What Happens at a License Revocation Hearing for a Colorado DUI

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Colorado DUI Administrative License Revocation Hearing Overview:

The Administrative hearing is a mini-trial where an administrative officer will decide whether you get to keep your driver’s license.  At this hearing, evidence will be presented against you concerning your alleged DUI.  After hearing all of the evidence, the hearing officer will decide whether you were driving a motor vehicle, whether the police officer had probable cause to arrest you, and whether you were either under the influence of alcohol or refused to take the breath test.  If the hearing officer finds that you were driving, that the police officer had probable cause to arrest you, and that you were under the influence of alcohol (either through a blood test, breath test, or refusal), your license will get revoked.  At the hearing, you can be represented by your Colorado DUI Lawyer, or you can choose to represent yourself.

Getting to the Hearing:

Once you have requested an administrative hearing for your Colorado DUI, you will be given a date and location for the hearing.  Some hearings are held over the phone while others are held in person.  If it is held in person, it will be at the Department of Revenue closest to where the arrest happened.  In Denver, this is usually the Department of Revenue at 1881 Pierce St., Entrance B, in Lakewood.

Your Presence at the Hearing:

If you have hired an attorney, you do not need to be present at your hearing but may be present, if you wish.  The only time that your presence is necessary is when you want to testify at the hearing.  Generally, it is advisable not to testify that the hearing because your testimony could be used against you in your criminal case.  In order to determine whether you should testify or not, you should consult with your Colorado DUI Attorney.

Officer’s Presence at the Hearing:

When you arrive for the hearing, the officer will usually be sitting in the hearing office.  If you requested the officer’s presence at the hearing, and he is not there, you can ask for a dismissal under 1 C.C.R. 211-2(2.10.2.2).

Obviously, if you did not request the officer’s presence at the hearing, he will not be there.

Other Witnesses at the Hearing:

Occasionally, you will want to have a witness present for the hearing to testify.  In order to have this person at the hearing, you will need to subpoena the witness, notifying the hearing’s office of why the person is crucial to your defense.

If someone who is necessary for your defense was subpoenaed and fails to appear, your case can be dismissed under section 1 C.C.R. 211-2-(5.10.2.1).

The Hearing:

The hearing begins with the hearing officer notifying the defendant about the purpose of the hearing and how the officer will determine whether your license should be revoked.  The hearing officer will then ask you if you have any objections to the hearing documents.  The only objection recognized by the hearing officer is if the documents are faulty for some reason.  For example, if the officer failed so sign the documents, then the documents will be found to have a fatal error that will result in the dismissal of your case.  If the officer is present and there is a problem with one of the documents, the hearing officer will usually give the officer the opportunity to correct the problem.  If the officer is not present, there will be no one to correct the error, so the case will be dismissed.

After the documents have been examined and admitted, the police officer will testify as to what he saw.  The three most important parts of his testimony include whether he saw you driving, whether he had probable cause to arrest you for DUI, and how you performed on the breath test or blood test.

In addition to testifying about what he saw, the officer may testify about what other officer’s saw.  For example, if the officer at the hearing was called by another officer to conduct a DUI investigation, then the officer at the hearing will be allowed to say that the other officer saw you driving.

Important Defenses

There are a number of issues that you will want your attorney to raise at the Hearing.  These include:

  • whether the police officer had reasonable suspicion to stop you for a traffic violation;
  • whether there was a strong enough indication of intoxication for the officer to pursue a DUI investigation;
  • Whether the police officer properly conduct the field sobriety tests;
  • Whether the performance on the field sobriety tests was strong enough to merit probable cause for your arrest;
  • Whether the express consent act was properly read to you;
  • Whether the breath test was properly administered;
  • Whether the breath machine was properly working;
  • Whether the operator was certified to operate the breath machine;
  • For blood tests, whether the blood test was properly administered;
  • Whether the person drawing blood was perceived by the officer to be certified to draw blood;
  • For refusal cases, whether your actions were deemed to be a refusal and whether they actually were a refusal;
  • Whether there were extraordinary circumstances that merited an officer not providing you with the test that you selected;
  • Whether there is any physical condition with you that would result in a breath test or blood test being invalid;

There are many other issues that can be contested at the hearing, but these are some of the issues that have seen the most success in administrative hearings.

Once you have presented your defense, you or your Colorado DUI Attorney may offer a closing statement, summarizing the reasons why your license should not be revoked.  After the closing statement, the administrative hearing officer will rule on whether your license will be revoked or not.

In the Next Article, I will discuss the potential length of license revocations and what you can do to get your license reinstated.

The information in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or as the creation of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice, please contact an Attorney.

Series Navigation<< How to Request a DMV Hearing for your Colorado DUIHow long will your license be Revoked for a Colorado DUI and What You Can Do About It >>

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Nathaniel has worked in criminal law on both sides of the aisle spending time working for the prosecution as well as the defense. Most recently Nathaniel has represented individuals in violent felonies and drug cases. Prior to this work, Nathaniel handled DWIs, Domestic Violence Cases, Property Crimes, and White Collar Crimes. On the prosecutorial side, Nathaniel has most notably worked in Bosnia helping to prosecute individuals who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Bosnian War from 1993-1995. In particular, Nathaniel helped in the prosecution of military leaders who arranged for the organized murders and rapes of innocent civilians in various towns in Bosnia. Nathaniel is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, Northwestern University, and Phillips Exeter Academy. Google Profile: Nathaniel Baca