Interviewer: What are the common misconceptions that people have about their DMV cases? You mentioned ignoring the information on the pink form.
David: The fact that they don’t have to actually prove that you’re driving under the influence, they just have to prove reasonable grounds. I recall a case were client gets off at work at noon. A group of people at the parking lot of the factory building break open some beverages. He decides to drink but then he gets a phone call telling him to go home.
At that point he has half a beer and brings the cup of beer into his vehicle, planning on drinking the rest of the cup on the way home. As he’s driving along, he gets into a crash with someone that went through a stop sign. The beer splashes all over the place including splashing on his person. He wasn’t wearing a seatbelt so he gets bounced around a little.
When the police arrived, they encounter an individual who smells of the odor of alcohol, is unbalanced during the walk and turn test and the one-legged stand. While being asked to do the field test, knowing that he’s innocent, he objects and gets somewhat animated with the police.
It Is Important to Remember the during the Hearing, It Only Has to Be Proven That There Existed Reasonable Grounds That an Individual was Driving under the Influence
The bottom line, because he felt ignored with respect to the police not believing that he only had the half beer, he refuses the test. The government simply has to prove they had reasonable grounds to believe that he driving under the influence, and the odor, the accident, and him not walking very effectively afterwards are.
It Is Possible to Lose the DMV Hearing but Prevail at Your Court Case
He loses his license at the administrative hearing. We go to court. When the judge hears all the evidence I’ve just described, the court finds him not guilty. There are a variety of different factual scenarios I can map out with you where the client is found not guilty after having had his license suspended for not taking the test.
Interviewer: What would the course of action be after that, after you’re found not guilty?
David: There are two different proceedings. If you are a new client and you work as a truck driver, you tell me the end of the world is going to happen if you lose your license. I’m going to take a deep breath and tell you, “Well, you have to run the gauntlet twice. You have to win the administrative hearing and win the trial because if you lose either one of them, you’re going to be suspended.” As I say, the administrative hearing is more risky for the client than the trial.
Following a DWI Arrest, Your License Is Valid for 30 Days
Interviewer: After the person’s arrest, how long does the license remain valid?
David: The New Hampshire license remains valid for the privilege of driving remains valid for 30 days. The actual card with your photograph on it is taken away. You then have in your pocket the pink piece of paper, your copy of the arrest form. The person can drive for 30 days. During that time frame is when he request a hearing and sometimes, if he wants the hearing quickly, he can actually get the hearing quickly but on day 31, he goes under suspension.
What Can Harm Your Case during the DMV Hearing?
Interviewer: When you’re working with a client, are there things that a client can say or do that hurt the DMV case that you notice?
David: Well, they testify as to how difficult the field tests are saying, “Stand on one leg for 30 seconds? I couldn’t do that if I were sober.” Oops. That is a totally inadvisable thing to say. I’ve heard that more than once.
What Can You Do to Help Your DMV Case?
Interviewer: What are some things that would help someone’s case?
David: Generally speaking, it’s extremely helpful if the client within a day or so actually writes himself a little memo in terms of what actually happened. It is helpful if the client could remember the exact words the police officer said during the incident.
If the police officer said things that improperly suggested that the client take the test or could refuse the test, being able to relay the exact words is helpful for the lawyer in cross-examination during the administrative hearing and during the trial.
Can a DMV Record Be Expunged or Sealed?
Interviewer: Would they be able to get their DMV records expunged or sealed?
David: Not anytime soon. DWI cases can be annulled assuming there are no other offenses after 10 years. Other major motor vehicle violations can be annulled and again if the person is eligible for annulment seven years after the fact. I’m sure it’s an explicit annulment statute that authorizes that.