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Jun 30, 2011

BMV Hearing Issues

BMV suspension hearings are very different than a trial for OUI. Once you’ve been arrested, a police report will be generated. That police report will be sent off to two places. First, the Secretary of State will receive a report and then the District Attorney’s Office receives a copy of the same report. The District Attorney’s Office is the organization or the entity that generates the criminal charges in your case. However, we’re not going to be talking about that today. We’re talking about the Administrative License Suspension that is generated by the Secretary of State.

When that license suspension is generated by the Secretary of State, you have an opportunity for a hearing. You must request a hearing within 10 days from the date that you go under suspension. Now, the biggest difference between a trial on a criminal case and a Bureau of Motor Vehicle suspension hearing is the standard of proof. At the BMV hearing or Bureau of Motor Vehicles, the state just needs to prove two things by a preponderance of the evidence. First, was there a probable cause to believe you were operating under the influence, and second, were you 0.08 or greater with the breath test. Those are the only two issues. If they can prove both of those two issues by preponderance to the evidence, you lose.

Now, what does it mean the term preponderance of the evidence? It’s very different than proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The preponderance of the evidence means this: On the scale of justice and I tip the evidence ever so slightly in my favor as the state, 51 percent versus 49 percent, you lose. While it is not impossible to win one of these hearings, it is in fact very difficult due in large part because of the standard proof.

Now, what people don’t seem to understand is, if you lose the Bureau of Motor Vehicles hearing but you win the criminal case, that does not undo the suspension from the Administrative Licenses Suspension that was generated following the loss at a Bureau Motor Vehicle hearing. One has no impact on the other because one is a criminal case the other one is an Administrative Licenses Suspension. They both deal with the same OUI, but for the most part, they’re dealing with totally different issues and the proof or the standard of evidence in these cases is very different.

Contact our office to learn more today.

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