An administrative license suspension occurs in the state of Pennsylvania when a person submits a chemical test that proves they have been driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Following a DUI conviction, traditional penalties associated with a DUI, such as jail time, probation, potential ignition interlock device installment, community service or drug and alcohol treatment programs are immediately enforced upon a defendant. Alongside these penalties carried out by the criminal justice system are administrative penalties, which are immediately enforced by Pennsylvania's Department of Transportation (PennDOT). Administrative penalties imposed by the department typically consist of the immediate suspension of a motorist's driver's license. In an effort to revoke the order of a suspension or receive an occupational limited license (OLL) or probationary license (PL), defendants have the option of requesting an administrative hearing. Therefore, another case, besides the DUI criminal case that ensued, will be held to determine whether or not a suspension will occur.
Being subjected to a driver's license suspension is inconvenient. The obligations that the average person mindlessly tends to in their daily life - school, work, extracurricular activities, picking up and dropping off the kids from school, religious outings etc. - becomes incredibly difficult when driving privileges are compromised. The thought of facing this reality inspires some defendants to request an administrative license suspension hearing. In the event that a hearing ends in the favor of a defendant, he or she will be able to avoid the hassle of figuring out a different way to commute to the places that they normally would travel to in their personal vehicle using their license.
Requesting an Administrative License Suspension (ALS) Hearing
Once a motorist has been arrested for driving under the influence and is booked at a police state, he or she will be served with a Notice of Suspension by the DMV. The notice is intended to inform drivers that a suspension will take effect 30 days after the date of the arrest unless an administrative license suspension hearing is requested. Drivers who wish to request a hearing have merely 10 days to successfully do so. Any efforts to request a hearing outside of the allotted time frame will be dismissed and the suspension will still take effect, so it's important that motorists act immediately.
In order to request a hearing, a driver must write a letter to the Secretary of Transportation. This letter must contain the following information:
- a petitioner's name;
- the driver's license number or identification number;
- date of birth;
- mailing address;
- phone number;
- the signature of a petitioner and the petitioner's legal counsel; and
- A non-refundable $100 filing fee (check or money order only)
Once this request is sent in, an administrative review will be conducted to ensure that the driver's request contains all the correct information and that it was made within the confines of state guidelines and regulations. Typically an attorney is part of this process, due to the fact that he or she obtains the legal expertise to determine that there is an actual demand and good reasoning for a hearing to ensue. Once this demand is made by an attorney and the review is complete, a date and time for a hearing will be scheduled. If a petition is missing any of the above information, it will be denied.
All driver's license suspension hearings will be located in Harrisburg and the motorist must be present for it to be held.
What Happens During an ALS hearing?
Although a petitioner is not required to be represented by an attorney. It is recommended that they do to maximize his or her chances of success. This hearing will be much like trials that attorneys recurrently frequent during the course of their careers. A petitioner will testify under oath and present evidence and witnesses. He or she will also be asked questions by the Bureau of Driver Licensing's representative or counsel. Then the bureau will prevent evidence and witnesses to plead their case. Questions can be asked by the petitioner for clarification.
Appealing an ALS Hearing
A motorist has the right to appeal the determination of the Bureau within 30 days of receiving a notice. The request for an appeal should contain the following elements:
- A statement of all the facts of a case, including all the essential components in a claim
- A clear list of the legal issues that arose during a hearing and the desired remedy of these issues
- A copy of the denial letter
- An address where documents and pleadings will be served
- And a telephone number a petitioner can be reached
Experienced Philadelphia DUI Defense Attorney
If you have been found guilty of driving under the influence and wish to request an administrative license suspension hearing, you should immediately contact a legal professional. With the help of a dedicated attorney, the likelihood of an outcome that is in your favor is increased. Joseph D. Lento is here to help. Contact him today.