According to our justice system, no person can be tried and convicted of the same crime twice. This is known as double jeopardy. However, there is a rare, yet legal form of double jeopardy when it comes to being charged with driving under the influence. When most of us think of being arrested for DUI, we picture going into a courtroom with a judge presiding over our case. While this is true, there is another separate case you’ll have to face and it’s with the department of motor vehicles.
A Legal Form Of Double Jeopardy
After a person is arrested for drinking and driving, their state’s department of motor vehicles will seek to suspend their driver’s license before the person has actually been convicted of the crime. This is legal because it is a civil proceeding, not a criminal one. Driving is considered a privilege not a right, which is why the department of motor vehicles can suspend or revoke a person’s license for a drinking and driving charge. If the department of motor vehicles finds you guilty of DUI, you’ll get what’s known as an SR-22 insurance policy—an extremely high rate insurance policy. However, the DMV may reinstate your license if you get an SR-22 insurance policy.
Contact A Lawyer Immediately After Your Arrest
It’s important following a DUI arrest to immediately contact a qualified DUI defense attorney. This is a serious criminal charge. A DUI lawyer can even assist you with your civil proceeding with the department of motor vehicles. Many states require that you request a hearing in order to fight for your driver’s license. If you fail to request a hearing (usually within 10 to 14 days following your DUI arrest), an administrative license suspension can automatically go into effect. Your attorney can request a hearing for you and take care of the paperwork process and even represent you during the hearing.
While the civil proceeding is one way you can lose your driver’s license, you have to remember that your driver’s license can be suspended or revoked during your criminal court case. This is where double jeopardy comes into play. Even if the department of motor vehicles finds you not guilty of DUI, you can still lose your driver’s license if you are convicted of DUI in criminal court. In either case, the DMV is the one that suspends a driver’s license, not the state.
It’s important to always ask an experienced DUI defense attorney about the questions you have surrounding your DUI charge.
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