If you are arrested for DWI in Minnesota and the arresting officer serves you a notice of driver’s license revocation, the law states that you are entitled to request an civil judicial hearing before a Minnesota District Court judge within 30 days of being issued a notice of suspension or revocation and a 7-day temporary license.
If you are successful in obtaining a favorable verdict, then your license will be returned and the suspension or revocation of your license will be cancelled or rescinded.
If the hearing goes unfavorably, your license will be either suspended or revoked depending on your prior ten-year driving record. However, you may be allowed to drive with a limited license if you meet specific conditions such as undergoing rehabilitation for chemical dependency.
If you fail to request a hearing within the allotted time period, you lose your right to a hearing, and your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for the remainder of the revocation period before you can apply to have your license reinstated.
Purpose of a Civil Hearing
The primary purpose of the administrative hearing is for the judicial officer or judge to review the case and determine factor such as whether or not the proper procedures were met by the arresting officer during the arrest, whether or not you refused to submit to a chemical test, and whether or not your BAC level was .08 percent or greater if you did submit to a chemical test.
If, for example, it is determined at your hearing that the arresting officer conducted an illegal stop, then the judge may rule in your favor and reinstate your driver’s license.
This formal civil hearing for the status of your license plays a critical role in winning back your driver’s license, and even your criminal DWI case. It is during this process that the judge hears the testimony of the arresting officer, as well as testimony from you and any arguments by your DWI attorney. Testifying in the civil hearing is also good practice for a criminal trial.
During the civil hearing, your attorney will be given the opportunity to cross-examine the arresting officer under oath, review and challenge any important issues, and search for possible weaknesses in the case against you that can be exploited in court.
A solid DWI defense can be strengthened or weakened depending on the outcome of this hearing. This can be a great advantage to your case, which can help result in a faster reduction of charges or even a full dismissal.
The outcome of the civil hearing is final, and the driver will not be granted another review unless he or she decides to appeal to a higher court in Minnesota.
Protect Your Rights
The civil hearing occurs fairly soon after your DWI arrest, and it is essential to your future that the details of your arrest be examined thoroughly. If you are unable to protect your rights or are unable to retain a knowledgeable DWI lawyer, a DWI arrest can lead to the mandatory suspension of your driver’s license. Depending on your previous arrest history, this suspension period can range anywhere from many months to several years.
To preserve your right to an administrative hearing, it is therefore crucial that you or your DWI attorney submit your request within 30 days.