Now that I have selected an Attorney, what is the process?
a) Administrative License Revocation Hearing:
First your Attorney should request an ALR hearing. You must request an ALR hearing within 15 days of when you were served with a Notice of Suspension (usually the date of arrest). A failure to schedule your hearing in a timely manner can lead to an automatic suspension of your license on the fortieth (40th) day after notice was received. If you requested a hearing in a timely manner, you will be able to continue driving until the hearing. If you lose at the hearing, you can not drive after the hearing. If your license is suspended at the hearing, you may be able to request and secure an occupational license.
b) Occupational Driver’s License:
If your license is suspended at the ALR hearing, it may be possible to obtain what is called an “occupational driver’s license (ODL).” In order for the court to grant an ODL there are several requirements.
- An original SR-22 certificate of insurance. This is the only proof of insurance acceptable.
- An occupational license fee for a one-year license or less. The maximum length of issuance is a 2-year license, provided that the court order grants this length of time.
- A statutory reinstatement fee for the Safety Responsibility suspension, if required.
- A statutory reinstatement fee for the Driver Improvement suspension, if required.
- A statutory reinstatement fee for the Administrative License Revocation (ALR), if required.
c) lst Appearance:
If you have been arrested and released for a misdemeanor DWI, you will be given a date to return to court (usually 30 days after your arrest). If you hire an attorney, the attorney can usually make this appearance for you without your presence. After reviewing the reports, the County Attorney then decides whether to file the case. If the County Attorney decides to file the case, it prepares an information and files this with the County Clerk. Once the information is filed with the County Clerk, it is set on the court’s docket.
d) Announcement Settings / Plea Settings:
Once your case is set on the court’s docket it will go through a series of settings. You do not have to be present for announcement settings unless directed by the court. During these settings your attorney will investigate the facts of your case and determine the best course of action to take. The case will then be set for a series of plea settings in which the best possible resolution of your case will be discussed with County Attorney. These conferences will happen about 8-10 weeks after your 1st Appearance date. You may have multiple announcement and plea settings.
e) Motion to Suppress Hearing:
The Court may suppress some or all of the evidence against you if your constitutional rights have been violated. Your attorney may file motions to suppress in your case depending upon your specific circumstances. A Suppression Hearing generally occurs anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months after the Pre-trial Conferences with the County attorney.
If the case has not been disposed of yet, the next and final step in the process is trial. You may either request a bench trial wherein the court hears the case or a jury trial wherein a jury of your peers hears the case. If the case is a misdemeanor, the trial will heard by a jury of six. If the case is a felony, the jury will be a jury of twelve. This is where having an experienced and knowledgeable trial attorney is crucial. A good trial attorney will be able to obtain the most favorable results for their clients.