Will I lose my license for a DUI? Losing your license can be one of the most serious consequences of a DUI. It affects your ability to drive to work, make it to appointments, or otherwise get around during the day. When you’re charged with DUI, you’re looking at punishments coming from two places: 1) the court and 2) the DMV. The decision to revoke your license is made by the DMV. This blog focuses on what to expect from the DMV (rather than the courts) when you are charged with DUI.
The DMV will revoke your license if 1) you drove with a blood alcohol content (“BAC”) above .08, 2) you refused to consent to a breath or blood test after lawfully being asked to take a test, or 3) you are convicted in the courts of DUI.
It is unlawful to drive with a BAC above .08, and the DMV will take your license if your BAC was above .08. If a police officer has probable cause to believe that you are driving impaired, the officer will ask you to consent to either a breath test or a blood test to determine your BAC. At this point, the officer is already going to arrest you (because she already has probable cause to think you’re impaired).
If you choose a breath test, you will be taken to jail, where you will do the breath test. If the result comes back above .08, then your license will be revoked at that time. You will be given an affidavit which states that your license is being revoked. If you choose a blood test, then you will be taken to a place (usually a health care facility) where your blood will be drawn and sent off to a lab for analysis. In a few weeks, you will receive the results of the blood test. If the BAC was above .08., you will also receive notice that your license is being revoked.
If you refuse to take either the breath or blood test after being lawfully asked to do so, the DMV will take your license. Under Colorado’s “express consent” law, every driver with a license “consents” to take a chemical test if lawfully asked to do so by an officer. So when you got your driver’s license, you already consented to take these kinds of tests. If you refuse, then, the DMV can punish you. The DMV will revoke your license if you refuse the test. The period of revocation is 2 years, although drivers are generally eligible to “early reinstate” their licenses after 60 days (2 months) of suspension. If you refused the test, however, you must drive with an “interlock ignition device” for 2 years.
You can challenge a license revocation by the DMV. In order to challenge the revocation of your license, you must request a “Revocation Hearing” within 7 days of receiving Notice of the revocation. So in a scenario where you chose the breath test or where you refused the test, you would have 7 days from the night of the DUI charge (because you received Notice that night that your license was being revoked). If you chose the blood test, then it will be several weeks before you find out what your BAC was/whether your license is being revoked. Whenever you receive Notice of your BAC & the revocation, you have 7 days from that date to go into the DMV to request a hearing.
Regardless of your BAC, the DMV will also revoke your license if you are convicted in the courts of DUI. This can happen if your BAC was .07, for example, but a jury still believed that you were substantially incapable of operating a motor vehicle because you were impaired. If you are convicted of DUI, then even if your BAC was under .08, you will still lose your license.
The length and severity of your license revocation will depend on a number of factors, including 1) whether it is a first offense and 2) how high your BAC was. So will I lose my license for a DUI? As you can see, it really depends. It is important to understand the consequences that will apply to the facts of your particular situation.
We offer free consultations at Cheney Galluzzi & Howard. If you’ve been charged with DUI, schedule a consultation with one of the DUI lawyers at Cheney Galluzzi & Howard today. We will advise you regarding specific consequences you are facing. Life happens. We can help.