Having your driver's license suspended or revoked can cause huge hardships in your life. A driver's license could be suspended either temporarily or permanently—depending on the reason. However, you may be able to get your driving privileges restored through a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) hearing.
Why Your Driver's License Could Be Suspended or Revoked
Driving is a privilege, not a right, in our state. Your driver's license could be suspended by the DMV for a variety of reasons, such as:
- Failing to attend a required court hearing for a traffic ticket or other criminal offense
- Not paying traffic tickets
- Refusing a breathalyzer test if arrested for DWI
- Accumulating too many points on your driving record
Steps You Need to Take When Requesting a DMV Hearing to Restore Your Right to Drive
If your driver's license has been suspended or revoked, it may be possible to request a hearing with the DMV to get your driving privileges restored. There are three steps to this process.
Your first step should be to obtain a copy of your driving record to determine the violations that resulted in your driver's license being suspended or revoked. You can obtain it by applying online, through the mail, or in person. You can find instructions on how to order your driving record and the fee you will have to pay on the DMV website.
In some cases, you will need to wait for the time period of your suspension or revocation to expire before requesting a hearing with DMV. However, some problems that caused the suspension can be fixed, such as failing to pay traffic tickets or attending a mandatory court hearing. Another option may be to file a motion for relief to get a prior conviction overturned.
Apply for a Hearing
You will need to file a Driver License Hearing Request Form and pay the required filing fee. Depending on why your driver's license was suspended or revoked, you may also need to obtain the following documents:
- Certified copies of your driving record from any state where you had a license
- Your fingerprints
- Your criminal record
- Substance abuse assessment
- Documentation of your compliance with any recommended or court-ordered treatments
- Proof of your continuous use of a SCRAM or CAM ankle bracelet for alcohol monitoring if you were convicted of DWI
What to Expect at Your DMV Hearing
A DMV hearing is an administrative hearing and is not conducted in court. The DMV would notify you of the time and place of your hearing, which would be held at a DMV office or other location set by them.
A DMV hearing is a formal proceeding that would be conducted by a hearing officer assigned by the DMV to decide these cases. The hearing would be recorded and could be transcribed just like a court hearing. You would have the opportunity to testify, present witnesses, and submit other evidence to support your request that your driver's license be restored. The hearing officer could also question you and your witnesses.
There is no set list of questions the hearing officer would ask at your hearing. However, they could focus on:
- Why you lost your right to drive
- Whether you have driven illegally while your driver's license was suspended or revoked
- Whether you have consumed any alcohol or other controlled substances
- How you have fixed any conditions that caused your license to be suspended or revoked
- Whether you complied with all the requirements of a criminal sentence that resulted in you losing your driver's license
- Whether other motorists would be put in danger if your driver's license was restored
- How your life has changed since you lost your driving privileges and whether the changes were for the better or worse
- How not having a license affects your ability to work and take care of your family
While you can apply for a DMV hearing and attend it on your own, you have a better chance of successfully getting your driver's license restored if you retain an experienced traffic ticket attorney to determine the best strategy and represent you at this hearing. To learn how we can assist you, call our Charlotte office to schedule a free consultation today.