.
What options do I have other than a District Court Appeal?
Since the termination of the administrative hearing process within DPS itself, only two options remain related to your driving privileges following a DUI arrest: district court appeal or IDAP. The IDAP program is DPS’ version of a diversion program, which allows you to protect your driving privileges by participating in the expensive, but effective DPS program. For more information on IDAP visit the following page of our website:
Contact – Cannon & Associates: Oklahoma Fierce Advocates® for DUI Defendants
Your Fierce Advocates® at Cannon & Associates, have the experience you need to represent you and your loved ones in any Oklahoma DUI offense, including DPS driver’s license district court appeals. We have successfully handled several cases in the past for clients facing every type of DUI offense, from first-offense DUI or APC to vehicular manslaughter DUI or Felony DUI, including the variety of complex processes regarding driving privileges with DPS.
Contact Cannon & Associates by completing the CONTACT FORM ON THIS PAGE NOW or CALL at 405-883-4427 for a free, confidential case strategy meeting. We look forward to meeting you and your family, answering your questions, and being Your Fierce Advocates® if we are the right fit for you.