For anybody who has been arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it is critical to work with an experienced attorney to build the strongest possible defense case. Having an experienced advocate helps ensure that a defendant’s rights are protected throughout the process and that the government does its job correctly.
Another reason to work with an experienced attorney after a DWI arrest is to navigate license suspension issues. Driver’s license matters are separate from criminal matters in that they are handled administratively, by the Department of Public Safety & Corrections Office of Motor Vehicle. The department has authority, under state law, to suspend and revoke driver’s licenses of those who are convicted of or plead guilty to charges of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The length of a license suspension is affected by the driver’s criminal history, and is as follows under current law:
- First conviction—one year suspension
- Second offense within five years of first offense—two-year suspension
- Third and subsequent offenses within five years of first offense—three-year suspension
A driver’s blood alcohol content at the time of arrest can also impact the length of the suspension. For first-time offenders who had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.20 percent or more, suspension is for two years. Second-time offenders with the same blood alcohol concentration will have their license suspended for four years.
License suspension, can have a significant impact, especially for those who rely on their license to earn their livelihood. For those who depend on their license for economic support and who would be unable to earn a livelihood without it, it is possible to obtain a restricted license, and this may be done either administratively or by petitioning a court. Having the guidance and advocacy of an experienced attorney to navigate the administrative process is important to ensure minimal impact of license suspension on an individual’s life.