What is The Process Like For An Administrative Hearing?
An administrative hearing is fairly similar to a miniature trial in a lot of ways. It is governed by the laws and regulations of the District of Columbia. There’s a hearing examiner who is very similar to a judge. He or she is the person who is going to make a ruling about your license at the end of the hearing.
It is an adversarial process just like a trial as well. You may be represented by an DC DUI attorney and the government is represented by the arresting police officer. Each side is given the opportunity to present evidence.
The officer is first given an opportunity to give testimony about why he believes the driver was impaired or why he believes that person was intoxicated while driving. And then the defendant or the defendant’s counsel are given the opportunity to cross examine that officer and also given the opportunity to present their evidence, to give their own statements.
And then the hearing examiner will rule whether or not he or she believes that the person was operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If so, the hearing examiner will revoke that person’s license.
And if they don’t believe that the government has met it’s burden, then they will take no action and nothing will happen to that person’s license until the conclusion of their criminal case in DC Superior Court. If they are convicted in the criminal case then they will lose their license and if they are not, then they might keep their license.
Where Does The Hearing Take Place?
The hearings take place at the adjudications branch of the Department of Motor Vehicles. That is the branch of the department that deals with tickets, whether they’d be parking and moving violations and revocations. And that office is at 301 C Street NW, which is actually the basement of the police station.
Does The Administrative Hearing Interact or Impact the DUI Conviction?
No, it doesn’t. They are separate proceedings in two different locations. The one or two ways that it might have some impact is that, an experienced defense attorney might be able to use the officer’s words at the DMV hearing against him or her at trial.
So for example, typically, the revocation hearing at the DMV is going to happen before the trial or whatever proceedings happen in DC Superior Court.
And that officer is going to be sworn in and give testimony at the DMV. For example, if at the DMV hearing the officer says the person staggered when he got out of the car and he had to grab him from falling over during the field sobriety test, but when the officer testifies in court he says the driver was passed out in the car, then the inconsistencies in the testimony can be used to challenge the officer’s credibility. The inconsistencies call into question the officer’s memory and ability to present an accurate picture to the judge.
So it’s really going to vary from case to case. But that’s one circumstance where perhaps there could be some interaction between the two cases. But for the most part, in a legal sense, they are separate proceedings that have different potential penalties. At the DMV, all that can happen is you lose your license. In court, you can be incarcerated, you can pay a fine. There’s a variety of things that can happen.