You got arrested in Spartanburg for DUI or DUAC, then refused the breath test or blew .15 or over. The officer took your license. He didn’t forget to give it back: your license got suspended on the spot!

If you’re not a South Carolina resident and he gave your license back, you’re probably not out of the woods. The officer can suspend your privilege to drive in the state of South Carolina, which gets reported to your state’s DMV, probably resulting in your home state suspending your license as well. This is a serious matter requiring immediate attention that can provide a fairly easy temporary fix for you, and might help win your case, even if you lose the hearing to contest this suspension.

Administrative License Suspension: The “Case Within the Case”

What you’ve suffered is called “administrative license suspension.” At Holland & Usry, we call it the “case within the case” because it’s separate from the criminal charge. The outcome of this part of your case does not come into evidence at trial on the criminal DUI or DUAC charge. And it’s handled without a jury by a different court, the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings.

It must be addressed quickly. You can contest this suspension ONLY by requesting an administrative hearing within 30 days of your arrest. Doing that also allows you to get a temporary license to drive until the outcome of this hearing. Our clients usually receive a letter from the DMV allowing them to get the temporary license within five to ten days of us requesting the hearing. If you don’t, you must sign up for an expensive alcohol and drug safety action program (ADSAP), and you will be stuck driving on a route-restricted license that only lets you drive to school, work, and ADSAP. For arrests on or after October 1, 2014, you can end this suspension only if you get ignition interlock, a costly device linked to your car’s ignition requiring you to take a breath test before it will start.

The Administrative Hearing: What It’s About and Why It’s Worth It

The administrative hearing requires different proof for the State to continue your license suspension. Specifically, the State must show:

  • You were lawfully arrested or stopped;
  • You got a written copy of and were verbally informed of your breath test rights;
  • You refused the breath test, or took it and blew .15 or more, to a properly qualified tester, who observed procedures required by law, and the machine was working properly.

Losing the hearing means you must serve the rest of your suspension and sign up for ADSAP. You may be eligible for a route-restricted license or ignition interlock as described above. It has no effect on winning or losing your DUI/DUAC at trial. Even if you lose, you’ll still have peace of mind knowing you did all you could to protect yourself.

But win or lose, it’s always worth it to get an administrative hearing because it might help you anyway. To learn more about that, read our related articles or call us toll free at 877.230.1841 for a free meeting with us to discuss your DUI/DUAC license suspension defense.

For more information about South Carolina DUI/DUAC license suspensions, you can also download our free report.


Rob Usry
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Rob is a Spartanburg personal injury lawyer. Rob also practices as a workers' compensation attorney.
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