Automatic License Suspension
An automatic license suspension is also referred to as immediate or mandatory license suspension and refers to the administrative act of suspending a driver’s license on the spot.
An automatic license suspension does not take the place of other penalties against drunk driving. It is a civil, administrative process that is not at all related to criminal court proceedings.
Due to this additional penalty, it is said that a person has to face two trials regarding a DUI charge. Therefore, the same laws and their corresponding consequences are still in effect, and drivers convicted of DUI can face jail time, fines, community service, alcohol and drug rehabilitation program attendance, and any other penalties.
An automatic license suspension takes place after a person has been pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. The police have the right to arrest a driver who refuses to submit to a field sobriety test, breathalyzer test, or blood or urine test, or who fails any one of these tests. When this happens, law enforcement officials automatically revoke the driver’s license.
When an automatic license suspension occurs, the driver is given notice of the suspension and a temporary permit to drive. The permit is usually only valid for a week to 90 days. During this time, the alleged offender has 15 days to exercise his or her right to challenge the suspension.
If the suspension is challenged, a hearing is held during which the driver is given the chance to save his or her license. However, if the driver opts not to challenge suspension, or if the courts uphold the suspension, the person’s license is suspended for a specific period of time.
Each state has the right to determine the length of time a temporary license lasts, the period within which a hearing must be held, and the length of suspension. States decide to suspend a driver’s license for a period of 180 days, six months, or even a full year. Once the suspension period is over, the driver must pay a $125 fee in order to reinstate his or her license.
It is important to note that a license suspension does not prove that the person is guilty of drinking and driving. If a suspect is found not guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol, but does not challenge the automatic license suspension, then he or she could lose his or her license for a period of time.